If you run a small business and are looking for an inexpensive and effective marketing tactic, email marketing is a time-tested and proven method for driving traffic to your site, increasing customer engagement and loyalty, and increasing sales.
Isn’t email marketing dead?
While you may have heard rumors that email marketing is no longer relevant, research has proven that is simply not true. According to a recent study done by McKinsey & Company, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media. Ninety-two percent of internet users (approximately 3 billion people) have at least one email account and that number continues to grow. Additionally, a 2019 email study revealed that 89% of marketers consider their email marketing efforts successful.
Email marketing is also extremely affordable and has an amazing average return on investment generating $38 in sales for every $1 spent. If you haven’t yet tried email marketing for your business, here are 10 top tips to help get you started.
1. Gather a “safe” list of contacts
Collect users contact information by asking them to opt-in to your email list. There are a number of regulations around email marketing – you can’t send emails to people who have not opted-in and you have to allow them to unsubscribe at any time. Most email platforms will provide you with information on best practices on collecting information, sending emails, and more.
2. Get the right platform
You’ll need a good email platform or ESP (email service provider). If you are running a small business and are looking for a low-cost option, there are many to choose from such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, iContact and more. Do some research to find the platform that best fits your needs and budget.
3. Decide what you want to email about
Maybe you are doing a newsletter where you link blog posts or other company information. Maybe you want to send customers who haven’t shopped with you in a while a special coupon or discount. Or maybe you are having a special event or sale at your business that you want to announce. Take time to plan topics you want to promote and create a calendar for when you want them released.
4. Don’t overdo it
Realize that your contacts may not want to hear from you every day or every week, and people will unsubscribe if your emails become annoying. Only send messages that your customers will truly find value in.
5. Test. Test. Test.
Make sure your emails look great and function well on all devices (laptops, tablets, mobile phones) and across different browsers. Most good email platforms help ensure this but you still want to do your own testing before you send anything out.
6. Create a test list
Send your email to a test list of just a few people internally so you can make sure all of the links work, there are no misspellings or typos, etc. No one wants to find an error in an email that has already gone out to hundreds or thousands of people and having extra sets of eyes read through the email helps catch mistakes.
7. Personalize your email
Email platforms have unique features which can take your email blast and customize it to each recipient. Use these features to address each recipient by their first name, refer to recent purchases they’ve made, products or services that they are interested in, and more. Fifty-seven percent of marketers surveyed believe that personalization is the most effective tactic for email marketing.
8. Craft a compelling subject line
The subject line of your email is the most important component – it determines whether people will open and read your email. Avoid gimmicks or tricks like ‘You’re a winner!’ and avoid words such as ‘FREE’ or ‘SALE’ that can often trigger spam filters.
9. Have a strong call to action
Make sure every email asks your user to do something like click on a link to learn more, download an offer, contact you, etc. When a contact clicks on something linked in your email it is called a click-thru and it’s a good indication that you have successfully engaged your user.
10. Learn from your analytics
Your email platform will track how many of your contacts open an email (open rate), click a link in your email (click-through rate), bounce rates, unsubscribes, and more. This will help you discover what topics and tactics are succeeding and which ones are not. You also should feel free to resend popular emails, soon to those on your list who never opened the first send, and maybe a couple months later to people who did open the email but did not act on it.
Email marketing is a great and cost-effective way to successfully spread the word about your business, engage prospects and drive sales.