Reading through all the email marketing tips for small businesses can confuse new business owners. There are hundreds of people with just as many different opinions. We’ve gathered some of the best advice about the topic and narrowed them down to the top ideas to help you grow your brand.
Almost every adult online uses email. Statista estimates there are 254.7 million email users in the United States. If you want a direct line of communication with your target audience, email provides a powerful promotion tool.
How do you build your email marketing into something people pay attention to rather than hitting delete? Keep reading to find out.
1. Keep Sign-Up Easy
If you want people to sign up for your mailing list, you must make it as quick and painless as possible. It helps to avoid asking for too much information. Instead, ask for a name and email.
The top email marketing tips for small businesses almost always include short forms.
Think about the different ways people access your website. Are a lot of your visitors on mobile devices? How can you make it easier for them to sign up? Could you tap into a social media platform like Facebook for a one-click option? Maybe you could optimize your email for mobile platforms to make it easier for users to opt-in to your list.
2. Be Aware of Regulations
In a nutshell, you must make sure you take steps to protect personal data and share how you’ll use it.
This top email marketing tip for small businesses also protects them from litigation. The EU can fine a company in the United States for violating the GDPR.
California has a similar act, and there may be others in the future, so be aware and prepared.
3. Study Your Subscribers
If you want your email marketing to be successful, you need to know your subscribers. For this email marketing tip for small businesses, we advise looking at every fact you have about your typical customer.
Take the time to survey them. Dig into website analytics to get information on the location of subscribers and what browsers they use.
Think about your audience’s pain points. How can you tap into their emotions as you offer a solution to their problems? Know your user, and your efforts will find you more success.
4. Tap Into Social Media
Nearly every adult online has some social media profile. Figure out where your customers hang out and integrate your newsletter and social media followers. There are several ways you can achieve this.
Include a subscribe link on your social media pages. Add a post about your latest newsletter or share a tip from it with a note to subscribe for more. You should also include links to social media pages within the newsletter. Or, provide a share link so people can easily post a link to your newsletter on their social pages.
A better way to boost your efforts is to work with influencers in your industry. For example, they could mention tips they gained from your newsletter and suggest their followers subscribe for more great advice.
5. Customize Your Design
Want some more email marketing tips for small businesses? Your HTML template for your emails matters.
Using a cookie-cutter HTML template that comes with your newsletter service provider is tempting. These examples look slick and professional. The problem is that they don’t share your brand’s color palette or have relevant images.
You have some custom options for your design. You can take one of the sample templates and adjust the colors and photos to match your business. Another idea is purchasing a custom template from a graphic designer. This saves you time. If you’re on a tight budget, you can also easily learn to code your own template.
6. Automate Campaigns
You may not always have time to create a newsletter, especially if you send it out frequently. Automation helps you send content to your users without eating up all the time you must spend on other marketing and business growth efforts.
Some time-saving email marketing tips for small businesses include a set-it-and-forget-it option. You can plug your RSS feed into a campaign and set it to send out once a week. This would put fresh content from your website into the hands of your users and keep you in touch with them with no additional work after the setup. You can still send other emails as needed.
Most SaaS newsletter providers also have an option where you can schedule your newsletters ahead of time. Create multiple versions, plug in the news you want, proofread and plan for when you want it to go out.
7. Know When to Send
You’ll get a wide range of responses if you pull up studies on the best time and day to send emails. Some experts say to send on Fridays or evenings when there is less chatter online. Others say to send in the mornings on a weekday. The answers are all over the place.
The truth is that it depends on your audience, so you must study your open rates if you want to improve your email marketing optimization. Start by determining your click-to-open ratio and then seek to improve that number. Track analytics and try different tactics until you hit the perfect combination.
8. Get to the Point
Try to avoid wasting time chit-chatting with your subscribers. While you want to be friendly and personable, remain professional and get right to the point. People are busy. They want to skim your copy and get to the main facts.
