I get a lot of replies and personal comments about the emails that I send out, both to our business owners and to our family/individual clients.

Today (and perhaps a little more in future weeks), if you’ll permit me, I’m going to peel back the curtain on some of the thinking behind why we do what we do.

Because there’s a reason why many small business owners think email marketing doesn’t work: They haven’t been doing it right for their business.

And I don’t blame them! Many small business owners model their email strategies from big-box retailers, or big internet marketers or organizational leaders — without understanding the techniques behind those email marketing campaigns (or even knowing if they’re effective!). They send out bland “email newsletters” and expect them to bring in new and repeat business.

And they’re usually sorely disappointed.

Now, I spend my mornings, as you probably do, cranking through my inbox and tuning out the marketing junk which has little relevance to me, or my business. Sound familiar?

However, if you pay attention to those small percentage of firms and businesses who are actually winning with their email, you’ll see that they take a different approach. Their emails get read, they get opened — and acted upon.

So don’t you follow the herd.

Now, I should hasten to add that I have stumbled upon all of this mostly through experimentation and testing. I do not claim to be an email marketing “guru”. However, I also know that there are *still* too many myths out there about how to do it right…

Dear San Antonio Companies, Are Your Email Newsletters Working?
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe

I know that there are businesses who are doing extremely sophisticated things with their email marketing. And they are worth studying.

But I prefer to live in the land of what is actually possible for a small business owner. And if you’re like me, I suggest you start by cutting out two bad habits, rooted in some mythology about the email medium:

1) Fancy headers and sharp graphics make your emails look more “professional”.

So I ask you: how do you want your emails to be received? As a “professional” email — with similar content that can be otherwise found through a simple internet search?

Or as a warm, encouraging and actionable note — like one you’d receive from your neighbor down the street? Because one of those kinds of emails gets deleted … the other usually doesn’t.

A graphic-laden email screams to your recipient: “You’re being marketed to.” For some reason, non-profits, in particular, often fall prey to this temptation, and the increasing ease of creating such headers within the fancy email programs makes it too easy to fall for this trap.

Don’t. As a test this week, try a “plain text” email, formatted simply and written in a style — well, I get ahead of myself. Time for myth #2 …

2) Businesses and organizations must maintain a “big business” feel with their marketing communication.

This is a Big Mistake.

A) You’re not Best Buy or Amazon … and by aping these entities, you’re falling for the old half-truth that “building a brand” is the primary goal for a small business. (More about that in the future.)

B) Email is inherently relational — and when you abuse your contacts’ inbox with stuffy technical-ese or commoditized articles, you’re actually demonstrating cavalier disregard for your most important business asset: your client list.

But when you communicate with personality and interest, you’re actually building deeper relationships with your clients and prospects, and demonstrating that you can be trusted with their time … and with their wallet.

I try to do these things, though I certainly don’t always hit the mark. But there is a method behind my email madness. And now you know.

You see, I care about every aspect of your business’ growth. Not just clean books and effective cash controls (though these are our great passion!).

So I’m simply grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to every part of its success.

Feel very free forward this article to a San Antonio business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for San Antonio families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.


Sherry Tolbert
(210) 905-4498
Tolbert CPA LLC