Ultimate guide to small business marketing

Email

Email has been a proven outlet for marketers to reach customers for many years. With a large reach (who doesn’t have an email account these days?) and relatively low costs, it is an effective way to get your message out to your customer. Things that you’ll want to consider when crafting your email marketing campaign:

Building a subscriber base

In order to run a successful email marketing campaign, you’ll need to build a base of subscribers. In order to do so, you should collect customer emails at every possible opportunity. Whether it is requesting emails from customers at the point of purchase in-store or online, always be collecting emails to expand your subscriber base. Utilize your website to collect emails and encourage subscriptions by prompting customers to enter their email and subscribe. Offering some type of incentive after signing up can make sense in some instances. Once you have an established base of subscribers, focus on consistently delivering useful content to ensure your customers stay subscribed.

Newsletter management apps

Managing your email campaign can be a cumbersome and time-consuming task. Luckily there are many applications that are available for small businesses to employ to take care of all of the details. A few of the benefits of utilizing a newsletter management application are: 1) access to a library of email templates available for use, 2) detailed analytics information, and 3) the ability to segment audiences based on behavior. Some of the most popular newsletter management applications today are MailChimp and Constant Contact.

How to increase open rates

In order for your email campaign to be effective, you’ll want to utilize the below strategies to increase the number of customers actually opening your email message.

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Craft an effective subject line.

Step one of increasing open rates is to craft an effective subject line. Your subject line is essentially your first impression, and you want to make it strong. Consider your audience and select a subject line that will catch your customer’s eye among all of the countless other emails in their inbox.

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Use the right content.

Send the right content to the right audience. Include content that your customers are going to find interesting and want to read. Your content should be relevant to your subject line.

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Don’t overdo it.

Consider how often you’re sending emails. Too often? Not often enough? We’ve all been made a victim of those businesses who send way too many emails. Harassing a customer is an easy way to earn yourself an unsubscribe. On the other hand, if you’re not communicating with your customers enough, they’re likely going to forget about you and be less likely recognize your name as it comes through their inbox.

How to improve click-through rates

In order for your email campaign to be effective, you’ll want to utilize the below strategies to increase the number of customers that click your email links.

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Content. Content. Content.

To put it simply, the easiest way to improve your click-through rates is to provide meaningful, useful content. A strong understanding of your target audience will allow you to choose the most effective content to include.

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Choose a proper subject line.

Consider the verbiage of your links. Similar to the subject line of the email, you want this to be compelling enough for a customer to want to click it. Calls to action tend to be effective, but avoid using the ‘click here’ verbiage.

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Use multiple links.

Include more than one link to a page in the email to increase the likelihood of that link being clicked.

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Metrics that matter.

Open rates and click rates will be two of the most important metrics to track with an email marketing campaign. Email marketing applications offer advanced analytics reporting for your campaigns to help you connect sales directly back to your campaigns.

Email

  • Create a plan for collecting customer emails to build your subscriber list
  • Select an email newsletter management application
  • Put together a plan for frequency and timing of email marketing messages
  • Determine a KPI to measure performance; e.g., open rate or click-through rate
  • Implement A/B testing to see which types of subject lines are most effective
  • Include links and a call to action in each email
  • Review analytics and make adjustments to improve KPIs