Get advice and support about the rising costs of doing business on the Find Business Support website.

5 ways you can use email to communicate with your customers

Here is a quick run down on when email is the ideal channel to improve communication with your customers.

Article

4 min read

If you have permission to email your customers, it can improve the chances of them receiving your communications instead of relying on social media algorithms displaying your posts in feeds. More people have access to email than social platforms and the format makes it easier to communicate more complex information. There are a few situations when email should definitely be one of the channels you use.

1. Important changes which directly impact your customers

Sometimes you will need to proactively reach out to existing customers to update them on these issues which specifically impact them. For example:

  • whether your business is open or closed
  • issues with their order or project
  • major policy changes
  • updated contact details
  • altered terms and conditions
  • refund processes

For any of these you can include links to more information on your website.

A quick reminder on GDPR - if you need to email a customer in relation to a specific order then that is generally fine. However, with emails for more general reasons, to comply with GDPR, you will need permission.

On your website and social platforms you can give customers the option to opt-in to email updates.

2. Detailed information and instructions

Where social media posts are ideal for simple messages and straightforward information, email can be better for providing a lot of detail around service changes.

  • Customers may need instructions on how to use the existing service in new ways. For example, if a business is short-staffed at their call centre, then email is ideal for giving customers information on how to set-up and manage their account online.
  • If you are operating completely new services. Instructors switching to online classes, for example, may need to email a step-by-step guide on how to access the platform or use videoconferencing.
  • It might be important to ensure customers have read and understood instructions, particularly for health and safety. Email is ideal for providing that type of information and asking customers to reply to confirm they’ve read and understood the message or ask any questions.

3. Timely reminders

The frustrating restriction with social media is that organic posts are unlikely to reach the majority of your audience. In fact, according to Hootsuite only 5.5% of your Facebook followers will see your posts in their feed (unless they’re paid-for promoted posts).

This is where email comes in. If your customers need to attend at a certain date but book in advance (for example events, reservations, appointments, etc) or if they need to take a specific action (e.g. update a subscription, download new content, etc) - or even if you have arranged a meeting or call - then email reminders can be invaluable, both the day before, and on the day itself. Some reminders can even be automated through your provider.

4. Offers and promotions

You can promote your services and offers to your regular customers and verified email list, but they should be timely and add genuine value (for example, short-term excellent value discounts, one-off offers, new course announcements, etc). Customers are more responsive to good value offers that they would genuinely appreciate.

And be honest with yourself - if it’s the usual 10% off you run every other week, then constant reminders will not be appreciated. Neither will a series of too-frequent emails. Focus on adding value to your customers, as pushing too hard for more business could have the opposite effect.

5. Tailored personal approach

For businesses with a very small customer base, email is ideal for a personal communication from the owner or CEO, which can be completely relevant for that customer. Personal connections are so important, so it’s worth bearing this option in mind - even for a small subset of your customers. (Again, be sure you have permission to email).

If a 1-2-1 approach is not possible, there is often scope to segment your email database to ensure the message is specific for that customer group - perhaps related to when, why or what they have previously bought from you. It could be as simple as a personal ‘thank you’ email for all those who have supported your business, or who have been patient with any challenges such as longer delivery times. A gentle prompt to those who have previously bought gifts at this time of year, can be mutually beneficial.

Further information

For more information and guidance on email marketing, go to https://www.bgateway.com/assets/templates/Email_Marketing.pdf

Want to speak with your nearest Business Gateway team?

Your local Business Gateway can offer you free 1:1 advice and online support to help you with anything to do with your business or if you are just thinking about starting up then we can support you with that too.

Fill in the form below and we will get back to you to help.

Enter your postcode

How we use your data

We will use the information you provide to respond to your request, and to provide business advice and support services to you. For more information please view our privacy notice.

You might also be interested in

Managing your business reputation during the coronavirus

This guide summarises some of the most important considerations for businesses and some tips on how to stay visible, on message and on brand during these unusual and uncertain times. We hope these help you to prioritise and develop an action plan for your business.

Managing your business remotely through the coronavirus

Nobody could have prepared business owners for this crisis. But support is out there to help you get through it.

Keeping your SEO and PPC up to date after business change

If your business operations, products or services have changed, you will probably need to update your SEO and PPC activities.