No matter what industry you’re in, marketing is going to be essential, and email marketing is among the most useful channels available.
Here are seven key email marketing tips for small businesses.
1. Make sure sign-up is appealing and easy
If you want to use email when marketing your business, then you need signups. Without them, your only option for finding recipients is to purchase an email list or partner with a third-party marketing firm. Often times these options are not feasible for most small businesses, as they represent significant expenses.
Instead, focus your efforts on encouraging people who visit your website to sign up to receive your emails. Entrepreneur Magazine contributor Brett Relander recommended putting the sign-up box high on your website, as well as including a link to email-marketing sign up on your social media profiles. You don’t want any of your potential or existing customers to struggle to find your email signup option.
To further incentivize your site visitors, consider offering a discount, free giveaway or potential prize to anyone who signs up to receive regular emails from your company. Unless there’s a tangible reward, many consumers won’t consider signing up for emails, even if they really like your firm. A little nudge can have a big impact on these site visitors.
2. Stay compliant, no matter what
If you’re planning to leverage email marketing for your business – and you should – then you need to be aware of the relevant compliance regulations. Most notably, there is the CAN-SPAM Act. Among other things, this law requires all marketing emails to have an obvious mechanism for unsubscribing from future emails, and all opt-out requests must be honored within 10 business days.
If you don’t follow these guidelines, you may face significant fines and other sanctions. It’s not worth the risk.
To make sure you stay compliant, you need to ensure you have the resources in place to acknowledge and react to unsubscribe request. You may be able to do this manually if your volume is low, but as it grows you may need to invest in email management software that can handle this responsibility automatically.
3. Analyze your data
Having the ability to analyze your email marketing data is absolutely critical to achieving success, as Small Business Trends reported. If you don’t pay attention to this information, you’ll have no real idea of how effective your efforts have been, and you’ll therefore have no way of knowing whether to keep doing what you’ve been doing or change tactics.
The source emphasized the importance of knowing who opened a given email, what they clicked on, who forwarded the message, who opted out of receiving further emails and so on. By digging into this data, you can gain a better understanding of how to better refine your email marketing.
Small Business Trends noted that while this data is readily available for small businesses, many fail to take advantage. This means that by taking this step, you’ll gain a significant advantage in your industry. If you don’t, you’ll inevitably miss out on some of your best email marketing opportunities.
4. Integrate social
Another key to successful email marketing, according to Small Business Trends, is integrating social media with these efforts. Social media is now a critical marketing tool for organizations in every industry, and you need to take advantage of this resource if you want to maximize your outreach. By uniting your social marketing with your email-based initiatives, you can improve the effectiveness of both.
The source recommended two strategies for achieving this goal. The first and most obvious is to include links to your business’s various social media accounts whenever you send out an email. This provides a simple, easy way for subscribers who have already demonstrated an interest in your company to explore more of your offerings and support you by following or liking your business on social channels.
The other way to integrate social and email marketing, according to Small Business Trends, is through social sharing.
“When it comes to marketing emails, taking advantage of social sharing means giving your subscribers a way to easily, immediately post your email content to a social network,” the source explained. “You can either allow recipients to share specific pieces of the email (pin a photo to Pinterest, for example), or you can allow them to share the entire email (or both).”
The source noted that a recent study conducted by GetResponse found that when email marketing efforts that include social sharing buttons have click-through rates increase to 158 percent higher than emails without these features.
Taking steps to unite your email marketing and social media efforts is easy and does not take a lot of time, but can yield major results. Don’t miss out on this potential.
5. Keep it short and clear
Your customers are busy. Even if they are big fans of your business and genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer, there’s only so much time and attention that they can reasonably spare. If your email messages are extremely long, you’re going to lose a lot of your subscribers. And those that you keep will probably only skim your messages, or maybe even skip over them entirely. Long emails will lead to low open rates.
That is why brevity is so important for email marketing, as Entrepreneur Magazine reported. You need to get your message across quickly and in as few words as possible. Focus on your key points and make those points stand out. To this end, the source recommended the use of subheadings and keywords that can immediately catch the reader’s attention.
6. Frequency matters
In addition to keeping your emails relatively short, you also need to make them frequent. As VerticalResponse contributor Lisa Furgison recently noted, marketing emails are very effective for ensuring that your customers don’t forget about your organization. They can serve as “gentle reminders,” she argued. This way, when a customer suddenly needs a product or service that you offer, your firm is the first name the comes to mind.
If you don’t use email marketing and other strategies to remain a presence in your customers’ lives, you’ll give an opportunity for a competitor to step in and fill that role.
7. Don’t say nothing
However, it is essential to note that while frequency is important, you should not send out email marketing messages if you don’t have anything to say or offer. Content always matters. If your content is lacking, then your email marketing efforts will prove not only ineffective, but actually detrimental. Your subscribers will quickly realize that there’s no value to be gained by reading what you’re offering, and they will unsubscribe or skip your messages as a result. And you’ll be wasting a lot of time and effort to produce this substance-free marketing effort.
How are you using email marketing to promote your small business?
This article originally appeared on CoxBlue.