The Email Marketing Sweet Spot

No matter the size of a business, every company has one major goal: “Businesses want to make sure they get new customers in the door and keep loyal ones coming back,” says Faryl Ury, product communications manager at Square, a mobile payment company.

Square, founded in 2009, continues to serve as a convenient point of sale for small businesses. But today SMBs are looking for more than just a mobile payment system. They need help with marketing plans and require customer data that fuels those plans. Ury says that her team realized that Square is in the perfect position to meet those marketing needs. “Businesses of all sizes need access to data so they can make smart decisions,” Ury says. “Businesses also need to easily measure the results of their marketing spend; businesses don’t want to know just how many people opened their emails; they want to know: Did those customers come into their store because of a promotion, and if so, how much did they spend?”

One of those small business owners looking to answer those questions was Emily Osterberg, owner of gourmet cookie company Baking Betty’s. She says that several problems, such as too many email marketing tools and unorganized customer data, prevented her from creating an effective marketing plan.

“We were collecting all of those emails in different places, which was really time-consuming,” Osterberg says. “Customer data is important because I like to keep in touch with my customers and keep them engaged so they keep coming back.” She says that her team wanted a better system to send customers enticing information and perfectly timed offers, such as rewards, coupons, and alerts about new flavors. In addition, the team at Baking Betty’s wanted organized lists of customers who’d already visited the store. All of that, Osterberg says, would help her target the right audience with effective follow-up messages.

So, this spring Osterberg decided to be part of a pilot test of an email marketing tool—the preliminary rollout of Square Marketing. Square has focused on providing its clients much-needed customer insights, like when a shopper last visited, how much she spent, or what she bought, which its collected through its payments system. And that information serves as the perfect building block of an effective marketing plan. SMBs can use the analytics to craft personalized promos and perfectly time their messages to customers.

Square organizes customers into three main buckets: loyal, casual, and lapsed. With that bevy of new, organized information to tap into, marketers for Baking Betty’s began retooling their approach. Osterberg improved the cadence, relevance, and attractiveness of her email messaging—all with the goal of getting customers to come back.

“Customer engagement shot up,” Osterberg says. “I was able to measure if [my email marketing] was working. When I would send out our new flavors of the months or coupons for the customer, I could see the quantity of people that came for that specific [offer]. For me, that was the proof in the pudding.” Osterberg was able to track valuable foot traffic, identify new versus returning customers, and make smarter marketing decisions.

Square reports that in a few months, some 1,000 small business owners who participated in the pilot generated about $1,000,000 in sales that were tied directly to promotion redemptions. The company remains true to its focus to meet small business needs, even providing loans and payroll services to SMBs.

Square’s Ury says this on a final note: “Small businesses don’t have the luxury of hiring an IT department or a marketing department, but they still deserve smart tools that help them engage their customers and increase their sales.”

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