Small businesses need to make their marketing dollars stretch as much as possible. Email marketing is a wise choice because it is fast, easily altered, and inexpensive. Make the most of email marketing for your small business by using these techniques that have been proven to be effective at enticing and retaining customers.
Content Marketing Strategy
Before starting any marketing campaign, you should first develop a strategy that outlines precisely what you plan to share and how you plan to share it. A strategic marketing campaign gives email marketing for small businesses the consistency that customers crave.
Long Term Campaigns
A long-term strategy is a must. This strategy is one that you plan to keep for months or even years. It sets the tone for your business. The long-term marketing campaign lets customers build a relationship with you and your brand. Long term marketing campaigns take time to cultivate but create a feeling of sustainability. Business owners need to consider their long-range goals when crafting this type of marketing.
Short Term Campaigns
Short term campaigns could last for a few months, a few weeks or even a few days. These campaigns are often driven to support the launch of a new product, seasonal items, or test marketing campaigns that could last longer. Short term campaigns require a great deal of research, but they do not carry the same weight as long-term campaigns.
Targeted campaigns use your customers' specific data to target specific products or services. You might use age, location, interests, or professions to guide the campaign that is sent to any given person. For instance, if you create t-shirts for political campaigns, you would be remiss in sending an email flaunting a liberal candidate to a staunch conservative, or vice versa. Likewise, beverage distributors may get into some trouble from marketing their alcoholic items to under-aged individuals. Products that would only be interesting to specific groups of people benefit from targeted campaigns.
Choose a Style for Your Email Campaign
There are seemingly endless designs and styles for email campaigns. However, there are a couple of different types that have shown to receive the best responses from customers. These types are e-newsletters and drip campaigns.
Style Option #1: E-Newsletters
Email newsletters have been around since the first days of email. E-newsletters are popular because they divide content into easily skimmed sections. They also allow you to reach out to customers with different types of content in one simple email. E-newsletters can share product details, sales, stories, memes, photos, and more.
Style Option #2: Drip Campaigns
Drip campaigns provide automatic responses to your customers' actions. They appear in inboxes as welcome letters, reminders, and conversions. A drip campaign requires initial interaction from the customer, but it is popular because it is a responsive marketing tactic. Your customers already know what they like and want. A drip campaign simply gives them a push in the right direction.
Lead Magnet Marketing
Your customers must be enticed before they subscribe to a newsletter or interact with your website. The way to do this is with a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a product or idea that resonates with your customers and leads them to want to learn more. Some ideas for lead magnets include:
- New product announcements
- Special pricing and sales
- Exciting news about the company
- Unique content
- Contests and giveaways
Most email marketing campaigns are created on desktop computers, but most emails are read on mobile devices. Make sure your e-newsletter or drip campaign reads as easily on tablets and phones as it does on desktops and laptops.
Choose Content for Your Email Marketing
Style is important, but style without content will not drive customers. Make sure you have the best content inside your emails, so customers will look forward to opening the emails rather than relegating them to the spam folder. To further improve the user experience, you can add videos for your website within the email, which will help increase engagement and get them over to your website.
Dynamic Subject Lines
Your email starts with a subject line that will encourage the user to click. The promise of a new sale is a great standby, but only if the sale is truly new and exciting. Businesses that offer "last day of free shipping" or "lowest prices of the season" every week will soon lose subscribers who grow tired of misleading subjects that offer nothing new. Instead, your company should be concise and descriptive of the content of the email. If your content is interesting, the subject line should not be difficult to create.
The email content needs to be new, fresh, and easy-to-read. An email newsletter is no place to use industry jargon your customers might not understand. Limit paragraphs and keep sentences short. Use bullet lists when possible. Most customers prefer skimming emails before they commit to reading. If you don't give them this option, you risk losing them altogether.
Fresh and New Information
The content needs to be new with each email. Repeated content will soon be discarded. You want your customers to look forward to the latest sales, products, or information on the inside of your email. You don't want them to groan because you sent the same email two weeks in a row. Likewise, make sure your content stands out from your competitors. Opting into competitors' email lists to learn what they offer is a wise move to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
No Broken Promises
Do not offer anything that you can't deliver. Don't advertise great deals on products only for customers to find your products are out of stock. Bait and switch simply don't work with email customers who can go to another business with a few keystrokes. Likewise, don't advertise content in the subject line that is not revealed in the email. Very little is more frustrating than getting excited to open an email only to find it does not contain what you expected.
