If your small business is not yet using email marketing to reach out and stay in touch with your customers, then it’s time to start. Why? Because your audience engages with email marketing, and it’s an inexpensive way to nurture your leads.
Respondents in a 2015 survey conducted by Econsultancy attributed about 20% of their sales to email marketing, while they spend less than 10% of their marketing budgets on email campaigns. The respondents rated email marketing the second most effective channel for return on marketing investment (SEO was No. 1).
Small businesses can get ahead of their competitors with a well-planned, well-executed email marketing campaign. Choosing the right email marketing solution for your business is an important decision. My list of “Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts” follows. Add your own do’s and don’ts in the comment section and let’s keep talking!
Email Marketing Tips
Below are some great email marketing tips that will help you get started on your future email success. Follow this email marketing list of do’s and don’ts and we will guarantee you that you will reach more customers, bring in more leads and gain the lead on your competition.
Email Marketing Do’s
Segment Your Audience
The absolute No. 1 “Do” is to know your audience. Your buyers have different motivations, needs and wants, so why would you send the same message to everyone? A good email customer relationship management tool will segment your audience so you can tailor messages to fit each group’s thinking.
Write Irresistible Subject Lines
A great email subject line is the key to getting your email opened. My favorite types of subject lines:
- Ask questions
- Promise benefits
- Use “How-to” lines
- Speak directly to readers
The best subject lines are descriptive, short, and give your audience a reason to read on. If you send an email campaign to a specific area, try to use localization and mention the city in the subject line. Can you personalize your email with the recipient’s name? Experian estimates that personalized emails have nearly 30% percent higher open rates and 40%-plus higher click-through rates than non-personalized mailings.
Use High Quality Email Lists
High quality emails almost always show good open rates. You can build these lists in house, just through working your customer database and incoming leads. But first get the person’s permission to email them. Allow recipients to manage email frequency. Also, communicate up front what type of emails (coupons, weekly specials, new products or strictly industry news, and so on) you will send, so your audience knows what to expect.
Make Your Subscribers Feel Special
Make your subscribers feel like they’ve opted into something exclusive and exciting. I like to do this early and often for our HostPapa subscribers. Doing so is a great way to get your audience to not only open your email, but also engage with your brand. Personalize your emails and go above and beyond to do something special for your email subscribers that offers value and isn’t available elsewhere.
Include a Clear Call to Action
What do you want your readers to do? Make sure your call to action is loud and clear and, even better, provides value to readers. Give them a clear and obvious path to sign up for an event, download a coupon or special offer, or visit your website. Use links and buttons to get readers to act.
Email Marketing Don’ts
Don’t Send Emails Without Defining Your Audience
Your product or service may be ready for promotion. But be forewarned; make sure your email’s copy, images and calls to action are directly attuned to what you want the reader to do. Otherwise, you risk having your email ignored, deleted, or even worse, your customer will unsubscribe.
Don’t Use Sales-y Language in Emails
Avoid pushy words and phrases like “buy today,” “open immediately,” or “free offer.” These phrases are not only a turn off for your subscriber, but spam filters will likely redirect them to junk folders in your recipients’ inboxes. It’s a good idea to avoid adding too many colors, formatting in all caps, or using extra exclamation points!!!
Additional words to avoid in your subject line include, “Help,” “Reminder,” and “Percent off.” While they are unlikely to trigger a spam filter, they often lead to lower open rates. This is different from a single clear call to action in the content of these same emails.
Don’t Use Purchased, Rented, or Third-Party Email Lists
Some email companies sell email addresses to use on a one-time basis for a fee. I recommend staying away from these third-party email list brokers. Most of the emails are not specifically targeted, and many email service providers (ESP) prohibit sending email campaigns to purchased lists. Most ESPs limit their email campaigns to permission-based lists. These lists are often sold to multiple organizations, so you might not be the only business to send messages to the recipients.
Don’t Send Email Unless It Provides Value
Does your email contain valuable advice/offers/insights? If not, and you’re just meeting a schedule of email sends, reconsider what it is you’re trying to accomplish with the email. Consider whom you are trying to appeal to and what you can do to provide value to them through your email. Can your email give something away free? Would your reader be interested in a special offer, coupon, or downloadable resource? Figure these types of things out in advance with the use of an email calendar.
Don’t Send Email Without a Clear Call to Action
How can you expect a user to convert if you don’t tell them what to do? Your click-through rates will be higher when you entice recipients with something of value.
I hope you will keep these email marketing best practices in mind. If you do, you will have a solid foundation to begin your email marketing efforts. Bookmark us and return to HostPapa.com often to continue to learn more.