If you’re a small business owner, email marketing can help you foster better customer relationships and build a stronger brand to help you keep growing.
Small business owners often assume that small business email marketing isn’t effective — and that email is just for the big guys. But they’re wrong!
Email marketing is frequently cited as the most lucrative form of online marketing boasting an ROI of 4400%. And the good news is that this massive ROI isn’t just reserved for the big players. Even smaller organizations on small budgets can profit substantially from email marketing!
If you are afraid that you don't have a big enough list to get started, just remember every brand started with just a handful of contacts and worked their way up. Now is the time to get started. One contact or a hundred, just start.
Here are a few tips for any small business to get better at email marketing to increase engagement and click through.
1) Design emails that reinforce your brand consistently
Brand consistency through all communication and experiences is so important to building an image and familiarity with your audience. This absolutely includes email.
Whether you are taking a simple approach so that the email looks authentic from the business owner or a trusted person in the company, or you are sharing a more design-forward email, you need to think about how the tone, voice, message, fonts, colors, and imagery tell a consistent brand story. This will also help the recipient recognize you and start to build more trust with you and your communications.
2) Create emails for any device using responsive design
Over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices now. Make sure you're designing emails with this in mind. The last thing you want is your subscriber to have difficulties reading your emails. All it takes these days is one negative experience for a consumer to lose trust in a brand.
If you are using Mailchimp, which is our email campaign software of choice, they have a mobile view to ensure your content works on a mobile device. Always send a test preview email to yourself to ensure your content looks great across devices.
3) Share content that is informative and helpful to your audience
Before you can decide what content could be the most helpful to your audience relevant to your brand, you have to deeply understand your audience. You can do this by simply asking. Ask by way of conversations, surveys, audits to learn as much as possible about what your audience needs, wants and cares about.
Once you know what your audience is looking for, start by creating blog posts on your website that you can share in the emails and direct recipients to click through to your site to read more. This will help drive web traffic and improve search results. You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to find the most searched and content by topic.
4) Don't forget about the preview text
This often gets overlooked. The preview text generally appears to the side or underneath your subject line in the recipient's inbox. The verbiage here is an important element that will help incite a person to open the email. If you forget to set the preview text of your email campaigns, the email provider will just show the beginning of the text from your actual email, which often is a line that isn't enticing enough to serve as a preview. Make sure you check and optimize this before you hit send.
5) Ask subscribers to add you to their known list of email contacts in your welcome email
When new subscribers sign up for your newsletter or email list, include text in your welcome email that asks them to add your sending email address to their "white list." This will help improve your deliverability for contacts who agree to add you so their email service that they want to see your emails, which will prevent them from being mistaken as spam.
Also, while we are talking welcome email, use the welcome as an opportunity to make the subscriber feel extra, well, welcome. Seems obvious but I can't tell you how many emails I have received upon subscribing that were the basic, "thanks for subscribing." Yikes, this is all I get for giving you my email address? Instead, give away a free download/ white paper, useful tips, the inside scoop. Something that will set the stage for what's to come through these emails and keep the subscriber excited and wanting more.
6) Use statistics to determine the best time to send your emails
This may come as a surprise but according to Experian's email marketing benchmark study across all industries, email campaign recipients are most active late at night. Unique open rates averaged 22% percent from 8p to 12a and 17% from 12a to 4a.
Think about it, the email inbox is full and noisy throughout the day. Things start to slow down after 5p but people like to check their email before bed and first thing when they wake up. If you can provide an email filled with value, knowledge, and helpful information these night owls and early risers will see your email as a welcomed way to jump-start ideas and kick their morning off right.
The best days to send emails are Thursdays according a Mailchimp study. But this is only by a small margin.
"Note that no single day wins hands-down. This is what we should expect when studying the data of billions of humans’ inbox activity. Now, while the weekend is clearly less preferable compared to the work week, that does shift slightly depending on what type of content you send (since that affects the subscribers you have)."
7) Use the data insights to optimize your emails
Most email marketing tools provide you with data insights so that you can track opens, click-throughs, and what pieces of content have the highest engagement. Use these insights to continue to optimize your approach. This will start to show you when the best time of day is to reach your audience, or what pieces of content attract them to click through to your site.
Think of your email campaigns as a way to earn trust by giving useful content versus solely pushing the brand or a promotion. Those things can be in the backdrop as the recipient continues to form a trusted connection with your brand.