Modern tech advancements have changed the world of marketing, meaning today’s marketer has more ways to reach prospects than ever before. Although search engine marketing and social media networks are useful, email marketing continues to be the most effective digital marketing tool for large and small businesses alike.
As a new small business owner, this is really great news for you and your marketing strategy! In 2022, it was reported that 4.258 billion people around the world use email. That’s a massive prospect pool full of people who can be targeted and reached with ease.
With careful planning and research, email marketing can be highly successful in converting contacts to revenue-generating customers, even for the newest businesses. In this blog, we’ll go through why email marketing is beneficial for your business while outlining some tips, and tricks. Let’s go!
Benefits of Email Marketing
By definition, email marketing is the sending of brand-specific messages (both promotional and non-promotional) to one or more specific, targeted audiences. The purpose of email marketing is threefold; it builds customer loyalty, strengthens your brand recognition, and boosts your sales. No matter how many digital marketing channels you and your brand use, email marketing will always be one of the best ways to contact and engage with your desired audience for a few reasons.
1. Email is one of the most widely used forms of communication. Most people use email multiple times a day, and with the advent of smartphones, users can access email from anywhere in the entire world. People send 300 billion emails every single day, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this fast-moving quick-sending platform?
2. Sending emails is more than just establishing contact between email users. They’re also a way for people to connect with, and stay up to date with, their favorite companies (like yours!). Over 70% of people prefer email communication over any other form of messaging, so keep this in mind if you’re ever wondering if email marketing works!
3. Email marketing is so cost-effective, making it a terrific tool for new businesses on a budget to reach a large audience for a small investment. You can gain access to the inboxes of quality prospects while avoiding the costs of traditional advertising.
For these reasons and more, email marketing is a smart and affordable way to connect with your target base, identify new customers, and grow your small business.
Email Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
Email marketing has consistently delivered the highest ROI for marketers for over a decade; around $36 for every $1 spent! But that’s not even the best part…
The best part is that this kind of success isn’t only available to large businesses. Several small businesses are excelling at effective email marketing, and your business can, too! Explore our 6 email marketing tips for small businesses that are just getting started.
1. Gather Contact Information
Your first step in creating an effective email marketing campaign is to build a quality email list. Start this by creating a form on your website to subscribe viewers to your mailing list by capturing their contact information.
The subscription form should require only the absolutely necessary details, like names and email addresses. Clearly explain what viewers can expect from you when they offer their information (i.e. Should they expect monthly or weekly emails?), explain what you will (or won’t) do with their data, and, most importantly, make it clear what value you’ll provide in exchange for their contact information.
Use a Call to Action on your site — like “Sign Up Now!” or “Subscribe to Our List” — to clearly and directly encourage people to engage with your business. Offer something of value in exchange for their email address, like a free eBook, a guide, or a tutorial, further enticing people to opt-in on your site. The objective is to obtain quality leads who are genuinely interested in the products and services you offer.
2. Decide What to Send
There are several types of emails you can send to your contact list, and it’s important to understand the difference so you can decide what to send your audience.
Promotional emails are a great way to alert readers to your current sales and special offers, while emails highlighting your loyalty program can strengthen your bond with your customers.
Email newsletters are another tried and true method of establishing a connection with your prospects. Not only are they expected by subscribers, but they can also provide valuable information and updates that people find useful.
Transactional emails like order confirmations or shipping notifications are especially effective. These keep customers up-to-date on what’s happening with their purchases leading to high open rates. Because they contain information people need and look forward to receiving, they’ve been proven to have open rates 8x higher than other emails!
3. Create Valuable Content
One of the most vital aspects of email marketing is creating content that’s not only engaging but relevant, too. If your content isn’t valuable, people won’t want to read it!
Do a little research ahead of time to find out what your audience needs to help you figure out how you can fill their need. Answer popular questions, alleviate concerns, and offer valuable information that people will want to read. From templates to writing tools and blog posts like there, there are a ton of resources available to help you draft an effective and high-value email.
You can also increase the value of your emails by segmenting your audience into targeted categories using differentiators like demographics, engagement, and past purchase behavior. With this information, you can tailor your content, providing specific value to a specific type of person. No matter the message or your audience, always be sure to include a clear CTA that relates to the topic of your email.
