All small businesses want new ways to promote their products and services. But what many business owners don’t realize is that one of the best marketing platforms is actually one of the oldest online communication tools: the good old-fashioned email.
Even in the era of social media and search engines, email hasn’t gone out of style when it comes to effective marketing. In fact, it has one of the highest average returns on investment (ROI) of $42 dollars for every $1 spent. That’s a 4,200% ROI! If you want to promote your small business via email, here are a few proven tips to help you generate more customers and conversions.
Grow your email list
The first step to an effective email marketing campaign is to have plenty of addresses to send emails to. After all, you’re not going to make many sales if there’s nobody around to read your emails!
There are several ways to grow your email list, but one of the best ways is to include a signup form on your website. When people visit your website to learn more about your business, they can choose to sign up for your emails to get more in-depth information, get regular updates, or exclusive deals.
Think about your offer
You can have the best email signup form in the world, but you’re not going to get any email addresses without offering something in return. That’s why it’s essential to provide an offer with every email.
People don’t like to give out their email address, so you have to entice them with an offer. An offer is something of value that potential customers can get by signing up for your email. It can be a discount, in-depth information, exclusive sneak previews of new products, or anything else you think would entice people to give you their contact information.
The best way to use an offer to generate new email addresses is to make it obvious in your signup form. Don’t just include a signup form on your website and hope for the best. Tell readers exactly what they’ll get by signing up. Think of it like making a sale.
Create well-designed email layouts
It doesn’t take long for people to get a first impression. Some psychologists say it takes only about 100 milliseconds for people to form a first impression, and that goes for your emails, too! Within a fraction of a second, someone can look at your email and determine whether they want to keep reading or if they want to send it to the trash folder.
If you want customers to read through your entire email (and you really do), make sure it has an engaging and professional layout. Your email should include plenty of branded colors, images, and distinct sections to help readers make their way down the page and ultimately end up at the call to action (which we’ll get to later).
Small business owners are busy, and you might not have time to design the perfect email layout every time. Luckily, you can easily create your email campaign in a matter of minutes using professional email templates. Simply choose the layout that best fits your brand, fill in your information, and you’re ready to send.
Write a great subject line
What good is designing an amazing email layout if nobody actually opens it to read it? The average person gets between 100 and 120 emails every single day! For small business owners running an email campaign, that means there’s a lot of competition for your readers’ attention. If you want to stand out from the pack, you need a great subject line.
Your subject line can make or break your entire email campaign. If it can’t grab the reader’s attention among all the other emails they get every day, they’re either not going to open it or send it straight to the trash.
To grab the reader’s attention, a good subject line should make your offer clear right away. Give them a reason to open and read your message.
For example, the subject line “Get 20% off your next order” is better than “Browse our deals.” The offer (20% off) is right at the beginning of the subject line where there’s no way readers will miss it, and the action word “get” implies urgency. “Browse our deals” isn’t as enticing and doesn’t provide a clear offer, meaning the email will likely stay unread.
Don’t forget a call to action (CTA)
You’re not just sending an email to say hi; you want readers to do something. Whether you want them to visit your website to learn more information about a product or service, take advantage of a deal, or purchase a product, it’s important to include the next steps in your email with a call to action.
A call to action (CTA) is like a stepping stone for your marketing campaign. It tells potential customers the next step to take in the conversion process.
For example, after you’re finished telling readers about your amazing deals in the email copy, put a button with a link at the bottom that says something like “Shop our deals.” It tells your readers exactly what they need to do next and will (hopefully) boost your conversion rates.
Send test emails to ensure perfection
You might think you have the perfect layout for your email, but different devices don’t always see things the same way. To prevent formatting issues that might scare away potential customers, it’s always a good idea to send a few test emails.
Before you hit the real send button to launch your email campaign out into the world, send test emails to yourself and a few coworkers, friends, or family members and see how your email shows up on different devices.
You don’t want to hurt your ROI for something as silly as the flyer you used not showing up properly on Apple devices. If someone reports a formatting issue, go back to the email design platform and make some adjustments. There are always other small business flyer templates to choose from!
Don’t send an email until all the tests look perfect. Remember, it doesn’t take long for readers to make a first impression. Don’t let formatting issues or typos hinder your promotional efforts.
Analyze campaign performance
One of the best parts about email marketing campaigns is the data they generate. You can track all sorts of powerful key performance indicators (KPI) to help you determine the success of your campaigns. Here are just a few of the KPI you should be tracking:
- Open rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Forwarding rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Overall ROI
By analyzing your campaign performance, you can see exactly what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t work in your email campaigns.
Never stop improving
Knowing what to improve is only the first step of the equation. Once you have all the KPI data, implement improvements in your next email campaign to make your marketing email more effective.
For example, if you notice your open rates are declining, perhaps it’s time to take a different approach on your subject lines. If you get plenty of opens but your conversion rate is still low, maybe your copy isn’t engaging the readers.
Make a few changes and measure the next round of KPIs. Then, rinse and repeat. Over time, your email campaigns will improve immensely. You might never achieve true perfection, but it never hurts to try!
Promote your small business with email marketing
Even in the age of social media, email isn’t dead. It’s still one of the best ways to engage with potential customers and drive more business. But it’s not as simple as just sending an email every now and then.
Always work on growing your email list, think about your offer, use well-designed email layouts, write a great subject line, include a call to action, send plenty of test emails, analyze your campaign performance, and never stop improving. Over time, your business will be able to enjoy the incredible return on investment that only email marketing can provide.