How to Make Email Marketing Work for Your Small BusinessStuart Taverner
Email marketing is a great way to actively make contact with your customers if you do it well. Email allows you to send direct mail with no print or postage cost. It is also much easier to track the response rate to an email than it is to track physical mail. You can use this form of communication whenever your business has something important to say, when a new product or service is released, or even to share an interesting thought related to your industry.
Here are some ways in which email marketing can benefit your small business.
It shows your authority in your field
You want to show your customers that you know your business and your industry inside out. Showcase your knowledge without bragging but sending content rich emails like monthly newsletters that add value. Include informative articles that are likely to be shared. If you write a blog you could link the articles to your newsletter
It helps build and maintain relationships
Think of emails as a conversation between you and your customers. They give you a chance to make a personal connection. A monthly newsletter can make customers feel more connected to your company through updates and articles. When a new customer signs up to your email list, a welcome email can introduce them to the company and its products or services. Remind them how they got on your list and let them know good things are coming. If they have signed up with their name, use it in your email greeting. Most email marketing software will help you do this automatically.
It assists in increasing sales
By sharing information about your business via email, you can help customers see how valuable your product or service is. Hopefully this will lead to more money in the till. We’ve already talked about the value that newsletters ad, but what about sending a new arrival email? When a hot new product, service or update arrives, send an email out to spread the word about it. Include a link in the email so shoppers can make a purchase straight away. Apple does this really well with their new products.
Here are a few practical tips to make your email marketing more successful:
Know who can you send emails to
In Australia we have laws that tell you who you can send emails to, and other requirements you must follow when using email marketing in your business.
These are covered in more detail in the Spam Act (2003) but there are three main things to keep in mind when sending email content.
- you have to have the consent or inferred consent of the person you are sending the email to
- recipients must be able to unsubscribe easily at any time
- the sender of the email (your business) must be clearly identified in the email and include contact information
Make it easy to subscribe
You could have an sign up form on your home page or blog (places where you fans would already be active). Don’t put too many required fields in the form as this can sometimes be intimidating.
Design your newsletter/emails to fit your brand
Your emails should match your brand’s look and feel. One easy way to do this is by customizing your template to match company colours and adding in your logo. If your emails are in line with the rest of your content, readers will feel more at ease.
Make sure it can be read easily
Your customers are busy people and probably get a lot of emails throughout their day, so they probably only have time to scan emails and stop if something interests them. Firstly, a catchy subject line will encourage more people to open and read your content. Instead of sending out one long chunk of text, divide your content into shorter paragraphs. Using subheadings and pictures will also make your email much easier to scan. It’s also a good idea to put a summary or teaser at the top of the email or newsletter to tell the reader what’s coming.
Leave time for editing and testing
Sloppy newsletters don’t reflect well on the companies that send them. Grammar spelling and style are just as important for email as they are on your website and blog. Send a test email to a few colleagues, get them to proof read it and make sure it looks good on their screen. Testing reveals mistakes in design before it’s too late.
Keep an eye on your statistics
Most email newsletter services offer free reports that can give you helpful insights. Learn to read and understand them so you can use these statistics to improve your email marketing going forward. Pay specific attention to open rates and click rates and see if you can identify any patterns that make those numbers go up or down.