If you are sending an email to announce a sale, immediately state what you’re offering and why it benefits the reader. If you want to share big news about your company, tell the customer how the information is helpful for them.
Always tell a story from the user’s perspective. Why should they care about this particular email?
9. Maintain Brand Consistency
In the State of Brand Consistency report, researchers found consistent branding matters. When companies maintain consistency, they can increase revenue by 33% or more.
Branding matters because you’re building an image for your business. It’s also never been more critical to create a consistent brand because your business is online. Since there are no face-to-face interactions, branding can help establish trust more easily.
Plus, branding consistency can help draw in new customers if they like what they see.
Some things you can do to improve on this include crafting a branded email template and building campaigns around your brand identity.
10. Segment Your Audience
Most people are tired of being another face in the crowd. They want to know the companies they work with, how they care about them and their needs. One way of achieving a personalized email marketing strategy is to segment your audience.
Study the different needs of your subscribers and place them in the appropriate group. There are four ways you can segment your subscribers:
- Demographic: Segment your list based on age, gender, income, education, etc.
- Geographic: You break down your segments by the areas they reside in, such as city, state and country.
- Behavioral: Use customer data to learn about customer behavior. You can segment your lists by how customers interact with your business — including buying patterns and the stage of their customer journey.
- Psychographic: You can separate customer groups according to your customers’ beliefs, attitudes, personality traits, lifestyles and interests.
Once the segmentation is complete, you can customize your messages to show you get the pain points they deal with and offer solutions.
11. Write Compelling Subject Lines
Subject lines are the gateway to increasing those open rates. They are what play into people’s curiosities — making them wonder what’s in store for them. Creating a subject line that stands out is the key to getting your subscribers to open your email.
Email users typically receive hundreds of emails each day. Therefore, it helps to create a subject line that sounds enticing.
For example, you could include a subject line that’s humorous and relatable. Or, it will help to have something of value that pertains to your readers’ interests.
Finally, email marketers should consider using A/B tests to determine which version performs better. These insights can help you improve your campaigns and increase your open rates.
12. Use Personalization
Personalization is a surefire way to make your subscribers feel like they matter. However, personalization requires you to learn about your audience. That’s because relevant emails go beyond a name in the subject line.
You must craft individualized emails that cater to what your audience wants. For example, suppose you own an e-commerce store. You could send personalized emails based on the customer’s past purchases.
You could also send triggered emails based on certain behaviors. Maybe they’re interested in signing up for an event. An automated email can go straight into the user’s inbox to help them learn about the event and where they can register for it.
13. Nurture the Customer Relationships
Email marketing isn’t always about winning the sale. While that’s always part of the big picture, focusing on customer relationships is just as important.
Start cultivating relationships with your subscribers by being intentional about solving their problems. You can focus on providing solutions by ensuring your content, videos and calls to action include this.
Remember, being transparent is a great way to build connections. For instance, you could be open about a personal topic that they could be struggling with as well.
Building relationships is all about how you can be helpful to your audience. And if you’re unsure how to help them, consider asking them what they’d like to see in future emails.
You can always send surveys and incentivize them for their responses. Then, you can take those insights and use them to improve your strategies. That way, you’re tailoring your content to your audience’s needs.
14. Analyze Your Data
Data is crucial when it comes to email marketing. This information can give you some insights to help you determine whether you need to maintain or improve your tactics.
When analyzing your data, it’s important to monitor certain metrics, including:
- Delivery rate: Percentage of emails that deliver rather than bounce.
- Open rate: Percentage of emails that subscribers open.
- Click-through rate: Percentage of subscribers who clicked on links in the email.
- Unsubscribe rate: Percentage of subscribers who opt out or unsubscribe from an email list.
Keep Learning and Adapting Your Email Marketing Tactics
One of the best email marketing tips for small businesses is to keep seeking ways to learn and grow. Technology changes over time, consumers become savvier, and people care about different things.
The pandemic changed many people’s priorities and will impact online marketing for years to come. Have a teachable spirit, and your newsletter will be much more effective with your audience.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.