We’re continuing our series on the best tips and tricks for smarter small business marketing. If you missed our first installment, check it out here.
As we mentioned in our previous post, using business data to better understand your customers is a great way to do smarter marketing. With email marketing, you can group related customers together and have relevant conversations with each, as opposed to blasting the same generic message to your whole base.
In many respects, the internet has leveled the playing field for small businesses when it comes to marketing. It’s now possible for even a mom and pop business to reach the same audience as large companies through the web. Based on a survey by Constant Contact, small-business owners consider email automation as being worth $273 an hour, and participants’ estimated value of getting an extra hour of marketing activity in a 33-hour week.
That’s what makes email marketing such a great way to spread your message to the masses. It’s easy to deploy, affordable and effective since people spend a lot of time in their inbox. Below are some best practices for running successful email marketing campaigns.
Have Relevant Conversations
A major reason email marketing is so effective is due to the fact that you can group related customers into lists and send them relevant communications. You don’t have to hit each recipient with the same marketing message.
Start Small and Scale Up
There might be some trial and error when you start with email marketing. Send your first messages to a small group. Then get their feedback, monitor your results and make the necessary improvements before you contact a larger group.
Easy Opt In, Easy Opt-Out
Customers “opt in” into receiving your communications, usually by providing their email on a sign-up form on your website. You also need to give them the option to “opt out” through a link in the body of your email. Make it easy to do both. You should only email people who have agreed to receive your messages. This means that they’ve provided their email address to you – through a form on your website or other means – with the understanding that you’ll contact them. You should also provide a link within the email that makes it easy for the customer to stop receiving your emails.
Make Data-driven Decisions
Email marketing software provides a lot of insights into the performance of your campaigns. You can see how many messages were open, which links were clicked and how many emails resulted in sales. You can use this data to make informed decisions and improve your future campaigns.
The Right Tone and Length
Keep in mind that most people get a lot of emails, especially promotional ones. Be sure your messages are too the point but not overly-salesly. You should give the recipient a reason to read on and click-thru once they’ve open it. Don’t just send messages pushing them to buy more. Instead, provide them with a narrative about your business and products. For instance, let your readers know about best practices or helpful tips related to your products. They’ll appreciate that.
A list of your products and their prices might resonate with a recipient ready to buy but it often pays off to offer an incentive. Free shipping, two-for-one deals and discounts can help convert undecided prospects.
Don’t Spam – Ever
It’s never a good idea to blast a tacky “BUY NOW” message out to every address you have. It’s considered spam and is universally despised by almost every person with an email address. It’s also good to avoid excessive capitalization and use of exclamation points, as it could trigger your recipients’ spam filter.