Email marketing is a great channel for small businesses. It can help you expand your customer base, increase brand awareness, build trust, showcase your expertise and ultimately increase revenue.
However, it can also look very daunting. “Where do I start?” is a question I often hear from novice email marketers. Other common problems with SMB email marketing include concerns about pricing and difficulty finding a solution to meet the marketing needs of small business owners.
But don’t worry. We’ve put together a small business email marketing 101 to help you understand what you need to do to start getting results.
Here 7 small business email marketing strategies to try
The big boys aren’t the only ones who use email marketing. Here are some email marketing ideas for small businesses that will make your campaigns stand out.
1. Set email marketing goals
Each company’s email marketing objectives will be different. Your objectives will be influenced by factors such as the size of your company, your budget, your email marketing experience, your sector, how you prioritize your marketing channels, and whether you are just starting out or have 20 years of experience.
If you’ve just launched your product or service, for example, your goal might be to raise awareness and gain as many sign-ups as possible. If you’re an experienced email marketer with a well-known company, your goal can be to increase your return on investment.
Prior to doing anything else, you must first set goals, as this will influence all subsequent actions. It’s also the only method to genuinely measure success, which we’ll go over in further depth later.
How to set email marketing goals:
Your objectives can be completely quantitative and based on figures, or they can be more generic, such as “increase brand awareness.” Here’s how to set your objectives.
Collaborate: Seek input from various departments or employees to determine what they hope to achieve from your email marketing approach.
Make your goals SMART: They should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
2. Define your audience
We have some bad news for you: not everyone will be interested in buying what you’re selling. That is why you should avoid attempting to kill every single living human and animal on the world. Instead, focus on the traits of the people you want to reach out to.
This requires more effort in the short term but yields stronger engagement and a higher return on investment in the long run.
How to define your audience
It will be easier to give relevant, tailored information if you properly define your audience. Although your email list is smaller, the people who are on it are more inclined to support your company. Here’s how to figure out who your target market is.
Make a buyer persona: A buyer persona is an in-depth look at the people you’re trying to reach. It includes information such as which social media channels people use, which news sites they read, and demographic information such as age, location, job title, and spending power. This can assist you in determining which marketing approaches and channels will produce the best outcomes.
Create a mission statement: You started your company for a cause, most likely to solve a problem or improve people’s lives. Consider this objective and the people who will benefit from your product, and then utilize this to identify your target audience.
3. Build your email list
When you first start out with email marketing, your email list can include your mother, past coworkers, and your dog. That’s fine as long as they’ve all accepted to receive your emails and aren’t going to report you for spamming them. It takes time to build your email list, but quality always trumps quantity.
This is where all of your hard work from the previous phase begins to pay off. When it comes to copy, design, and promotion channels, you need to be sure you’re speaking the same language as your target audience if you want to grow your email list.
If your target audience spends a lot of time on Instagram, for example, advertise your email newsletter on this platform to get the most out of it.
How to build your email list:
You’ll also need to create sign-up forms to collect consumer information, and you’ll want to make sure they’re optimized so that as many people as possible fill them out.
Incentivize sign-ups: Getting people to give you their information is difficult, but if you reward them with a discount code, early access to a sale, or free access to gated material, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Optimize your call-to-actions: Your call-to-actions (CTAs) may make or break a sign-up form, so make sure they’re well-written and placed. Make your form stand out with clever language, but make sure it’s clear what the button will accomplish.
Custom fields can be added to your sign-up forms in the following ways: Make sure you’re gathering data that will help you target and customise content more effectively. This information will vary every company, but it may include specifics such as shoe size, favorite color, and desired denim style.
Obtain permission wherever possible: This implies that people must expressly request to get your newsletter. Don’t add their email address to your list just because they downloaded an e-book or won a contest, and always ask them to confirm their subscription via email. It’s not only a poor way to serve your consumers if you don’t, but it’s also illegal.
4. Create and design your emails
There is some discussion over the value of email design and whether it is worthwhile to devote time to ensuring that every component of your message looks fantastic.
ConvertKit, for example, has a minimal email editor on purpose since it feels that the content and intent of the message are the most important factors.
Whatever school you attend, it’s still vital to consider what goes into each email you send.
This involves ensuring that the voice, tone, and style are consistent with the brand, determining the aim of each email, and ensuring that there are no typos, broken links, or other problems.
How to create and design your emails:
Make your emails as enjoyable to read as possible if you want to succeed. That is why you should read the suggestions below to learn how to produce and design the best emails possible.
Use pre-built templates: If you’re using email marketing software (more on that later), you can use the built-in templates for different types of emails and industries.
Optimize the subject line: When the subject line appears to be such a little feature in comparison to the whole email design and content, it’s easy to overlook it. But it’s the first thing people see when they open their inbox, so it’s critical to get it right.
Test your email: sending out emails that contain faults or technical issues is a simple mistake to avoid. Make sure to send test emails to other members of your team so that you have more eyes to identify any errors.
Make all emails mobile-friendly: You can’t predict which device your customers will use to view your email, so make sure it’s set up to receive responses from all of them. This indicates that the email will be shown in the best possible way for the device.
Get some ideas: To gain ideas and learn what works for small firms, look at email marketing samples from industry leaders and competitors.
