Lara Wellman

Love it or Hate it: Let’s Talk Email Marketing for Business

By: Lara Wellman | February 3, 2016 | 

Love It or Hate It: Let’s Talk Email Marketing for Business

By Lara Wellman

Every business should use email marketing as one of their marketing tactics.

*Cue the groans about how much email you get and your unmanageable inboxes*

It’s true, though.

Email marketing for small business is crucial for lead generation and needs to be a part of your communications strategy.

Today I’m going to share my answers to the most common arguments I hear against sending “newsletters” for your business to see if I can bring you over to my side.

Email is a Thing of the Past

No, it’s really not.

Unless your audience is younger than 20, I bet most check email regularly.

Think about how often you check your email in a day.

Now compare that to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Which one do you check most often?

And then, if you’re like me, imagine how often people who don’t work in our field check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Most of us check our email on a very regular basis and though we don’t read ALL of our emails, we skim whom they are all from and, most of the time, at least glance at the subject line.

Email is far from dead, and if you want to bring up the overly full inbox argument, you’ve made my point for me.

People have not stopped using email and nor should you stop your email marketing campaigns.

People Hate Getting Newsletters and Marketing in Their Email

Maybe. A lot of people do.

Maybe you do (I know a lot of people who feel very strongly about this!).

That’s OK.

Because, for as many people who hate getting emails, there are as many who love getting them.

Some people are so invested in what you do, they want to hear about every single thing you do.

Some people want the convenience of knowing if there’s something interesting happening, it will come to them and they won’t have to chance missing it somewhere else.

Some people just like getting emails.

It’s really important, especially for people who spend a huge amount of time online ingesting copious amounts of information, to understand that not everyone feels the same way about content as we do.

Not everyone is as connected to so many companies and people so that there is always too much content to stay on top of.

Some people are looking for more content.

I Don’t Want to Spam People and Bother Them

Great! Don’t!

First thing first, you want to get permission from people to email them.

I’m Canadian so we’re particularly strict about that because of Canadian Legislation, but the thing is, asking for permission is just polite, so do it anyway.

If you have permission to email people, they won’t feel spammed, unless you’re sending them crappy content.

Don’t send them crappy content!


Don’t just send them “buy this buy that” info.

Send them what they want.

Send them what they value.

Make them WANT to open your emails because they’re going to learn something or they’re going to be entertained.

Delight them. Inspire them. Teach them. Make them laugh.

If you’re creating great content, you aren’t spamming them or bothering them.

Fine, I’ll Send Emails Once a Quarter

If you’re saying this, you’re thinking one of two things:

  1. I still think these emails are going to bother my audience (hence email marketing is dead), so I’ll just send them once in a while; or
  2. I don’t have time to be creating all this content. I’m busy!

Okay, let’s break those down a bit further.

Most people don’t open every email you send them when it’s a marketing email.

A good open rate in most industries is 25 percent.

That doesn’t account for the people who open it, realize it’s a marketing email and don’t read it.

So a quarter of your subscribers are seeing four emails a year.

How top-of-mind are you staying with that?

Doesn’t sound very effective to me.

Even if your open rate is 40 percent for your quarterly emails, because a bunch of people are wondering what you’ve been up to for so long, you risk some of the people on your list forgetting how they even got ON your list and they do think you’re spamming them when you send that infrequently.

Point two: You don’t have time to create all that content.

Here is what I’ve noticed about quarterly emails.

They’re super long.

Like REALLY long, because a lot of stuff has happened in the last three months you want to share with your audience.

People don’t read long emails very often.

What I propose is that you stop sending those REALLY long quarterly emails and start sending a third of the amount of content once a month.

Almost the same amount of work and a better chance people will read what you have to say.

