Email marketing is the single most effective marketing tactic employed by businesses. It attracts new customers, and gives old customers a reason to come back. During their infancy stage, small businesses need to increase their sales and profit to show consistent growth, and this can be easily achieved when there is an increase in their customer base. The process of putting out an effective email marketing program is not complicated, and can be represented in a few steps using infographics as shown by StartupGuys.
Studies have shown that over 97% of businesses make use of email marketing to increase their sales. The emphasis here is on the relevance of the program, as a significant amount of those targeted often unsubscribe from mailing services that are not relevant to them. Relevance can be improved with the use of market automation software. Small businesses might find this very useful.
Email marketing is achieved when a company sends out tailored emails to target groups. The content of the email is usually requests, adverts, and donation or sales solicitation. In the broad usage of the word, any email that helps the business to draw the attention of potential, and old, customers to a particular brand is recognized as email marketing.
The distinct advantage to small businesses with email marketing is reduction of cost. Small businesses are often strapped for cash, and may not be able to afford large print spaces or television and radio time. The analysis of one email marketing company, Campaign Monitor, estimates that a company can make a $38 revenue for $1 invested in email marketing.
Since the emails are also targeted, they tend to achieve the desired goal better than random messages. Effective email marketing campaigns can improve Click Through Rate (CTR) when rightly done. Emails with buttons for sharing on social media have been shown to produce better results. An effective email marketing campaign should take care of the following points:
1. Make the subscription process easy
The simpler the subscription process, the easier it is for you to get people to register to your list. Too many details can make people shy away from subscribing to your mailing service. The name and email address are enough. Try and confine the registration process to a single box so that prospective subscribers will not have to open series of pages to complete the subscription.
2. List the benefits of subscribing to your mailing service
People do not easily give out their email and personal information, unless they have something to gain. Be confident in stating the benefits, using clear and simple language on the registration form. The benefit can be a discount, free ebooks and so on.
3. Scout for members through social media
Millions of people show up on social media daily, making it the best platform to scout for subscribers. Use the general social media - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on to get more emails. Do not be afraid of asking your subscribers to subscribe to email services but keep point number 2 in mind.
4. Emails should be mobile friendly
The number of people who read their emails using mobile devices has risen far beyond the 50% in 2013. In 2017, more than 70% of consumers access their emails using their phones, hence the need for proper email rendering on mobile devices. It is paramount to have a mobile strategy, as well as making your emails mobile-friendly. Be sure to test your email campaign against the major mobile devices before finalizing.
5. Unsubscribing should be kept simple
A few email marketers believe that by hiding the UnSubscribe Button, they will be able to keep their customers on the list. However, it is better to have your customers unsubscribed than have them put you on their spam list, or ruin your business image.
6. A welcome email must be sent to subscribers
Once a customer has subscribed to your mailing list, it is smart to send them a welcome email informing them of the good content they can expect to follow. New subscribers could get exclusive offers. This is a better way of keeping your subscribers on your list than trying point number 5.
7. Have a publishing schedule
Newsletters should be regular enough to remind your customers of your commitment, but should not be so frequent as to constitute a nuisance. Customers will easily forget about you when you allow several months to run without sending a message. There is a high likelihood they will either delete the next email, or mark it as spam.
8. Avoid running into spam trouble
Email marketers who are ignorant of the CAN-SPAM Act run into inevitable problems with high legal penalties. Simply put, when you collect emails for a particular purpose – which must be stated when signing up – you have no right to send the subscriber a message that is unrelated to the purpose of their subscription.
9. Use ALT tags for images
Images are not always compatible with mobile devices. As more than half of emails are read using mobile devices, it is an good idea to use ALT tags on your images in case they turn off the pictures. It is estimated that more than 400 messages hit the inbox of an average person per month. Using images can help your company and brand stand out.
10. Messages should be targeted and personalized
Avoid generalized messages as much as possible because they can be counterproductive. Your mailing list should be segmented, and emails must be sent in regards to the preference of the subscriber. Email marketers should put themselves in the shoes of their subscribers and imagine how they might feel if they receive messages that do not mesh well with their interests.
Considerable attention should be paid to the messages sent to subscribers. Messages that are too long tend to be ignored, while messages that are too short may look like spam. The essence of the email must be well captured in the subject line.
11. Choose your ESP wisely
Small businesses should not choose their email service providers in haste (ESP). The credibility and the tools used by the ESP must be thoroughly evaluated. Some of the criteria to look out for in picking an ESP are highlighted below:
Preference should be given to an ESP that helps you to segment your list in detail.
There are two types of mailing format, the HTML format or the plain text format. Choose an ESP that offers your preferred messaging format.
A/B testing allows you to test one parameter while keeping the other ones constant. An ESP that allows you to carry out A/B testing in the most convenient way should be given high consideration.
The ESP you settle for should have explicit knowledge of the CAN-SPAM Act and how to avoid violating this act, thus helping you stay away from penalties.
Your email marketing ESP choice should have a detailed dashboard which tracks the email marketing statistics and performance of your campaign.
A good ESP should be able to provide you with tools that can help you schedule your message according to the time zone and recipient’s preference.
Choose the ESP that is most economical and offers the most incentives.
When direct mail and email marketing are placed side-by-side, it has been found that the latter has a better Return On Investment (ROI). Many companies have reported ROI above $76.
Are you still stuck in the quicksand of doubt? Share them with us in the comments section below, and we will be glad to help clear your mind.