Small business email marketing, regardless of your industry, has proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of the business or an employee, there’s a lot on the line for small businesses, so it’s important to make sure every step is calculated.
But, how do you know what’s a good idea and what isn’t? To be honest, that’s a pretty loaded question. There are so many factors to take into account when deciding on a small business email marketing strategy, but today we’re going to go over some of the most used ideas on the market that have proven to increase results.
1. Build your email list first
Without a good, active email list, sending emails, regardless of your brand’s size, is useless. But you can’t just go out and buy an email list, so how do you do it?
The process of building an email list can take a while. Not only do you have to gather emails that are active, but you have to make sure that they’re interested in the product or service that you’re selling. These are the customers that will return to spend more money in the future.
The easiest way to do this by far is by creating a simple sign-up form for the people already interested in your brand. Sign-up forms don’t have to be complicated, but they are most certainly one of the most important tools in small business email marketing.
Of course, the easiest way to validate any email is to use a tool like DataValidation. Almost every mass email distributing tool charges per email sent. If you’re sending your emails out to a list that’s even the slightest bit inactive, you’re not maximizing your ROI. As your email list grows and grows, it’s very important to validate each email that’s signing up.
2. Quality over quantity
Quality over quantity is an age old phrase that applies to a lot of things, but especially small business email marketing. Let’s think about the psychology of it. Most people, regardless of the brand, do not want their inbox flooded with loads and loads of emails. Add a small business that doesn’t have nearly as much traction in the industry to that equation, and you’ll have an IP that will quickly be flagged as spam.
The main focus for you as a small business should be to produce quality and helpful emails. This makes it to a top position in this list simply because it is so incredibly important. You have to be very particular about the emails you’re sending. Make them look professional, on brand, and definitely don’t send them unless they are 100% necessary.
A good way to look at this is to think about the value that each email brings to the customer. If you draft an email and you don’t feel confident that each and every one of your customers will find something of value, it’s probably not worth sending. This is especially important for small businesses because you’re still in the process of building an active and loyal email list. Focus on the quality over the quantity of your emails, and you’ll most likely avoid a lot of unsubscriptions and spam flags.
3. Include incentive to sign up
For a lot of businesses, the whole purpose of sending an email is to get people to upgrade or buy more. But the odds are that a lot of people are already aware of what you sell and the packages that you offer.
Instead of bothering customers with the same offer they’ve probably already seen, a simple small business email marketing idea is to give them a little incentive to purchase from you. Send them a quick email stating your offer and give them a small discount. It doesn’t have to be much, but you’d be surprised at how many more sales you can get with a simple 10% discount code.
Alternatively, you could offer an incentive to sign up to your email list. This would have to be done on your main site, of course, but it’s a great way to get active emails from customers on your email list.
4. Avoid all caps in subject lines
I get it, sometimes it’s easy to get excited and use all caps, especially if the email is something to be enthusiastic about. But, as we discussed before, getting sent to spam is a very, very bad thing for any business, but especially small businesses.
Sending emails with a lot of caps in the subject line may not necessarily deter people from clicking on it, but there will be a high chance of triggering a spam filter. If that happens, most of the email recipients won’t even see the email because it will automatically be sent to spam.
We went over multiple ways to prevent your email going to spam in a previous article, so we won’t go into great detail here. What I will say, however, is that for a small business, first impressions matter a lot, whether that be to the email recipients or the spam filter.
5. Do some A/B testing
Since we’re on the topic of subject lines, let’s talk about A/B testing. True, A/B testing is so incredibly important for anyone, not just small business email marketing, but it still needs to be mentioned here.
For small businesses, it is vital that you maximize your open rates. The more emails that are opened, the higher the conversion rate. The higher the conversion rate, the less time you spend being categorized as a small business.
A/B testing essentially lets you know what subject lines and body text works, and what doesn’t. Even if you have an improvement of less than 1%, it’s worth testing. Even the slightest improvement means more revenue for the business, which is always a good thing.
6. Be personable
Oftentimes, people choose small businesses because of the personal aspect. Basically, big brands don’t have the time to be personal because of the sheer amount of customers they have to deal with. Or at least, that’s what the average customer believes.
You can get a solid foot in the door as a small business and have your customers recognize you as a very caring and personal brand by using a few simple tricks. Things like using the customer’s name, paying attention to buying patterns, and using target content will go a long way. Even if big brands are doing this already, it’s very important for a small business to do the same.
A great way to capitalize on this would be to send a short and simple welcome email. The sooner you can get customers to associate your brand with being personal, the better.
7. Use creative and on-brand design
It goes without saying that these small business email marketing ideas aren’t using a simple gmail format as their medium. Instead, they should look as eye-catching and engaging as possible.
Of course, you probably don’t want to get too wild with the design. If it fits within your budget, it’s definitely worth hiring a graphic designer to some up with easy, creative, and on-brand email templates. It may take a small slice of your budget, but if done right, the ROI will definitely be enough to cover it.
When I say on-brand, I mean using your brand colors, logo, and language. It’s very important that your brand is immediately recognized as soon as the email is opened.
If you can’t afford a graphic designer, there are lots of tools online that can help you design a unique and professional looking email. These will usually cost money, too, but they typically aren’t nearly as costly as a graphic designer. The only limitations are the tool’s capabilities and your personal design skills of course.
8. Double-check and triple-check
Like any piece of content being shared on the internet, it is very, very important that every aspect of your emails is checked for errors. This includes grammar, functionality, links, and anything else you can possibly think of. Oftentimes, it helps to have multiple people look at an email before it goes out.
With regards to the functionality aspect, don’t forget to check your emails on a mobile device. Since most of the world uses a mobile device to check emails, it’s almost more important to focus on mobile optimization nowadays in your small business email marketing campaigns than it is for a normal email. Make sure all CTAs are easy to click, the font isn’t too big or too small, and the email formats well to a smaller screen.
The links are also very important. If they don’t work, then you’ve essentially wasted a lot of time. Before your emails go out, click every single link and make sure it takes you to the desired webpage.
And finally grammar. If your grammar is off, people will very quickly associate your brand with being unprofessional. In order to prevent bad grammar mistakes from going out to the public, proofread your emails extensively.
Small business email marketing isn’t much different than any other business in practice. In fact, you could argue that email marketing on both sides is virtually the same.
The biggest difference will be the size of the team. For a small business, it really doesn’t make sense to hire a load of marketers. As the business grows, so will the employee base. On the other hand, a bigger business will undoubtedly have a lot more man power at their disposal.
The takeaway from this is to invest everything you can into your small business email marketing. It’s such a simple tactic that has been proven time and time again to bring some pretty impressive ROI. Invest now and reap the rewards later.