Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Social media marketing is a low-cost platform for small businesses to reach potential clients. Few companies operate without a social media presence, and many focus heavily on the various platforms in hopes of fueling growth. In actuality, email marketing still offers the highest return on investment (ROI) and remains the best channel for small businesses to reach potential clients.

According to the 2014 Email Marketing Industry Census sponsored by Adestra, email marketing was the highest ranked channel regarding ROI. The study also indicated that companies attributed 23 percent of their total sales to email marketing compared to 18 percent the year before. These figures come with a caveat; according to, more than 200 million emails are sent every minute of the day. The majority of those emails will go unread, and a significant number will get marked as spam. For a small business’ email to reach its target and avoid going unread, it has to be well-constructed and backed by clear marketing objectives and a strong plan.
Here are 5 tips for running a successful email marketing campaign for your small business .

01. Get the Subject Line and the Content Right
Social media is a great way to build an audience, capture emails and build lists. These lists should then be segmented, regularly updated with preferences and opt-outs, and serve as the platform for all of the email marketing. Once all of this has been completed, marketing needs to take each of the segments and tailor an email with the appropriate subject line and some compelling content. An email subject line must demonstrate value to the reader, create a sense of urgency, and entice them to open it. A subject line that fails to hit these points is destined for the recipients’ trash or, worse yet, spam folder. A successful subject line is brief, informative, and intriguing without being deceptive. Remember that the topic or subject line is the only chance to grab the reader, get them to open the email, and ultimately respond to the call-to-action.

02. Mobile-Friendly is a Must
According to a Gartner study, 74 percent of smartphone users’ access email through their devices. Companies need to understand that customers will be using mobile devices to access their emails. The challenges with getting recipients to open and click through an email become harder if the email doesn’t render or behave responsively on mobile devices. MailChimp research indicates that industry-wide email open rates are 20 to 25 percent, with a click-through rate somewhere in the low single-digit percentages. If an email is not formatted correctly and doesn’t look good when viewing on a mobile device, click-through, and open rates will drop precipitously.
An Equinox study has only 11.8 percent of newsletters using responsive design techniques to optimize emails. A full 39 percent of marketing professionals have no strategy for delivering mobile emails. There is an opportunity with a well-formatted email campaign, for small businesses to get out ahead of the curve and remain competitive with larger corporations. Email providers like Constant Contact, MailChimp, GetResponse, and others send emails optimized for mobile and remove the need for businesses to be worried about formatting. Choosing the right email provider is not enough, though. Companies and their marketing agency need to test all emails themselves to make sure they render correctly on mobile devices.

03. A/B Testing and Analysis
Successfully nailing the subject line, format, and content involves a lot of trial and error. A/B testing is a must for any email campaign. According to WPCurve, a small change to the subject line of an email can increase clicks by as much as 28 percent. Without performing A/B tests, marketers would not be able to identify which subject line would produce results. Analyzing the results of A/B testing will also help marketers identify the better performing calls-to-action and formats for emails.

04. Don’t Forget the Call to Action
After avoiding the spam folder, getting the email opened and piquing the interest of the reader what comes next? If there isn’t a clear call-to-action (CTA) for the email recipient, all of that effort, testing, and attention can go to waste. Nothing will derail an email marketing campaign faster than poor planning with regards to converting readers to customers. For the small business to successfully convert readers, they need to present a clear, decisive CTA and a landing page that is as well thought out as the email. Next to the subject line, CTA’s are nearly as important for email marketing.

05. Use Automation Tools
In addition to having mobile-friendly templates, email automation providers can also provide useful statistics, audience segmentation, click-through and open rate tracking, social media integration, and blast email scheduling. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaigner, Hubspot, Sendloop and other providers have a variety of low-cost features that even novice marketers can adopt and execute. Small businesses cannot afford to waste time or resources on marketing without seeing a return. Successfully implementing the points outlined above will all but ensure that any small business email campaign will yield its highest possible ROI.

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