Choice Stories

June 15, 2020

Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses no matter the size. However, if you’re a small business owner working within a more modest budget, it’s an effective way to reach prospects and clients at a low cost.

We have some tips to help you maximize your email marketing campaigns, further engage your target audience, and grow your business.

The Right Tool for Your Business

With so many email platforms on the market, choosing the right one for your business can feel overwhelming. Your needs and budget should drive your decision. Among the many free options are HubSpot, MailChimp, MailerLite, OmniSend, and Sender. If you need greater control and more detailed analytics, there are more robust programs available. Full feature programs include Constant Contact, Campaigner, Campaign Monitor, HSalesforce Pardot, Zoho Campaigns, and others.

Check out a comparison of free options in The 14 Best Free Email Marketing Services – How far can $0 get you?, as published by EmailToolTester.com.
PC Magazine compares the more robust options here.

When making your selection, you'll want the ability to track open rates, clicks, forwards, and unsubscribes. You can even go as far as creating drip campaigns that are launched automatically on the schedule you determine.

Keep Devices in Mind

In late 2019, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported on the increase in smartphone use when it comes to reading email. In the U.S., 75% of smartphone users access their email on their devices at least some of the time. For those ages 18 to 34, the percentage using a smartphone for email is even higher: 81%.

Knowing this, it's important to pay attention to your subject lines. Long subject lines won't fit in smartphone screens. In a study of more than two million emails, Marketo found the best-performing subject line had only four words. Be sure your messages tell readers what to expect in the most direct way possible. The bottom line, keep it simple.

Getting People to Open and Read

When you’re setting up your “Sender” name, you have flexibility. You can choose something as simple as your company name (a solid choice for known brands), a variation of your company name (ShopperInsight@xyzcompany.com), an inanimate name that discourages replies (like DoNotReply@xyzcompany.com), or a person’s name (like your CEO, regional leader, etc.). The key is to choose something that will get recipients to open your message.

When it comes to layout and design, keep in mind that headlines, body copy, and button selection matter. CMI suggests a minimum 30 pixels for headlines, 16 pixels for body copy, and buttons measuring at least 44 x 44 pixels.

Personalization is extremely effective, too. Depending on the program you use, you may be able to personalize by adding the recipient's first name or location. For example, the first line in your email can read: "Hi Amy, you might have noticed this new product popping up all over Huntington Beach." Personalization is a powerful tool, with 90% of U.S. consumers finding personalization very or somewhat appealing. Keep that in mind when choosing between a free or paid email program.

Build Your List

A sure-fire way to build your email list is to include an incentive for signing up, whether it's a discount voucher or coupon, e-book, or something else to first-time registrants. It’s also important to mention how often they can expect to hear from you. Few things contribute to unsubscribes more than bombarding recipients with too many messages. (See info below on adhering to CAN-SPAM rules.)

While it’s preferable to send emails to an in-house/subscriber list, you can rent or buy a list to expand your outreach. Just make sure you select a reputable vendor that will allow you to choose your preferred demographics: target area, income, age, etc.

Quality Beats Quantity

Developing content that keeps prospects and customers engaged can be challenging, but quality beats quantity in most every circumstance. When you are creating content, focus on information your subscribers want to read. Then, determine the cadence for delivery from there.

Be sure you comply with the Federal Trade Commission rules on commercial email, as outlined in the CAN-SPAM Act. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines. Remember, though, that getting an unsubscribe is not always a bad thing. It can help you with your sender reputation quality, since unsubscribes are not reported as spam.

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