Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Email marketing has gotten something of a bad reputation in recent times, with many companies and people using it as a way to fire off unsolicited emails to people who have no connection or have never used any of their products. This is not how to do email marketing!
Using emails as part of your overall digital marketing strategy can produce some excellent results if done correctly, in this short guide I’ll be going over a few effective email marketing tips which any small business can do themselves, and which can bring in results if done correctly.
Choosing Your Platform
While it is possible to do email marketing without the use of any platforms, it really is much more effective if you leverage one of the following solutions to do much of the heavy lifting. Here are just a few of the most popular email marketing platforms available.
MailChimp is one of, if not the most well-known platform and has approximately 14 million users worldwide.
MailChimp has various pricing tiers including a free plan which allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month and have up to 2,000 contacts.
Their Growing Business plan, which starts at $10 per month is based on the number of emails and contacts over the free amount. They also offer a pay as you go plan, which is for businesses who send infrequently but use more than the free plan.
If you’re a WordPress user, MailChimp also has numerous official and unofficial plugins which can be integrated with your site.
Constant Contact is known for it easy to use interface and beginner-friendly features. Unlike MailChimp, they do not offer a free version, however, they do offer a 60-day free trial, and their pricing structure starts at just $20 per month.
The team at Constant Contact are also well known for their excellent customer service, including online chat and even training videos.
Like MailChimp, you can also download an easy to set up WordPress plugin for easily integrating with your site.
Drip is a popular solution, specifically aimed at e-commerce sites, which provides users with an easy to use, beginner friendly platform for marketers to send emails.
Integrations are available for WordPress & WooCommerce, allowing you to easily build your email lists from your website.
They offer a free account which allows you to have up to 100 subscribers, with their paid plans starting from $41 per month.
Build Your Email List
To successfully build your email list you will need to provide potential users with a way to sign up for this. Here are a few examples of ways which you can do this.
On Your Own Website
What better way to collect users email addresses than through your own website? If they’re already on your website then they are likely to already be in engaged with what you do, whether you sell items online, produce content or even if you’re a service business.
The people who sign up through your website already know what it is you offer, which in turn means they’re more likely to engage with the emails which you send to them.
Most email marketing platforms provide easy to integrate forms which you can add to your website code, providing an easy way for people to sign-up. If you’re using a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento or Shopify, then you can install plugins/modules to integrate your subscriber forms.
Other ways to include subscriber forms on your website can be as pop-ups & banners in your header, sidebars or footer.
Facebook now has an option to include a signup option directly on your Facebook page. To do this you must first have a Facebook Business page. The following instructions are for setting up MailChimp with your FB page.
- Log in to your MailChimp account and head over to the ‘Integrations’ section. Once there you will need to click the Facebook ‘Log In’ button then allow Mailchimp to connect to your page.
- Once this has been done successfully, you will then have further options, such as FB page to use, your subscribers list to use, headings and the form style. Edit these so that you have selected the correct page and pointed it to the correct list.
- On your Facebook page, you will now see an extra tab on the left-hand menu (on desktop) called ‘Email Signup’. If you click that, you will then see your subscription form which users can sign up with.
Other integrations which can be used in MailChimp include Twitter, for automatically Tweeting your email campaigns to your followers, plus a number of others for CRM’s, analytics, surveys & events.
You can also add a ‘Sign Up’ button directly to your Facebook page with a link to your website where users can subscribe to your email list.
Offer Free Stuff
One killer way to get people to sign up for your email campaigns is to provide excellent value and give them a genuinely good reason to give you their email address.
Offering an incentive is a great way to rapidly increase your list, and can include free eBooks if you produce content, discount codes or free delivery if you’re an online store.
If you produce gated or paid-for content on your website, then you can offer ‘Bonus’ content to encourage people to sign up and ultimately to invest in viewing your valuable content.
Encourage Subscribers to Pass On Your Emails
If you’re producing superb email campaigns which your readers love, then make sure you provide a way and encourage them to forward your emails to their friends, family and colleagues who would be interested in your content.
Provide a simple subscribe link in the footer of your email so that anyone forwarded your email can easily opt-in to your campaigns.
Use your social media accounts to promote a free giveaway or competition, then provide them with a link to subscribe to one of your lists, and maybe even gain a few extra social media followers in the process.
