Email marketing has one of the highest returns of any digital marketing technique. But some small business owners avoid it because they think it will be hard. Email marketing can be an effective way for small business owners to reach current customers, find new leads, and convert those leads into customers. And there are a lot of options when it comes to email marketing platforms.
You put a lot of thought into your carefully crafted business emails, so you want to do all you can to prevent them from landing in the proverbial junk box. If you don’t want your email marketing efforts to be ignored, deleted, unread, or marked as spam, follow these 7 best practices for small business email marketing.
1. Subject lines should stand out.
Subject lines are the gatekeepers to your email. Without getting too wacky, it’s important to stand out in the crowd. There’s a lot of competition for the attention of your audience so make sure you have a 7 – 15-word elevator pitch that leaves them wanting more.
2. Show that you care.
Your email subscribers are getting dozens, if not hundreds, of other emails every day. They are constantly being asked to start a free trial, download an e-book or follow someone on Twitter. There’s an overwhelming amount of noise in the inbox. Showing your users that you care goes a long way towards earning their trust.
3. Give Before You Take.
Unfortunately, sometimes email marketing can be perceived as overly spammy or promotional. This is because email marketers can tend to ask for too much from their recipients up front. Before asking your subscribers to purchase from you, or sign up for a service, offer them something of value first. Refer them to a whitepaper with helpful industry tips, share an informational “Top 10” list, or provide a discount code or coupon to encourage them to get started. Every interaction you have with your subscribers should provide value – make sure you’re the one providing the value and they’ll do the same in return.
4. Keep it As short As Possible.
You worked so hard to get an email click. Don’t throw it all away by droning on in your email. The first thing most people do when they get a very long marketing email is to delete it. Customers want marketing emails that are short, nice to look at, and applicable to them.
5. Choosing the Right Email Service Provider.
A critical step is choosing the right email service provider for your business. You, as the business owner, will send out your emails through their servers because their servers are specifically set up for these services. If you tried to send mass emails through your regular Internet Service Provider (ISP), your campaign could be blocked, as regular ISPs are not developed for mass mailings.
6. Find the Right Frequency.
How frequently you send emails is a balancing act. The good news is that consumers like getting emails, just as long as they aren’t redundant. As a general rule of thumb, most businesses find it helpful to email their entire list on a monthly basis and send segmented communications on a weekly basis. According to Marketing Sherpa’s survey, 60% of the customers surveyed prefer a weekly frequency. A higher than a weekly frequency could get a higher number of unsubscribes, while with a less frequency, a business runs the risk of becoming irrelevant. However, this cannot be overemphasized: frequency depends on relevancy. The message needs to be relevant, valuable and anchored in your strategy.
7. Encourage a friendly reply-to-you!
Email is a great medium for communicating with your audience, not to mention the perfect way to receive vital feedback from customers. It’s also an ideal way to answer questions and create a line of communication between brand and consumers. However, when an email’s reply-to address is a variation of “firstname.lastname@example.org,” it turns what should be a communication highway into a one-way street—eliminating the opportunity for further customer interaction. Make your “reply-to” address something friendly that will encourage customer engagement—in addition, make sure someone is actually monitoring that inbox for prompt replies.