New to Small Business? Here’s Your Email Marketing Strategy

Modern technological advancements have changed the world of marketing, meaning today’s marketer has access to several digital platforms to reach prospects.

Search engine marketing and social media networks are useful tools, but email marketing continues to be the most effective digital marketing tool for large and small businesses alike.

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As of last year, there were 3.9 billion email users around the world. That’s a massive prospect pool, and they’re 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. Not sure how to develop a solid small business email marketing strategy? Campaign Monitor can help.

Benefits of email marketing

Email marketing is the distribution of promotional messages via email to a target audiences. Its purpose is to build customer loyalty, strengthen brand recognition, and boost sales. Regardless of how many digital marketing channels develop, email marketing continues to be one of the best ways to contact and engage your target audience.

Email is also one of the most widely used forms of communication. Most people use email several times a day, every day, and with the advent of smartphones, users can now access email from anywhere. In fact, last year, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received each day.

These emails aren’t just person-to-person contact. They’re also a way for people to connect with their favorite companies. More than 70% of consumers prefer email communication as their source for updates from the businesses they follow.

Email marketing is cost-effective, so it’s a terrific tool for small businesses on a budget. It’s possible to reach a large audience for very little investment.

You gain direct access to inboxes of quality prospects while avoiding the costs associated with traditional advertising. For these reasons and more, email marketing is a smart way to connect with your target base, identify new customers, and grow your small business.

Examples of email marketing strategies for small business

Email marketing has been the leading channel to deliver the highest ROI for marketers for over a decade: For every $1 spent, it brings about $38 in ROI. The best part is that this kind of success isn’t achieved only by large businesses.

Several small businesses are excelling with effective email marketing campaigns, and your business can succeed, too, by following these small business email marketing tips.

1. Gather contact information.

Your first step in creating an effective email marketing campaign is to build a quality email list. Create a form on your website to register viewers and capture their contact information.

The form should require only necessary details, like names and email addresses. This will help you earn their trust and build a stable relationship. Clearly explain what viewers can expect when they offer their information and assure them that they’ll receive immediate value from the material you’ll provide.

Use CTAs on your site to encourage people to register to learn more about your business. Offer something of value in exchange for an email address—content upgrades like eBooks, guides, and checklists—to entice people to opt in on your site. The objective is to obtain quality leads who are interested in the products and services you offer.

 Example of a signup CTA to obtain more information

Source: Medium

2. Decide what to send.

There are several types of emails you can send to your contact list. Promotional emails are a great way to alert readers to your current sales and special offers. Loyalty programs for dedicated customers are an effective way to strengthen those relationships.

Email newsletters are a safe method of establishing a connection with your prospects. Not only are they expected, but they can also provide valuable information people find useful.

Transactional emails, like receipts or shipping notifications, are especially effective. These keep customers abreast of what’s happening with their purchase, and they have high open rates because they contain information people need and look forward to receiving. They’ve been proven to generate up to 6 times more revenue than other email formats.

 Example of a transactional email

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Create valuable content.

It’s important to create content that’s relevant to your reader. Do a little research ahead of time and find out what your audience needs that you can provide.

Answer questions, alleviate concerns, and offer valuable information that people will want to read. From templates to writing tools, there are several resources available to help you draft an effective email.

Consider segmenting your audience into targeted categories. Use differentiators like demographics, engagement, and past purchase behavior. With this information, you can tailor content and increase open rates. Whatever message you create, be sure to include a clear CTA that relates to the topic of your email.

 Example of content based on past purchase behavior

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Design for mobile applications.

Email access is no longer limited to stationary locations. Mobile platforms are becoming more prevalent and a way for people to remain connected while on the go, so an important aspect of email optimization includes ensuring your campaign is mobile friendly.

Emails need to be adaptable to several applications, so format content correctly to ensure that all information is accessible, regardless of where it’s being accessed. Don’t miss out on a lead conversion opportunity simply because your message wasn’t formatted for a variety of devices.

Example of an optimized mobile-friendly email

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Map out a schedule.

Maintain consistency with your readership by creating a schedule for your email campaign and be deliberate in your plan.

The leading reasons people unsubscribe from email campaigns have to do with send cadence. Make contact with your recipients more than once a month, but don’t bombard them more than a couple of times a week.

Observe consumer behavior and develop a plan that meets their needs. Our research has shown that the best day for email opens is Tuesday.

As for time, aim for natural breaks in the day when people are accessing email (morning break, lunch, and while lying in bed at night). Start with this information, then use your own data to adjust based on your customers’ needs.

 Example of a scheduled weekly email

Source: Think With Google

6. Track your progress.

A major benefit of email marketing is the ability to learn from your readers. By tracking various metrics, you can analyze the success of your campaign and make quick changes to improve its success. Small businesses will want to track the following metrics for their email campaigns:

  • Open rates show how many emails were actually opened versus how many were sent and undelivered
  • Click-through rates determine how many times links were accessed
  • Conversion rates relate sales to emails sent
  • Referral traffic reveals how many site visits came from your email
  • Bounce rates identify email addresses that are rejecting the emails
  • Unsubscribe rates show how many people are opting out of your contact list
  • List growth rate shows how frequently you’re gaining new subscribers. It’s important to track this information and keep your contact list current and healthy.

All of this information helps you adjust your campaign to ensure your 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. Develop a successful email marketing campaign by following these best practices.

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. CTA buttons must take viewers to your website. Confirm content appears correctly on a computer, as well as mobile devices. Set your campaign up for success from the beginning.

Send only to people on your list.