Plan Your Campaigns
While this should really go without saying, it’s vital that you plan your campaigns in advance, whether that’s monthly or weekly campaign or even for seasonal events such as Valentines Day or Christmas, proper planning allows you to prepare, build and test your emails before you send them.
Another important reason for planning your email schedule and sticking to it is to ensure that you don’t overwhelm your subscribers.
Doing so will lead to lots of unsubscribers and unopened emails, meaning a waste of time and money.
Aim to Provide Value with EVERY Campaign
Now that you have your platform in place, started to build your email list, and planned your email schedule, you now need to decide what you’re actually going to send.
What you will want to aim for is to provide value in every single one of your campaigns, whether that’s excellent content within the email, links to valuable content on your website, special offers or valuable resources that the user will find interesting and interact with.
If you’ve planned your emails in advance, then this shouldn’t be a problem, but make sure that you can actually provide something useful for the reader. If not, then you may be sending too many emails and should consider cutting back until you can provide the value.
Build Your Email
Next, we will look at actually putting your campaign together and creating an email that people will hopefully open and interact with.
Your subject line can be the deciding factor in whether your email gets opened or ends up in the trash folder. You should try and make this stand out as much as possible, with a clear indication of what the email is about. So if you’re offering a free e-book or something similar, tell them that in the subject line.
Try and personalise your email where possible. If you’re collecting peoples names as well as their emails then you can include that in your campaign.
Most email marketing platforms provide the option to insert a name field when building an email so that you can start off your email with ‘Hi John’ or something along those lines.
Personalised emails often get higher click-through rates and open rates (when used in the subject line).
Make It Look Great
Within reason, you should be looking to add images, logos, and use a good blend of colours and fonts to really make your email stand out to readers and encourage them to visit your site, store or dive into your blog content.
Videos are also becoming more popular than ever before across website and emails. They are estimated to provide between a 200-300% increase in click-through rates, but as with the rest of your email, any videos used should provide the user with value.
When writing the copy for your campaign, you should ensure that it is straight to the point. It shouldn’t be a 1000 word essay, it should be clear, concise and with an obvious call to actions.
What you’re wanting your readers to do is read your email, click through to your site and either read your content on your site, make a purchase or contact you for a service.
If your email is overly long, boring, full of waffle or has no clear links or call to actions, then you’re essentially putting up a rather large barrier on what you’re trying to achieve, and it’s likely that the reader will close or subscribe from the email long before they get to your site.
Legal Information & Important Bits
You should definitely include all your legal information in the footer of your email, especially with the new GDPR rules which came in to place earlier this year.
You also need to by law include a clear and obvious ‘Unsubscribe’ button, so that the user can easily subscribe if they no longer want to receive your emails.
Track Your Campaign
Once your campaign is sent and the business (hopefully) comes flooding in, you should be sure to keep your eye on the metrics from your campaign.
These are a really good way to see how your campaign is done/doing and provides you with valuable insights into what worked or didn’t.
Most of the platforms mentioned earlier provide built-in analytics tools which can tell you how many people opened your email, anyone who unsubscribed, and what links were clicked on and by how many people.
Another excellent tool for tracking your campaigns is Google Analytics, this can help you see what the visitors from your email campaigns do when they reach your site, and also whether they made any purchases if you’re an online store.
Things To Avoid
As mentioned previously, email marketing has something of a bad name at times due to spammers abusing the platforms and sending unsolicited emails, one thing which I would 100% avoid is any service offering to provide you lists/contacts for money.
The whole purpose of email marketing is to grow your list by providing value to your customers, purchasing a list of emails is likely to do your brand more harm than good if you’re sending emails to these people who haven’t signed up, or even heard of your company.
This practice can also land you in a considerable amount of trouble with the authorities in most countries, with the UK fining people who breach the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 up to £5000.
In conclusion, email marketing really can be a great way to grow your business as part of your overall marketing strategy. If you follow our simple tips and be sure to add value at every opportunity to your customers, then you can make your emails as successful as you want them to be.
Looking for someone to manage your email marketing or overall digital marketing? At Wolfberry Media, we provide a range of digital solutions such as web design, print design, and local SEO for small business owners across Central Scotland.
Give us a call on 07914798549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your next project.