Despite the onslaught of social media, pay-per-click and other digital marketing methods, email marketing is still one of the most popular – and effective – for small business. Here are eight essentials that can help make your email marketing campaign a success:
1) Avoid Email Isolation
Email marketing works best for businesses that carefully integrate it with a broader marketing strategy. Trying to use email marketing in isolation – or as a one-shot experience – generally comes up short of expectations.
2) Focus on Your List First
The quality of your list is everything, so that’s where you need to pay a great deal of attention up front. If you already have a list, it must be constantly honed, refreshed and optimized. If you are building one from scratch, populate it only with people who are true prospects for your business, and who’ve opted in to receive your messages and offers. Opt-in lists generally have far higher response rates than purchased lists, so time devoted to developing an in-house list is well spent.
3) Be In Tune to Avoid Opt-Outs
The two main reasons email recipients will ask to be removed from your list are: a) the information you are sending is not relevant or helpful to them; and b) they are getting too many emails from you. If possible, ask your email recipients how often they’d like to hear from you. Or test out different frequencies and see what happens to find the one with the lowest opt-out rate. And never send an email unless the contents have a clear value for the recipients.
4) Sync your Emails with Search and Social
Use an outside email distribution service (such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or Vertical Response) that allows you to also create a version of each email that exists as a web page that can show up in search. This way, every one of your emails will continue to exist as an online archive that can bring SEO traffic to your site. And be sure to include social media sharing, follow buttons and links in your emails. This is a great way to extend the reach of your list.
5) Track and Measure Your Results Religiously
It is critical that you use some kind of marketing analytics to measure the results of your email marketing. The services listed above will all provide some basic metrics reporting, but you will also want to take it further to calculate how many of the people who clicked or otherwise responded actually made a purchase. Compare your email results to conversions from other marketing campaigns.
6) Remember Mobile
It might surprise you that some 20 percent (and growing!) of all emails are now opened on a mobile device. And depending on the type of business you operate, the number could be even higher for your particular audience. So if your message doesn’t take mobile users into account, you could be losing a fifth or more of your audience before you even start. Test all email templates for how they appear on mobile. And send both plain text and HTML versions.
7) Learn Segmentation Secrets
Segmenting your list is a great way to target your messages more precisely and improve your results. For example, you might segment geographically (by state, region, etc.); by recipients’ special interests that you have gathered information on; or by how often they’ve purchased from you in the past. If you sell business-to-business, you could segment by industry or recipient’s title. Gather intelligence each time you send an email to help inform you about how to segment the list the next time.
8) Nurture your Leads
The leads you generate via email won’t benefit your business unless they convert to sales. Prepare a lead nurturing plan that begins the moment you get a lead and details each step you will take to shepherd your prospects down the path to conversion in a consistent, logical fashion. Remember that speed is important. Most lead conversions go to the business that responds fastest.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.