email marketingWhen it comes to small businesses, I’m unapologetically biased toward using e-mail marketing as a primary marketing channel, and for good reason. For over 20 years now, I’ve watched Mom and Pops, established local brick and mortars and start-ups literally throw away their money on the latest digital marketing tactics and the result was the same every time.


No new customers. No buzz. No new reservations. No stronger name recognition in the community. Just a bill from a Facebook, Google AdWords or an SEO consultant with passionate encouragement to spend more.

And, it’s not like they didn’t have something of value to offer, or a loyal customer base for their goods and services. They just followed the crowd and paid for advertising that they thought would bring in more business, but all they got were fancy, difficult to understand reports. Lesson learned.

Yet, had those same businesses used e-mail marketing to put their deals before their customers, the results would have been as intended — increased foot traffic into their stores and new sales.

Michaels 60% Off CouponAn Easy to Create Powerful Example

I’m an avid art collector. Perhaps “too avid” because I have a back log of original paintings that I’ve yet to frame. But custom framing is expensive, even when you’re buying pre-fabs off the shelf. So, it should come as no surprise that I’m always on the hunt for frame deals, and I subscribe to several retailer e-mail services for that reason alone.

That’s how Michael’s got my business on March 7th. An e-mail popped into my inbox with the subject line: “Coupon Alert! 60% Off After 3PM!” I rarely see this tactic used, but it worked, even though I wasn’t thinking about framing that particular afternoon. (In truth, I was actually thinking about why I was still suffering from the flu after 10 days, which is why this month’s e-mail was late to press!)

The email displayed to the right was literally perfect in every way, and follows what I teach in my e-marketing class:

  • Succinct subject line designed to yield a high open rate;
  • Clearly stated deadline to create urgency of action;
  • Easily scanned copy with clearly stated value proposition;
  • Promo code placement with coupon print option.

Believe it or not, you can create a like coupon using a MailChimp’s template in minutes for nothing using the service’s “Forever Free” Plan, which allows you to sign-up to 2,000 subscribers to whom you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. No need to create a blog post, complicated graphics or anything else. Just fill in the required areas in the template, send to your list and track your results.

The best thing is that the folks you’re sending to aren’t possible customers or curious consumers looking to kill time by clicking on a Facebook ad. They’re real customers, who signed up through your web site or at point of sale because they’re actually interested in patronizing your business into the future.

If you’re thinking that it couldn’t be that easy, just watch the video tutorial below. In only 35 minutes, you’ll transform your marketing from bust to boom.


Pat McKenna

Pat McKenna is a digital strategist, social media manager, web designer and founder of MojoWeb Productions, LLC. in Milwaukee, WI.

MojoWeb Productions