Email Marketing: 7 Actionable Steps To Help Your Small Business

Email was once the dominant digital marketing channel, in fact, the only one of its kind. But times have changed and we now have social media for real-time brand interactions. But the rapidly growing social media scenario has not invalidated email marketing. 

Considering the fact that there are about 4 billion daily email users, this marketing channel is not going anywhere anytime soon. What does this mean for brands? How can a small business investing a significant portion of its marketing budget into email marketing make the most of it? Let’s find out. 

Email marketing for small businesses – 7 tips to make emails work 

1. Use visuals to make your emails more interactive 

Visuals like videos and images are much more interactive than purely text-based emails. Text-based emails convey the message. But visuals help in:

The below email is from McDonald’s. The header text that says one can order coffee for $0.99 is more than enough to convey the message. But, when you are on the go, the image of the coffee in the email makes it clear right away that the promotions are for coffee (since the brand caters to a wide range of items on its menu). 

In addition to that, the color scheme of the email and the signature McCafe cups make you quickly recall the brand which is a good use of email marketing. 

Given all these benefits of adding visuals to emails, about 47% of brands use even videos in their emails. This can help increase their click-through rates. 

2. Email personalization is a key element 

Personalization of your email involves identifying the right kind of content that appeals to different kinds of audiences. 

To make personalization work, you need to have a good understanding of your customers. You need to know the kinds of leads and a typical buyer’s journey. 

For example, content that increases your brand awareness might work for new leads who have never placed an order with you. Emails that delve into product awareness and those that talk about loyalty programs might work better with existing customers. Nearly 82% of marketers feel that personalization improves email open rates. 

The below email provides a welcome discount for a new user. It can be that slight nudge it takes to get a new customer to place the first order. 

The below email is from Starbucks. It talks about Starbucks Rewards and the ways to use them. This email will not make any sense to a lead, someone who has not had their experience with Starbucks. But, for someone who has signed up for Starbucks Rewards, this email will be a reminder of the plenty of perks the rewards bring. 

That brings us to the next topic – organizing your email lists. 

3. Continuously work on your email lists 

An organized list that clearly segregates your newsletter audience into different groups makes it easier to personalize your content as well as to track the performance of your campaigns. Because the goals of your newsletters vary based on the audience groups you target and the kinds of responses you receive vary too. 

There should be a clear segregation between the different types of leads in your email lists. This compartmentalization also helps you understand the frequency of emails you need to send out. For example, cold leads are those who did not express any interest in your brand but you think that they fit your buyer persona and reach out to them anyway. For such leads, if your emails are too frequent, they do more damage than good. 

Regularly updating your email lists ensures the best returns on your investment. This way you are not aimlessly targeting a broad group. 

With regularly updated email lists you can:

4. A customized subject line makes a huge difference 

Your email is one among the 319.6 billion emails received and sent on a daily basis at a global scale. A subject line is a deciding factor that determines if customers open your email or just scroll past it to the next one in their inbox. So, make the first impression count. Use a personalized subject line. 

There are many ways to personalize your email subject lines. Here are a few of them to try:

The above email has a subject line that quickly tells customers what’s in the email and therefore has a better chance of convincing customers to stop and open the email. 

5. Use emails to build brand and product awareness 

Getting users to sign up for your newsletter is one thing but convincing them to stay on your subscription list is another. To ensure that they do not hit that unsubscribe button, keep creating value. You can do this by curating informative content for your emails. This can be information pertaining to your brand/product or information pertaining to your industry on the whole. 

6. A clear CTA that doesn’t get lost in the content 

CTA or call to action is an integral part of any promotional graphic. Without it, customers will not know if there’s something waiting for them on the other side of the ad. They will not know the direction to proceed in order to progress in the sales funnel. Therefore, a CTA is crucial even in marketing emails. 

One of the first things to know about CTAs is that you do not need too many of them for your email to work. Emails that contain just one CTA are said to get about 371% more clicks than those with multiple CTAs. That’s because you do not want to confuse your audience with too many options. 

Another aspect of CTA that influences the effectiveness of email marketing is the positioning of your CTA button. Adding your CTA after the body text is the idea. But what if you have long emails? If you only use one CTA and it lies at the bottom of a lengthy email then customers might miss it. In such cases, you can split your email content into meaningful sections and add relevant CTAs to each. The below email shows how you can do that. 

In the above email design, you will also notice how the main CTA is the one that stands out. Using strong contrast this CTA is made to pop while the others are there to provide easy navigation and quick access. Organized emails like these provide the best user experience and therefore see the best conversions. 

7. Mobile optimization is a must-have 

About 81% of users check emails on their smartphones. Because it’s convenient and quick. When a notification pops they are drawn to the email. So, mobile optimization is one of the most critical aspects of email marketing these days. 

If the content of your email is good and the visuals and overall design look good and feel convenient to read on a small screen, users might be willing to reopen your email and check it out on a desktop later if required. Or if the content is about making a purchase directly through the mobile app, their sales funnel gets shorter. 

However, if the email is not optimized for mobile viewing, nearly 42.3% of users tend to delete the email. This has a lot to do with load times, readability of the text in your emails, and other factors. So, even the best email marketing strategies will not be fruitful if your emails are not mobile-optimized. 

Whether you use illustrations or images or videos in your email, you should be sure that they look good even on a small screen, like a smartphone. Otherwise, the whole purpose of your email is lost. 

Boost your email marketing efforts with good design 

Convincing copy + Attention-grabbing design + Clear objectives + A personalized approach = Strong Email Marketing

When you have everything else in place, your email design might make or break the effect. So, spend enough time fine-tuning your design to align it with your brand identity. Or work with professional graphic designers to help you create impactful emails. That’s how you make your email marketing efforts count. 

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