Develop a quality email list and only contact people who intentionally sign up for your email communications. Don’t register people against their wishes and steer clear of purchased email lists. These emails result in high unsubscribe rates and, even worse, could damage your reputation.

Make it easy to subscribe and unsubscribe

The goal is to gain subscribers, so make it easy for people to sign up. Include several CTA options to capture contact information. Use autofill features with a checkbox, so all people have to do is click a button.

Likewise, realize not everyone will find your emails useful, and that’s okay. Give them an easy way out. Make unsubscribe links obvious and use friendly wording to keep things light. They may refer you to a friend. Or they could return someday when the time is right.

Wrap up

Email marketing remains a preferred channel for today’s marketers. It allows small businesses to reach a wide target audience affordably and easily. Create a successful campaign by following these small business email marketing strategies:

  • Gather contact information
  • Decide what to send
  • Create valuable content
  • Map out a schedule
  • Track your progress

Email marketing is an effective and beneficial way for small businesses to generate leads and improve ROI. To ensure success, follow best practices like testing your messages, sending only to people on your list, and providing ways for consumers to join and unsubscribe with ease.

We can help your small business develop a beneficial email marketing strategy. For more information, contact our sales team today.

The post New to Small Business? Here’s Your Email Marketing Strategy appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Whats Happening With Your Click-Through Rate?

So your email made it to the inbox and your subject line made a subscriber curious enough to open…. but that was it. Your email campaign failed to get subscribers to preform that last step to click-through to your website. So what can cause a subscriber interested enough in your subject line to stop interacting once they have opened the email? And what can you do to hold on to that subscriber’s interest and get them to click on one of your calls to action (CTAs)? 

What Causes a Low Click-Through Rate Despite High Opens?

If deliverability and opens are not an issue, there are two main reasons for a low click-through rate:

1. Offers and CTAs are not relevant or compelling enough
Your CTAs need to deliver on the expectation you created with the subject line as well as the overall promise you made to your subscribers on sign up. If your offers are not in line with what customers signed up for and expressed interest in, they have no reason to click and engage more with your brand.

2. Offers and CTAs are not prominent enough
Your CTAs need to be easy to spot and interact with. The language, design, and length all affect the subscriber’s decision to click through. If the CTA is unclear, broken, or hard to find, subscribers are less likely to click. 

To avoid falling into either of these categories, keep the following tips in mind as you create your email creative. 

Tips For Inspiring Clicks

1. Have your CTAs match the promise of your subject line
If your subject line alluded to holiday gifts ideas don’t suddenly ver off course an offer something completely different. The subject line is meant as a preview to what lies in the email if your content doesn’t match subscribers won’t click. And If subscribers see a continuous pattern of subject lines that don’t match the email message, they will be less likely to trust in your subject lines again leading to a decrease in clicks and possibly an increase in unsubscribes. Fronteer has a great (award-winning) example of a subject line that perfectly ties to the CTAs inside the email.

2. Make your CTAs are easy to find
Place your CTAs above the fold to make sure subscribers can spot them right away. Be conscious of the design of your CTA as well. Use contrasting colors and add white space around your CTA to ensure it does not blend in with the rest of your message and go overlooked.

3. Don’t overload on CTAs
One might think that by including many CTAs to increase the chances of a click is a solid plan, however, subscribers are likely to feel overwhelmed and confused and be turned off from clicking anything. If you need to include more than one CTA for the promotion, create one central CTA that stands out and have others take a backseat. The AAPR does a great example of this in their fall newsletter with the larger, central CTA around the “Bee Cave” and four additional CTAs that are smaller, with less text, and placed below the main CTA.

4. Plan for broken images
While you may put a lot of work into designing a beautiful email creative complete with many enticing images, sometimes images break. When you create your call to action, keep this in mind and make sure to code your CTA in HTML rather than images, so it will appear no matter what.

5. Test everything
There are many elements that make up a CTA, keywords, size, color, location, to name a few. To make sure your CTA is as effective as possible, test out the different elements on a small sample of your subscribers, and then deploy the winning CTA to the rest of the list. 

Getting a subscriber to click a CTA is one of the final jobs of your email campaign. After all the hard work getting into the inbox and enticing subscribers to open, the CTA takes them over the “finish line” and gets them to perform that last email interaction before they move on to your website. To avoid a last-minute fumble, make sure your CTAs are strong enough to get subscribers over the finish line. Concerned about any other metrics? Take a look at our Guide to Email Marketing Metrics for more insight on what can cause metrics to change and what you can do to fix it. 

How Do Mailbox Providers View Your Email Program? [New Report]

Though you might not see it in your inbox, there is a lot of bad email being sent every day. Last year alone saw over 600 billion emails from spammers. Faced with this wealth of illegitimate messages, mailbox providers rely on sender reputation to identify the “good” from the “bad,” when determining what email to allow or block from their users’ inboxes. Unfortunately for marketers, each mailbox provider has their own secret sender reputation calculation for incoming mail.

At Return Path by Validity, we’ve created our own reputation calculation system—Sender Score—that evaluates the same reputation criteria that mailbox providers use in their calculations— to give senders a benchmark for how they and their messages are perceived by mailbox providers.

In the 2019 Sender Score Benchmark, we take a look at the impact of reputation and Sender Score on email performance, including:

  • The distribution of email volume by Sender Score.
  • The impact of complaints, spam traps, and unknown users on reputation
  • The average inbox placement rate at Microsoft, AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo by Sender Score
  • The average Sender Score and inbox placement rate by industry

To see how your reputation is impacting your ability to access the inbox, look up your program’s Sender Score for free and then download the report.