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10 Steps to Small Business Email Marketing Success

Email marketing is one of the ever popular marketing mediums and so more and more businesses are getting serious about it. If you are a startup or a small business with a limited marketing budget, investing little budget and quality time in email marketing can yield into faster business growth.

Email marketing is a winning medium for years, but you must have to update your strategy according to the changing market trends, user behavior, technological upgrades, using the right email marketing tools etc.

Whether you’re going to devise a B2B email marketing strategy or it’s a B2C business that you want to take to the next level with it, make sure it is easier to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Here are 10 steps to create a calculable email marketing plan:

1- Have clear email marketing goals;

This is the first and foremost concern, i.e. email marketing without a goal is just a waste of time and money. Having a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time Based) goal is the key to success with your email marketing campaigns.  When it comes to set SMART goals for your email marketing campaigns, ask yourself these four questions:

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  • What action(s) do you want your subscribers to take?
  • Why should your subscribers care?
  • Who are you sending the campaign to?
  • How will you measure success?

2- Segment your audience;

General mailing lists are more of old wives tales because not everyone is interested in just everything. So, it’s very important to segment the audience right at the signup page. In case, if your list is general, you must run a reward-based campaign and ask your subscribers to update their preferences. You can also acquire a third-party database if you have very specific needs. For example, you could get a list of registered voters if you’re running a political campaign.

3- Have a content strategy;

You cannot always send them an email to buy something. They may open a few such emails, but ultimately they will unsubscribe because no one wants to have an inbox flooded with promotional emails. The best way to consider email marketing as an opportunity to build long-term relationship with your subscribers. Besides just telling them about latest offers, you may also:

  • Wish them a happy birthday.
  • Send a season’s greeting.
  • Thank them for being a connection.
  • Ask them their opinion about improving products/services.
  • Invite them to participate in an event.
  • Invite them to an online/social media contest.
  • Ask them for referrals in exchange for a reward.

These are just a few ideas. Once you sit down and outline a proper email content strategy, you will find hundreds of options. Brainstorm ideas, filter them and finalize a list of content ideas that best deliver the value to the subscribers. With a final list in hand, you just need to put them in an editorial calendar and your awesome content strategy is up and running!

4- Spend time on creating compelling headlines;

A killer headline is your only tool to improve the open rate, so it is important to use it at its best. You may be amazed to know that 33% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. Make sure your email headline is:

  • Short, simple and not more than 40 characters long.
  • Telling what’s inside.
  • From a trusted sender.
  • Is not making a false promise.

5- Pay attention to timing;

Sending an email at the right time with the right subject line makes a huge difference in open and click-through rate. For instance, Pizza Hut sends out a happy lunch hour email just an hour before. A good B2B example can be sending out a mail about expiring contract a week before and then a day before the expiry date can work great!

In case, if it is a content-based campaign, i.e. for awareness purposes, the best time to send an awareness email is Monday morning and the second best is Wednesday morning when you can have a better open rate.

6- Ensure a clear and appealing design;

Designs play a vital role, not just in improving the click trough rate but also to develop trust among the subscribers. A design that complements your website has a brand logo and is using a harmonious color scheme ensures users that they are receiving a message from the same business they subscribed for.

Going further with the design, you must also keep in mind that in many cases the images are blocked by the email services like Gmail, and sometimes the users’ mail setting do not allow HTML emails, so make sure your text version is equally striking.

7- Add a strong call to action;

An email without a call-to-action is a mere waste of time for you as well as for your subscriber. So it is important to have at least one call to action within the email. Let it be a “Shop Now” button or “Share it with a friend”, make sure you have strong and clear call-to-actions and they are placed in appropriate locations from where the subscriber can click instantly.

8- Must have an effective landing page;

In order for your subscribers to make a sale or take any other desired action, you must have to have a great landing page. A landing page can be anything from a product page, a category listing or a page designed especially for the campaign. Here are a detailed guide and landing page optimization best practices for more conversions.

9- Set up tracking & analytics;

You must track and analyze each and every email campaign. So, it is important to have a proper tracking enabled within the email message as well as on your landing pages. Almost all good email marketing services offer tracking, while you can track and analyze landing pages using Google Analytics.

10- Test, test, and test again;

Consider every email as a test, and analyze what is working and what is not. The more you test, the better response you get from your campaigns.

The Bottom Line:

Email marketing can be fun if you do it with a passion for building a strong relationship with your subscribers, and for making it more exciting, you need to update yourself with latest technologies, trends, market conditions and user behaviors which can be done only by keeping the doors open for learning. The moment you stop learning, all your efforts go in vain.

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