5. Segment your customers
Batch and blast is a method that some marketers (who haven’t read The Blueprint) still use. This entails sending each and every email you write to everyone on your mailing list. That is not something you should do. It’s unpopular, and we’re confident you wouldn’t like it either.
Customers with similar characteristics can be grouped together in segments, allowing you to send them more relevant, targeted communications. You may use the work you put in to create your buyer personas, which will be different for each organization.
If you want to promote your ski equipment, for example, you can build a part for someone who lives in a snowy area. You might also segment by age if you want to sell more dentures. Past purchase history and online product views are two further ways to classify customers.
How to segment your customers:
To create the most effective segments, you must first understand your clients. To do so, you’ll need to tap into the power of your data.
Gather as much information as possible: The more information you have about your consumers, the more precise your segmentation will be. Take advantage of any opportunity to gather information about your clients, whether through social media or a survey.
Organize your data: Gathering data is only the beginning; if you want to obtain a complete picture of your customers, you’ll need to bring it all together in one place.
6. Create autoresponders
An email marketer’s best buddy is automation. By automating mundane tasks, you can focus on areas where you can contribute actual value, such as data analysis and creating stunning designs.
You probably don’t have a lot of resources as a small firm, and autoresponders can help you stretch your limited budget and resources farther.
Drip campaigns or automations, often known as autoresponders, send out a series of emails that are automatically triggered based on consumer activity.
If a consumer joins your email list, for example, they will receive the first email in your welcome marketing series immediately. They’ll get an email with the best sellers if they don’t take action within the next three days. If they still haven’t responded after three days, they’ll be given a 10% discount voucher.
How to create autoresponders:
Customers can be nurtured along the sales funnel via autoresponders, which can encourage them to make a purchase and increase loyalty. Here’s what you’ll need to do to get there.
Choose your campaign kinds: Different autoresponders are suitable for different sorts of organizations. E-commerce enterprises, for example, would wish to create cart abandonment emails, while a fitness center might want to develop a membership sign-up autoresponder.
Use templates: Creating a complete email series from scratch can be intimidating, especially if you’re a small firm with limited experience. Autoresponder templates are included with some email marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, so you just have to create one.
7. Track results
Returning to step one, we can’t stress enough how critical it is to track the results of your campaigns to see if you’re on course to accomplish your objectives. Implement a system that keeps track of the key indicators of success. This could be in the form of opens and clicks, or it could be in the form of social media sign-ups.
Remember that not every email you send will be a success; this is just another chance to figure out what went wrong and how you can improve. Emails that are successful can assist you figure out what you should do more of.
How to use track results:
Data, data, and more data. Here’s how to gather the information you need to boost the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
A/B test everything: To better understand what went wrong or right, you should compare and contrast several versions of the same material. This could be in the form of different subject lines, different content block placements, or different designs.
Always keep an eye on things: what works now might not work in three months. This implies you should be tracking your progress and searching for methods to improve all of the time.
The best email marketing software to manage your small business campaigns
There are thousands of email marketing options on the market, making the process of choosing one difficult.
As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the top email services for small businesses.
1. Zoho Campaigns
Zoho Campaigns’ pricing point makes it a wonderful alternative for small businesses, in addition to being simple to use and quick to get up and running.
The pricing screen for Zoho Campaigns shows three different pricing categories.
There are two subscription pricing choices available. The Email plan costs $3 per month and allows you to send 500 emails per month to 750 subscribers, while the Subscriber plan costs $5 per month and allows you to send unlimited emails to up to 500 subscribers. A pay-as-you-go option, which starts at $6 for 250 emails, is also available.
Mailchimp is a great choice for small firms who don’t have a lot of time and want to get up and running as soon as possible with the least amount of help.
It gives you specific in-app guidance based on your objectives, company size, and previous email marketing experience. Mailchimp also goes over all of the features in detail and gives guidance on email marketing best practices.
3. Benchmark Email
Benchmark Email, like Mailchimp, is known for its in-app coaching and assistance. It uses in-app popup messages to highlight features that you might not be aware of. This is especially useful for those who have never used email marketing tools.
A popup message from Benchmark Email alerts you to the new feature.
Benchmark Email also offers direct marketing advice, with one line explanations as you use them and suggestions on how to improve your performance.
Email marketing services might sometimes offer an excessive number of functions. Please consider what I’m saying. The more features a solution has, and the more difficult these elements are to utilize, the longer it takes to design campaigns and navigate it. As a result, a simple solution that speaks in layman’s terms is a suitable choice. VerticalResponse is the answer.
VerticalResponse has a straightforward navigation system, so you can quickly access all of the functions. It also comes with a video tour that walks you through the many features.
Some email marketing software companies strive to keep their support choices hidden until you pay a higher price.
That isn’t the case with Mailigen, which actively encourages users to contact it. At the bottom of the main dashboard, Mailigen gives names, email addresses, and phone numbers for customer service agents.
At the bottom of the main dashboard, Mailigen shows the contact information for customer care agents.
The purple Help button on Mailigen is always available and allows you to search the knowledge base or use the live chat feature. With customer service agents in New York, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, and Hong Kong, Mailigen also provides localized support.
No one-size-fits-all approach
This book was created to provide you with the tools and strategies you’ll need to get started with your small company email marketing campaigns. However, it is now up to you to customize these techniques to match your company’s needs.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so you must figure out what works best for your business, which you can only accomplish by experimenting, testing, analyzing data, and making adjustments based on that knowledge.