Email Marketing Recap

  • Email isn’t dead. It’s alive and kicking and a much more reliable way to reach your audience than hoping they’ll see what you’re saying on Twitter or Facebook (because we all know how well reach works there right now).
  • You aren’t bothering your audience if they ASKED to be on your list and you’re sending them VALUABLE content. Be worth reading.
  • Sending consistent short emails helps you stay top-of-mind and increases your chances of being seen and having all of your content read.

If you don’t like getting emails, don’t sign up for them, but don’t forget there are a whole lot of people out there who do, and you don’t want to miss out on them!

Have I convinced you?

Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about email marketing for business!

image credit: shutterstock

About Lara Wellman

Lara Wellman specializes in helping businesses increase their visibility and grow their customer base using online tools. Through an array of services such as workshops, coaching and strategic planning, she makes clients comfortable with social media and other web tools and teach them how to optimize their use.

  • Travis Peterson

    YES YES YES. Just because social media is the shiny penny doesn’t mean it’s worth more than email. Opt -in email marketing with good content on a regular basis is one of our most effective ways to drive web traffic and content distribution. It’s not a substitute for social, but rather a compliment to social.

    Great post.

    • Exactly! It’s a part of the puzzle. 🙂

  • Form my perspective, if you think you are bothering your audience with a monthly email newsletter, then you obviously aren’t putting together good enough content.

    • Absolutely. And I think that people are making the wrong associations. They don’t like getting BAD emails. You should send good ones! 🙂

  • Great post, Lara! It’s surprising what works and what doesn’t (and a reminder of why measurement matters). For one of our clients, I thought for sure if we truncated her blog posts so that people HAD to click through to her site to read the rest (instead of sending the full blog post in an email), it would help web traffic. Not so much. Always more to learn, for sure!

    • Thanks Paula. Testing is always key for sure. And knowing what you’re trying to achieve in the first place.

  • Julie Harrison

    When I truly opt-in to an email newsletter, I’m going to read them or at least skim them. I often find the content valuable and/or look forward to it.

    But it’s interesting how many businesses these days are using carrots to get you to provide your email … like at the check-out, if you give me your email address, you will receive 5% off this purchase right now. I give them my email, but rather reluctantly. I think the rationale is that once I start receiving the email, I will like it and be happy. But really, I’m not usually happy and find it a nuisance to unsubscribe.

    • Ya – everyone wants to try to convince you to give them their email address and then convince you, once you’re getting their emails, that they’re worth opening. It’s pretty easy to unsubscribe most of the time if you don’t actually like their content 🙂

  • “If you don’t like getting emails, don’t sign up for them…”

    Not a lot more I can add because that is just perfect. 🙂

    I will say, I never use RSS for anything these days, and all my important comms go through email. Social is a sidetrack for me, and one that’s becoming even less valid as I spend my time elsewhere.

    Great write-up, miss – you had me at the title. 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂

      I think it’s important that people realize not everyone likes what they like. Hard to accept sometimes, I know, but we need to try! 🙂

  • I love email! But I’m an introvert, so I’m likely (totally) biased.

    Two thoughts:

    1) Emails that don’t reflect the same company “persona” your customers are used to dealing with, will flop. the tone needs to match your other communications. Matching that tone in a “blast” can be remarkably difficult.

    2) This is anecdotal, but I’ve found the emails that I actually read are text based and not image/fancy layout based. I associate image-heavy emails with “Sell! Sell! Sell!” and have a hard time trusting anything in them. Of course, I haven’t been able to test whether this is just me or something that may be effective for all email marketers in general.

  • Emi Nguyen

    YES! As an aspiring entrepreneur, I couldn’t agree more with you. A lot of people hate having commercial emails. But let’s be real here, if we really do HATE it that much, why would we sign up for the newsletter in the first place then. Besides, as you mention above, unless the customers are under 20, most of us check email regularly. And I’m saying this under a foreigner perspective. Kanye West’s famous sneakers Yeezy 350 got released last week and without checking email, I wouldn’t have known that. Emails, along with social media, are the must use marketing tactics that every business should know.