Small Business Email Marketing Tips and Tricks
By: Thomas R. Reich PhD
Today, for small businesses, Email marketing is a great low-cost way to reach a large number of people. But is not automatic email marketing still requires a lot of thought and follow-through to be successful, and can be as inclusive as a small website. Here are some things to think about when creating a good email, campaign. Whether you are preparing an email marketing piece yourself or have professionals creating one for you, check that each of the following are considered:
Consider the Subject Line that Appears, it is the Single Most Important Part of Email Marketing
Make the subject line of an email powerful and engaging. Pay attention to how spam filters work on the main email systems such as Gmail. Common promotional words like “free,” “save” and “discount,” trigger internal Gmail and Outlook programs to classify your email as spam, and your efforts go right in the trash, so to speak. Do not use these terms in the email marketing subject line ever, but they can be used in the body of the email if used carefully, read on. If you use Free, Save, or Discount in the subject line if a small business email marketing piece, you will most probably be unsuccessful, so, lesson one, do not use those 3 words!
Use a Unique Headline; this is part of the body of the opened email, not the subject line
Here is the tips and tricks part to the above “never use free, save or discount” statement above. The headline of a successful small business email marketing piece can contain those words if they are very important in describing what the email is about, however, not in text form, text will trigger the spam filter again. However you can make a jpeg image if your title and say “Free trial, of this Discounted Item Save Now” and if it is in Jpeg or another image format, the spam filter is unable to see the words. Remember the headline is very important to describe what the email marketing piece is about and what the reader can expect to gain by reading it!
To be Readable, Limit Content: and email is an advertisement not a magazine article
Email marketing pieces should be short and to the point. Use pictures and logos to break up your text, potential and existing customers are more likely to read a piece broken up with pictures and graphics. In order to offer extended explanations of email marketing ideas being discussed, use links marked MORE or READ ON and link the reader to a blog or page on your website that goes into more detail on the subject.
Make Email Marketing Mobile Friendly: more that 40% of recipients of email marketing pieces open on mobile devices
To ensure that you email marketing piece will be readable on a mobile device, always test the email by sending it to yourself and then opening it on not just one but several mobile devices to insure that the email marketing content is not only viewable, but still displays with the intent of its marketing design.
How Often to Send Email Marketing: rarely more than once a week
Most small businesses email marketing should go out weekly or bi-weekly to avoid over kill. More than once a week can be looked at as overkill and quickly get you branded as spam. Some examples of when email marketing may be used more than once a week is leading up to a convention or expo appearance or leading up to a seminar or webinar. If you are in a business where email marketing updates may be needed once a day or 2 or 3 times per week, either do those updates through social media or design your email marketing format in a format that is acceptable to a client or potential client, such as stock market tips for a broker or special discount sales, which are new and different each email update, for the retailer or restaurant. Sending the same email or offer week after week will get you many unsubscribe or worse yet the dreaded spam rating!
A Good Email Marketing Piece Encourages Feedback
Always have at least one way for your email marketing recipients to give you feedback. It is important to remember that email marketing should be a 2 way street, a conversation, you have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. When you get responses, always respond, good bad or indifferent, opening communications takes the relationship out of being an email on a small business email marketing list and begins a conversation with a potential client, prospects are those potential customers that you are communication with and that are asking questions and communicating back, give them as many chances to communicate with you as possible.
You Must Give Recipients of Email Marketing a Place to Unsubscribe
Always make it easy for someone to “opt out” or unsubscribe to your mass emails. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires it, and it’s better for you to have someone simply unsubscribe than flag your email as spam, as this will affect your rating and deliverability with ISPs. It is also important that your emails always comply with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act.
Automate Your Email Marketing Efforts
By having your Marketing department or marketing firm automate your emails through a system like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, your email is assured of meeting all legal and ethical standards, as well as looking professional. Your emails should be designed to match your branding, and look as if they are part of your website, so when a link sends the reader to your website for more information, it is a natural transition.
Always Test and Email, on Several Platforms.
Always test emails on several search engine platforms and on chrome and explorer as well as opening the email on an Apple device and on a Android / other phone and tablet, to assure that the format of the email is not lost from server to server. Because email marketing can be easily tracked, you should always be making changes to improve your results. Try sending your emails on different days of the week to figure out which day(s) generates the most opens. Split your list in half and email two different subject lines or headline. Use a coupon or two different offers to see which one performs better.
Lists; What is the Best Email List?
The best email list it the list you build yourself, from networking events, your own website and social media network, from customers and referrals. These lists that you build yourself are golden, and should always be kept separate from lists you may buy or acquire. One of the assets of your company when you may want to sell it in the future is your true email list, one that represents a group of people and potential customers that are interested in what you represent and the products and services you are selling.
Buying Mailing Lists
When you buy mailing lists make sure they are pre-sorted to a narrow group that is not only interested in what you represent, but are in your area and are Opt In. Even then, keep such lists separate, only add individual email addresses and profiles of those that respond or interact to your mail list and always give them the option to Opt-Out. Though buying mailing lists can be expensive, they are rarely as effective as getting a list from, say, your local chamber or professional organization. But even then, keep separate list, and only add the ones that interact with your emails to your main email list.
A firm like Professional Marketing Associates can make today’s confusing multifaceted world of both online and traditional marketing an easy and centralized task. Professional marketing firms exist to do one thing, make your firm better recognized so potential customers trust what you are selling.