Category: E-mail Strategies

Tips for getting the most out of e-mail based communication efforts.

How to Make Email Marketing Work for You

The trend is unmistakable. My clients who use email as part of their digital marketing strategy have more success connecting with their target audience.

Every business needs to have an active email marketing strategy. Here are the essentials.

Use an Email Marketing Tool

Don’t try to do your email marketing campaigns from a regular email account. You will be flagged as a possible spammer by either your email service provider or one or more of the servers that receive your messages. That will shut you down from sending any emails, until you can find the server that has marked your account and get the block removed.

Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate automated phone systems knows you never want to get on the bad side of a machine. They are inflexible. Unless you do things their way, you rarely win.

Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp (my favorite), Constant Contact or Robly. These tools will make sure you don’t get sent to spammer jail. They take care of being nice to all those servers out there so your messages always get to the intended recipients.

Think Beyond Newsletter

When I talk to business owners about email marketing, most think of the email newsletter. They don’t want to write a monthly newsletter and I don’t blame them.

Today’s users don’t want your newsletter. They want relevant, timely information. They generally want an email that has one topic and one call to action.

Consider this content:

  • Sale or promotion
  • New product or service
  • Helpful tips or best practices
  • Changes in your business in terms of offerings, hours, locations, etc.

Have an Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t just start sending emails. Have a strategy that aligns with your marketing goals and the other elements of your digital marketing. The strategy will help you keep your content on point and all of your efforts aligned.

Be sure to consider:

  • How people will be added to the email list(s)
  • Branding and template for consistency
  • Editorial calendar that targets subscriber needs and interests, as well as your goal
  • Data from emails sent that indicate what works (do more of that) and what doesn’t (don’t do that)

Define Your Voice

Email is a 1-1 communication. You may send 100 or more messages at a time, but each one goes to one person and lands in one inbox. Make sure you provide content that leverages the 1-1 connection you are making.

The best email marketers are able to define a tone and voice and keep it consistent across messages. Users are able to “get to know” the business, and as a result, develop a sense of connection.

Email Marketing: Winning in the Inbox

Did you know that the average person gets more than 120 emails each day? That creates a lot of clutter in the inbox. How do you get your email marketing message to be one that is opened and read?

Structure Your Email Message Well

Paying attention to the details will help your messages win attention. It is fine to use a tool like MailChimp or Constant Contact to manage your list and send your messages. You need to go beyond the defaults to be effective.

  • Sender: Set up your sender field to be something your recipients will recognize. Use your name if that’s what they know best. Use the business name if that’s what they connect to.
  • Subject line: Speak to a need or interest of the reader. Make them want to open the message. Be specific and compelling!
  • Summary text to start: Have text right up top that lets the recipient know what your message is all about.
  • Preview text: Write preview text that identifies the value of your message for the recipient. Don’t repeat the content of the subject or summary text.

Offer Content that Matters

Getting the details right will set you up to be read. Now your content has to deliver!

Make sure your message is relevant to the recipient. Don’t send the message if it isn’t. You may need to segment your email list to make sure you send only to those people who will find it highly relevant. Sending to fewer people who care is much better than a blast to all.

Tell a story in your message. Stories capture interest and are easy to read. Make sure your story is easy to read online with short paragraphs, short sentences, and simple sentence structures. People who scan rather than read every word should get the gist.

Experts recommend that you focus each email marketing message on a single topic. People who open a message will give you 1-2 minutes, so keep it short!

Email Marketing Works for Small Businesses

There are over 4 billion email users worldwide. That makes email an even larger audience for marketing and communication efforts than the largest social channels. Email marketing is valuable for any small business.

Data from Statista shows that email is the most common online activity in the US. Hubspot reports that email generates $42 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective online marketing options available.

Email marketing is an essential component of any strong marketing strategy. This form of marketing gives businesses the chance to convert their audience members into long-time connections and provide value in a convenient way.

Email Marketing Strategy for Small Business

Successful email marketing is about building relationships. Once you’ve gained a spot in someone’s inbox, you’ll be able to communicate with them on a far more personal and individual level than might otherwise be the case. Email is a channel for one-on-one communication, and the best email marketing strategies take advantage of that.

For long-term success, it’s not just about blasting out content and waiting for sales to begin. It’s a balanced process of gaining subscribers, communicating, analyzing and adjusting.

There are many different formats and opportunities to use email marketing. Here are a few tried-and-true tactics:

  • Greet new subscribers with welcome emails. The most important email a brand can send is a welcome email. It’s typically the first email (or series of emails) that a new subscriber receives and often gets the highest open rates for businesses.
  • Keep people in the loop with newsletters. These regular emails provide an opportunity to share your news about your company, your product, or your industry. It’s also a great format to highlight your latest customer reviews and interesting insights.
  • Incentivize sales through special offers. Email marketing is a fast and effective way to communicate sales and promotions. Or send your best customers a special discount to thank them for their loyalty.

Opening an email is more of a personal commitment than scrolling past an ad on a social media timeline. Someone who clicks on your email is immediately committed to and engaged with your content.

Through email marketing, you can speak directly to each individual customer. You can send them the content, offers, and updates most relevant to them.

Getting Started

There are several tools built to help businesses get the most from email marketing. You will want to research the features, options, and cost of each. Many businesses start with MailChimp because it has an “always free” option until your list grows to a certain size. This can be a low cost way to experiment with email marketing. Lists are easily exportable if/when another tool becomes preferred.

After selecting an email marketing tool, the next step is to build a list. You will want to gather the email addresses of customers and prospects. You may have a CRM or other system that you can export contacts from.

Always add a subscriber form to your website, and make it part of your process to ask new contacts for permission to add them to your email list.

Add parameters to each contact that will allow you to target messages. Typical segments are customers and prospects. You may also want to segment by how you connected with each person. The right segments depend on your business and the type of information you want to share.

Finally, you will want your emails to reflect your brand. Create a template that will let people know each message is from you and that will help them connect your messages to your website and other online locations.