According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Response Rate Report, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can generate more than $40 in returned revenue for your business.

If you run a small business or do marketing at a company, and you’re not using email marketing to engage your leads and customers, you’re seriously missing out.

And if you’re sending out a monthly newsletter to your contact database, and that’s all you’re doing, I’ve got news for you.

That’s not email marketing.

Monthly newsletters don’t take into account your contacts’ respective lifecycle stages and typically draw low click-through and conversion rates.

A good email strategy has you sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

Let’s think about it. Should you be sending the same email to a brand new customer? What about someone who has demonstrated interest, but not yet bought? Or someone who’s been buying your product or service for the last couple of years? As a sales rep or account manager, wouldn’t you expect to have three separate conversations with these three camps of people?

As inbound marketers, we should be thinking the same way.

When we target our emails, we should really hone in on personalizing our message to the right ideal buyer, to the right lifecycle stage, to the right person. That kind of approach generates significantly more reader engagement.

And that email engagement leads to real returns.

A research study from Convince and Convert shows us that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.

I look to Refine Method, an NYC-based boutique fitness studio, to showcase an example of smart inbound email marketing.

Email 1: Welcome to Refine!

This first email came just after I registered for my first workout. I registered for a class via Refine Method’s online scheduling platform.

refine method inbound email marketing

I’m about to join one of their classes for the first time. In this, Welcome! Here’s what to expect kind of email, Refine Method addressed common concerns and questions I had.

For the record, I would update the email with a few small tweaks to enhance readability and to increase engagement:

  • I’d personalize the subject line with my name. According to the Adestra July 2012 Report, personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened.
  • I’d add an image of Mallory’s head to her signature. I’d also add a phone number to the email signature. Some people like to talk on the phone. Also, by adding an image of Mallory’s head to the email, they’d be humanizing the message. This kind of tactic is said to generate a stronger and more positive neuropsychological response in the reader’s mind. Overtime, Refine Method would likely generate more inbound phone calls and a higher email link click-through rate.
  • I’d space out the bullet points and increase the font size. The email would then be a lot more readable.
  • I’d add social sharing icons. 
  • I’d add a clearer, more pronounced “call to action” at the bottom of the email. Right now, the last sentence is too wordy and doesn’t inspire action. I’d change it to something like, “Check out your dedicated pre-class FAQ page to learn more about what to expect on your first visit.” I’d also include a link to that page, which is currently missing

But overall, this is a great email. I’m now more prepared and excited to walk in the door.

Email 2: Great Job Alan!

This second email came just after my first class finished. It was sent at just the right time, right as I had cooled off and was still actively thinking about how much fun the class was.

refine method small business email marketing

They personalized my name in the email subject line!

Also, look at that first paragraph.

It wasn’t just my first name, a standard contact property, that was personalized. Refine Method went an extra step and mentioned my Vibram FiveFingers shoes.

Shucks, I’m feeling special now.

Data shows that people are more inclined to open and engage with an email that’s personalized. The above two emails are a great example of how to engage a new customer with email marketing the right way.

Kudos to the Refine Method marketing team.

Post-Selling Email Engagement: Part One

This next email wasn’t sent to me. It was sent to my girlfriend, who had just finished her initial 3 months as a Refine Method customer.

refine method email marketing

I love this up-sell. The offer is explained very well. It’s simple and it makes sense.

People respond to these types of offers more often than you’d think.

According to the 2012 Blue Kangaroo Study, 70% of their 1,090 respondents said that they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week. This is one of many statistics that draw a clear correlation between email marketing and revenue.

There’s real business when it comes to email marketing, folks.

Is this something you’re doing in your own business?

Post-Selling Email Engagement: Part Two

At this point, Lana hadn’t responded to the above email. Due to a hectic travel schedule, she had not been able to make a class in a while.

Below is another email she received, sent 3.5 weeks after the last one.

refine method email marketing for small business

Refine Method did a great job with this one.

The subject line – “We Miss You {FIRSTNAME}!”  – has been known to perform really well amongst email marketers.

This is a classic re-engagement campaign, with a very particular package being offered. Lana was also reminded that if she purchases an official package, her attendance requirement is somewhat flexible. That’s a nice value-add and a great way to leave a positive impression in your customer’s mind.

Overall, I like what I’m seeing from Refine Method.

It’s clear that they think about email as a vehicle to build and to nurture relationships with their leads and customers.

Keep up the great work!