Make Your Small Business Email Marketing Successful - Follow These Steps
The benefits of email
Customers like email. According to research, 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications via email. So, don't overlook the potential email can bring to your business. If done well it offers some great benefits.
• It's cost-effective - implementing successful email campaigns doesn't cost the earth and ROI is generally good.
• It's flexible - It is an excellent channel of communication for a wide variety of customer communications. Amongst other things it can be used for sales drives, as part of your retention strategy, service and product updates, branding, customer services, online PR, CRM and market research.
• It's targeted - email enables you to segment your audience so you can customize messages to specific, targeted groups.
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• It can be instantaneous -a good email can be put together and sent out quickly. This is great if you have an impending deadline or a time sensitive issue to deal with. For example, it enables you to react quickly to a surprise competitor promotion.
• It's simple to DIY - with the right email tools you can create a great looking, effective email quickly and easily yourself.
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The key do's and don'ts for email success
So, what are the key do's and don'ts to ensure your email gets a good response and doesn't end up in someone's spam filter? Outlined below are some tips that will serve as a useful checklist ensuring you get the most out of your email activity.
• Put content first. Content should always be your key focus. Don't just send out random communications, you need to make sure that what you are sending out is timely and relevant to those on the receiving end. If not, your email will end up ignored or straight in the trash - and you'll run the risk of alienating your customers.
• Spend some time thinking about your subject line. It is a really important element and should entice your reader in and reflect the content of your email. Try to make it short and to the point. Keeping it under eleven words is the general rule of thumb.
• Segment your data into targeted groups. This way you can customize your email communications to each specific group, making sure content is relevant - rather than just sending out blanket communications. It will get you a higher response and your 'unsubscribe' rate will be lower.
• Pay attention to detail. Good spelling, punctuation and grammar matter. Poorly written content reflects badly on your businesses and looks unprofessional.
• Always include a clear call to action on your email communications. Customers should be clear about what you are asking them to do. For example, if you want them to click through to a particular page on your website, be specific and make sure the link is clearly visible.
• Brand your email with a banner header at the top. Use your logo or if you don't have a logo use an image or wording that is appropriate to your business. This is important is it's the first thing your reader will see when they open your email.
• It is essential that it is clear to recipients who the email is from, as this is the name that will appear in your customer's inbox. Something like 'yourname@yourcompany' is a safe bet - it's both personal and clearly shows it's a business email.
• Make it easy for users to unsubscribe. Your, 'unsubscribe' button must clearly visible on your email communications. Not only is this a legal requirement it also means you keep your database clean and up-to-date. This is important since email database addresses decay by an average of 22.5% over a year.
• Include your business address at the bottom of your email, this is also a legal requirement.
• Use trigger email marketing. Particular events will automatically warrant email communication - such as a welcome to a new subscriber, a thank you for a purchase and promotions during seasonal periods like Christmas. The timelier an email is, the higher the likelihood the content is going to be relevant to your customers.
• Just send out sales promotions. Mix up your email communications with content that adds-value to existing and prospective customers such as an informative newsletter, company developments, product launches or new blog post topics.
• Use all CAPS. It looks both shouty and spammy. Plus, using all CAPS can trigger spam filters. Make your emails too long. Long reams of text can be off-putting to a reader. Use bullet points and headers to break up text and enable a reader to quickly skim the content of your email.
• Send a marketing email out without first sending out a test. This way you can check everything looks how it is supposed to, rather than sending it out to your whole database only to realize it doesn't open properly on a mobile, is formatted wrong, images are missing and so on. As by that time it is too late.
• Send out emails unless you have permission from the customer to contact them - through email opt in. Remember this is a legal requirement.
• Be afraid of using images. Images are a great way of engaging your customer, grabbing attention or conveying the meaning of a message quickly.
• Oversend. Don't bombard your customers and prospective customers with constant emails. Think about creating an email schedule, sending different customized emails to specific target groups. If you are going to send an email newsletter, then be consistent - whether that is weekly, monthly or quarterly.
• Send out any content that may cause offense. Remember you have a wide audience out there on the internet and what may be amusing to one person may be offensive to another. A friendly tone is great but remember; ultimately you are a business and need to remain professional.
• Ignore your landing page. You may have put together a fantastic email with a great call to action, but all your hard work will be wasted if you send your respondents to an irrelevant or poorly thought out landing page.
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