Personalize the Email
It is straightforward to personalize an email. Customers know that programs populate names into chosen fields, but they still feel special when they are referred to by name. Another way to personalize emails is to send birthday and anniversary greetings.
Make Unsubscribing Easy
It may seem counter-intuitive but making unsubscribing easy gives your customers a sense of security. Hiding the ability to unsubscribe is a technique used by scammers and spammers. Your customers know this. Therefore, when they see an email that doesn't allow them to unsubscribe, they may immediately believe the correspondence is not legitimate. They will then often take the extra step of flagging your email as spam. Once you are flagged, you have lost the ability to communicate with customers in future email campaigns. Likewise, if multiple users flag your content as spam, your emails may be auto flagged by various email programs.
It should go without saying, but proofreading is an absolute must when it comes to email marketing. Whether you are creating an original newsletter or an automated email, you must be sure that your marketing team has used appropriate grammar and spelling. Your small business will look amateur if an editing error is allowed to be released to the masses. Also, you must make sure all content is sensitive to different customers' needs. Do not use language that some might find offensive or crude.
Call to Action (CTA)
Every email needs to have a call to action. The call to action is a reminder to your customers that they need to take more steps to complete what you have been encouraging through the course of the email. In many cases, the call to action is visiting your product website to make a purchase, but other calls to action are also worthwhile. You might be asking them to visit one of your social media pages. You could be encouraging them to download an eBook. You may include a phone number for them to text or call. The call to action is the ultimate goal for the email marketing campaign. Forgetting this vital content is a grave mistake.
Study Email Marketing Campaigns
You aren't finished when you have created and carried out an email marketing campaign. Your next step is to determine the success of the campaign. You can use tools that show you how many of the emails you sent were opened. You can learn how long the email remained open, which and how many internal links were clicked, how many recipients unsubscribed, and if those emails led to ultimate sales.
Rethinking Marketing Strategies
Your initial marketing strategy did not work. Now what? You can opt to tweak your ideas a little at a time, hoping that your hard work and effort will eventually pay off. Your other option is to retool and start from scratch. There is no one simple answer that works for every marketing strategy. Sometimes the problem is as easy as using more concise language in the campaign. However, you should never convince yourself that the campaign strategy you chose from the outset must the one you stay with for all time. Remember that it is not wise to hold tightly to a mistake just because you spent a lot of effort making it.
Improving Successful Campaigns
The business world changes at a breakneck pace. What is hot today could be tomorrow's old news. A marketing strategy that proves to be a big success can only stay successful if you stay on top of the latest trends. You must continually update your emails by paying careful attention to what works and then expanding on those ideas.
Building Your Email Marketing Lists
You need to build the list for your email marketing campaigns continually. You can do this by purchasing email lists, but this action is often not the best use of marketing funds. Email lists aren't always vetted. Likewise, there is no previous interaction with the individuals who may or may not be interested in your product.
Social Media Email Lists
Email marketing lists can be generated through social media. Encourage potential customers to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any of your other pages. You should also have a form on your website where customers can opt-in for newsletters and special deals. Another popular option is to include an incentive for customers to share emails with their email contacts. Contests, discounts, and points in loyalty programs are all good ways to encourage email forwarding.
Arguably the best way to build your email marketing list is with lead generation. This is the act of compiling information from visitors to your websites. Lead generation determines those visitors who do not complete forms on your website but still spend time looking at your products. Reaching out to these potential customers is a great way to populate email lists and ultimately drive revenue.
However, you receive your lists, make sure you set up email verification. This one extra step removes any individuals who are not interested in subscribing. It also keeps you from spending time and marketing dollars on fake email addresses.
E-Marketing Associates works with small businesses of all types to find ways to help them grow. Our expertise is helping local businesses that have competition from more prominent players in their industry but do not have an established customer base, nor big company marketing dollars. If you're not sure how your business is doing online, you can get a free report.