The Small Business’s Guide to Email Marketing21 min read
No surprise, growing a business can be challenging. However, you may find that SMB email marketing makes it a little easier. Whether you’re a seasoned small business owner or just getting started, learning to use this tactic effectively can help forge a direct connection to your target audience. How? Email marketing for small businesses enables you to create personalized content, build credibility and brand recognition, and analyze important metrics for consumer success. Keep reading to dive into the nine tips that will make your email marketing a successful strategy.
1. Create a Purposeful Strategy
Every email needs to have a purpose, whether it’s to inform or prompt a response from your subscribers. Construct your email marketing strategy to support your overall business goals; Do you want to reach more people? Generate leads? Increase sales? Build better relationships with your current consumer group? Create a strategy that delivers your brand’s value and builds credibility to create long-term buyers. The B2B sales cycle is typically longer than B2C companies, so spend time nurturing leads by providing relevant information.
2. Build a Contact List
Building a contact list can be a daunting task for any business scale, but it’s important to understand that quality matters over quantity. Avoid spamming users: sending emails too often and/or sending to those who didn’t voluntarily sign-up to receive them. This may ruin the potential relationship between the client and the company. Instead, give people the chance to subscribe to your email list since they’re the ones who will interact with your marketing material. Treat emails as an informational and purposeful space.
But how do you get a contact list started?
Newsletters: offer the chance for people to sign-up in person, on social media, and/or on your website. These are informational (commonly written weekly or monthly) regarding current activities of the business, generally sticking to one main topic.
Gated content: ask users to provide their email in exchange for high-value or useful information non-subscribers cannot receive like comprehensive how-to guides or ebooks.
Special offers: Reward subscribers with discounts, special offers, or giveaways.
3. Segment Your Contact List
Once you’ve grown your contact list, you can segment it into specific categories for maximum email engagement (purchase history, location, inactivity, website activity, stage of the sales funnel, etc.). It’s a great way to create personalized content for a specific group of subscribers, and it has been shown to increase the open rate and decrease the bounce rate of emails.
4. Take Advantage of Email Services
There are several email marketing services, such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, that are available to support your growth without costing too much. This allows small businesses to build a contact list, schedule emails, and create subgroups within the list for email personalization. You may also consider investing in a CRM and marketing automation platform like HubSpot to more fully track customer behavior, lead generation, and marketing ROI. Work smarter, not harder!
5. Create Personalized Copy
Producing engaging content is all about understanding how to write for your targeted audience. Copy should be written based on the tone of voice, language, and buyer intentions of those subscribers. In general, emails should be kept short and to the point to maximize engagement. However, some businesses have found success with longer, newsletter-style emails. No matter the length, keep emails relevant and focused on your specific audience.
6. Establish a Call to Action
This is simply a meaningful action that will help the user in the end (it’s not about you). Are you trying to guide people to your website? Provide a link to get in contact with you? Sign up for an event? A call-to-action is also a great way to track engagement and help determine if your email marketing strategy reaches campaign goals.
7. Design an Email Style
When designing the email template for your audience, it’s essential to choose one that matches your brand’s style and voice. Simplified and stylized email templates both have pros and cons. Check out our other blog to find what simplified or stylized template is right for your business!
8. Send to the Right People at the Right Time
When you’re ready to schedule an email, consider what time of day/week may or may not help you reach full engagement. According to Marketo.com, the best time to send a promotional email is during work hours because everyone is already in their emails (many people disconnect from their email outside of work). During the week, Tuesdays and Thursdays are prime for high open rates and click-through rates.
9. Measure Performance
At the end of the day, email marketing will only be effective if you monitor performance and make changes accordingly. Essential metrics to track include
- Sends vs. hard bounces: The number of times your email reaches the inbox versus the number of times an email “bounced” or could not be delivered.
- Opens and unique opens: The total number of times someone opened the email (may include multiple opens from the same person) and the number of subscribers who opened the email (not counting multiple opens).
- Clicks and unique clicks: The total number of times recipients clicked the tracked call-to-action and the unique number of subscribers who clicked.
These metrics are easily accessible in the email service of your choice. And as you collect data over time, start with a simple spreadsheet to keep it all in one place. Compare your metrics from the email to the industry benchmarks, then adjust based on performance.
These nine actionable steps help build credibility, establish long-term relationships with your targeted audience, and make it easy to track marketing performance. Email marketing for small businesses is crucial because it’s available at a low cost yet can put you ahead of your competitors.