4. Design for Mobile Applications
With the increasing prevalence of smartphones, email access is no longer limited to stationary locations. Mobile platforms are becoming more popular and offer a way for people to remain connected while on the go. When considering our smartphone-centric life, an important aspect of email optimization includes ensuring your campaigns are always 100% mobile-friendly.
Emails need to be adaptable to several applications, so design and format content intentionally to ensure that all information is accessible from any device. Don’t miss out on a lead conversion opportunity simply because your message wasn’t formatted for a user’s device!
5. Map Out a Schedule
Maintaining consistency with your email marketing is key to keeping your audience consistently engaged, and helping them understand when to expect information from you. By creating a schedule for your email campaigns, you can carefully plan your outreach which results in only deliberate and intentional sends.
One of the leading reasons that people unsubscribe from email campaigns is because of the company’s send cadence, especially if you’re sending what they feel is too many emails. Focus on finding the sweet spot of email campaign sends; ideally more than once a month, but less than a few times a week.
Observe customer behavior and develop a plan that meets their needs, leaning on consumer data to inform your decisions. For example, data suggests that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the best days to send emails, especially between 9 AM and 12 PM. However, if this doesn’t match your audience’s trends, no worries! Follow your audience’s behavior to help with scheduling.
6. Track Your Progress
A major benefit of email marketing is the ability to learn from your readers. By tracking various metrics and prioritizing analytics, you can determine the success of your campaign and make data-based decisions going forward. Small businesses will want to track the following metrics for their email campaigns.
■ Open Rates
□ These show how many emails were actually opened versus how many were sent and undelivered.
■ Click-Through Rates
□ These determine how many times links were clicked and accessed.
■ Conversion Rates
□ These show how many desired actions were taken from users receiving a specific email. The desired action might be a sale, a sign-up, or a download, among others.
□ To calculate your conversion rate, take the number of recipients who took the desired action and divide it by the number of emails delivered. Multiple that number by 100% to find your percentage.
□ I.e. 40 sales/50 emails delivered x 100% = 80% Conversion Rate.
■ Referral Traffic
□ This reveals how many site visits came from a campaign.
■ Bounce Rates
□ This identifies the number of emails that did not successfully reach their intended recipient.
□ Bounce Rates can negatively impact your business’s credibility and impacts your messaging, so make sure you keep an updated email list to avoid this!
■ Unsubscribe Rates
□ This shows how many people are opting out of your contact list by unsubscribing.
■ List Growth Rate
□ This indicates how frequently you’re gaining new subscribers or growing your contact list.
□ It’s important to track this information and keep your contact list current and healthy.
Tracking and keeping up to date on all of this information helps you adjust your campaign strategy to ensure future messages are effective and successful in building brand loyalty and increasing ROI.
Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses
It’s easy to see that emails are an effective marketing tool, but how do you get there? In order to develop a successful email marketing campaign, keep these best practices top of mind.
1. Be The Guinea Pig
Before you send a message to your contact list, send a test copy to yourself. Check for errors, typos, and broken links, and make sure your CTA buttons take viewers to your website. Confirm that your content looks how it was intended to look both on a computer and mobile device. Use yourself as the guinea pig to test for errors and set yourself up for success from the get-go… you don’t want your customers to be the ones identifying issues!
2. Send Only to People on Your Contact List
Develop a quality email list and only contact people who intentionally sign up for your email communications. Never register people against their wishes and steer clear of purchased email lists; you don’t know where these contacts came from, or if they properly consented to receive emails. Poorly vetted or unethically acquired emails result in high unsubscribe rates and, even worse, could get your content marked as spam.
3. Make it Easy to Subscribe and Unsubscribe
With email marketing, the goal is to gain loyal subscribers, so it should always be easy and straightforward to sign up or opt-in. Include several CTA options to capture contact information on your various platforms, and consider implementing a double opt-in process to make sure recipients really do want to be on your list.
Alternatively, it’s important to realize that not everyone will find your emails useful… and that’s okay! Give them an easy way out to show that you care about their preferences. Make unsubscribe links obvious and use friendly wording to keep things light. They may end up referring you to a friend or even returning at a later date if the “Goodbye” is a positive one.
Email marketing remains a preferred channel for today’s marketers, allowing small businesses to reach a wide target audience affordably and easily. Create a successful email marketing strategy by following these small business tips and best practices, and get ready to see the fruits of your labor through an increase of committed, interested, and loyal consumers.