Effective Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

As the season changes and the holidays approach, we thought it would be a good time for a refresher on effective email marketing tips for small businesses. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s working in email marketing can mean the difference between percentages in open rates, engagement, and – in the end – revenue.

The following is our newly compiled list of effective email marketing tips to help your business drive email opens, CTR, and customer engagement.

Plan out your emails and know your holiday dates

You might be surprised at how many businesses don’t give any thought to even a simple email marketing strategy; and yet then wonder why their opt-outs are rising and their emails are not connecting with their customers. Before you send out your next email, take some time (even just half an hour) to sit down and think through the next couple emails you might send out. Know your upcoming holiday dates—such as Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday—and think about how you might want to connect your emails to these dates.

Not only that, but plan what types of emails you’ll send. Which ones will have offers, and what offers; which ones will be content, and which will contain imagery. Planning out your emails helps take your customer through a journey that keeps them engaged and connected in your business.

Utilize email marketing automation

The holidays are always a busy time for businesses, and your customers as well. So instead of spending time setting up and wrestling with a series of individual emails, let email marketing automation do the heavy lifting for you. Once you have an idea of your email-marketing plan, you can create all your emails at once, and then set them to automatically send on a certain date. This saves you from headaches and last-minute emergencies, and also provides a consistent experience for your customers.

Consider offering opt-down, not just opt-out

Every business has to deal with subscribers who, for whatever reason, decide to opt-out of your emails. The good news is, you’re not alone in having to tackle this issue; the better news is, we have a way to cut back on complete unsubscribes! One way you can keep potential unsubscribers in your email marketing database is by offering an opt-down option, not just an opt-out. An opt-down means you’d send these individuals fewer emails, yet keep them in your communication stream.

Get creative with your content

Keeping your content different and fresh is a great way to drive CTR and engagement. A major study showed that a large majority of U.S. adults in fact enjoy receiving email communication from businesses they use and like, as long as that information is relevant and informative. If you establish yourself as a thought leader who has interesting things to say, or provides useful information, then your emails will be opened more and shared, and you will gain more legitimacy as a business. Another effective tip for your emails – using big, bold imagery that fills the frame for the hero images, and graphics over stock imagery.

Utilize segmentation and personalization

Another email marketing tip to remember – you should be utilizing segmentation and personalization in all your email marketing. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, and (according to DMA) marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. This means that you should be sending email offers and messages to your customers based on past purchases or behavior patterns, to foster open rates and stay on their radar.

Add social sharing buttons

Adding social sharing buttons to the bottom of your emails is an easy way to expand the natural reach of your email marketing campaigns, funnel readers to your social media channels, and integrate your marketing efforts.

Weed out inactive subscribers

An important email marketing tip is to pay attention to your inactive subscribers and make sure that you’re removing them from your email database so that they don’t end your email campaigns before they even have a chance to begin. You can use engagement scoring to determine engagement levels, and clear out from there.

Create events to drive customers to your business

An email marketing tip to remember in this digital age is that while it might be almost all about digital, you cannot forget the importance of in-person interaction, especially if your business has a brick and mortar side. In-person, a subscriber has more of a likelihood of making a purchase once they arrive, so consider tailoring an email marketing campaign around driving people to a special event hosted at your business, offering them exclusive deals that can only be used in person.

How to Write Emails Your Customers Will Open

Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for any small business or private practice, as polls show that the majority of your customer base prefers email over all other forms of communication when it comes to receiving company updates, offers, and reminders.

According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing is also a savvy business move, as it provides a 3800% Return on Investment (ROI) and $38 for every $1 spent.

A MarketingProfs study in 2015 found that email marketing is still considered one of the top three sales drivers in digital marketing channels, and marketers spent $2.3 billion on email marketing in one year alone. Yet while 82% of companies use email marketing technology, emails are only as good as you make them, so the question is this:

Are your emails effective?

When determining whether or not your emails are effective, ask yourself the following:

Who writes your emails? Is it the same person or multiple people?

The tone of your emails matters, and you should enlist either the help of a professional writer, or someone who knows your business well. You want to be engaging and keep the emails to an appropriate, effective length.

What are your open rates? Are customers actually opening & reading your emails?

If you aren’t tracking your open rates, or you’re not sending out emails through a content management system or email marketing system, you should look into it. Platforms like Demandforce not only offer custom prewritten email templates, but also help track all analytics so you can see what is performing well for your company, and what is not.

What do you hope to achieve through your emails?

It’s not about sending more emails, but smarter emails. Determine the purpose behind your emails. Remember that emails can be more than a means of sending appointment reminders and confirmations. You can use email marketing to stay in contact with your customers, advance customer loyalty, and even recall lost customers.

So how do you write emails your customers will open?

Here are some tips:

  1. Rethink the sender – this is literally who shows up on your “FROM” line. Are you sending from your business name? If you haven’t yet, consider creating a generic email address to add legitimacy and reinforce your name recognition.
  1. Write a killer subject line – your email subject line is arguably the most important factor in increasing your open rate, so pay attention to it! The optimal length is 28-39 characters, and it should be intriguing, concise, and direct.
  1. Be aware of CAN-SPAM – The CAN-SPAM Act was signed into law in 2003, and establishes rules for commercial email and commercial messages, including giving the right to recipients to have businesses stop emailing them, and penalizing any business that ignores the law. Any business should familiarize themselves with these rules, as penalties can be steep. Also make sure that the words you’re using don’t fall into SPAM filters (words such as “Click here” or “Sale” or “Subscribe”).
  1. Get personal – One of the marketing trends of 2016 is a personalized customer experience, which not enhances someone’s experience with your business or practice, but also encourages customers to stick with you, and refer you to their friends. So add a personal touch to your emails through segmentation (tweaking your messaging to fit the demographic you’re emailing). Some of these factors may include: appointment history | age | recommended services

These are just a few ways you can make your emails more likely to be open and read by your customers. If you don’t think you’ll have the time or bandwidth to focus on these tips, you might want to consider getting help with your small business marketing and communications. Demandforce is a marketing automation and customer communications platform that does much of the heavy lifting for you. You can automate when you communicate with your customers/patients, and also use custom email marketing templates that are specifically designed for certain types of small businesses, like salons, auto shops, dental offices, medical offices, chiropractors, spas, and vet offices.

Demandforce offers quick and helpful demos of its product so you can see if it is the right choice for you. To request a demo, you can either call (866) 507-7016 or head to www.demandforce.com.