Digital Marketing

Email Marketing For Small Businesses: A Guide To Getting Started

Most forms of marketing are expensive.

Direct mailers can cost as little as $1 per target, while billboards can cost up to $14,000 apiece in major cities. And TV ads can run into the millions, once production and placement costs are included.

Let’s face it: most small businesses can’t afford that.

But what if there was a way to reach the audience you want for less — maybe a lot less $9 a month?

You don’t need a fairy godmother. You just need to harness the power of email marketing.

Why use email marketing for your small business?

When it comes to reaching new audiences, warming up potential customers, or staying top of mind with existing customers, there’s no such thing as email marketing — and not just because it’s cost-effective.

The main reason you should use email campaigns is that they are very effective.

The average open rate for marketing emails in 2021 was huge 21.5% – 3.5% growth in just one year. This makes it by far one of the most effective ways to advertise.

Professional marketers know it works – that’s why 41.5% She considers it a critical factor in the success of their company.

In 2019, email marketing offers an incredible return on investment (ROI). $52 for every dollar spent. This means that you cannot afford not to use it.

While price and effectiveness are two major selling points for running email marketing campaigns, one that tends to appeal to busy small business owners is that it’s something you can do yourself.

You don’t have to outsource your email campaigns to an agency or hire someone in-house.

With the little bit of information you gain here, you’ll be able to create and launch your own effective campaign in no time.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

How to start email marketing for your small business

1. Choose the right email marketing platform for you

Having the right tools is an essential part of any job, whether it’s carpentry or marketing. And for business marketing, that means choosing the right email marketing software.

You can skip this step and manually create all your lists and campaigns in Gmail, Outlook, or whatever other email service provider you use, but have a business to run.

Creating the list manually is a tedious and time consuming process that takes your attention and energy away from other areas.

In addition, the email platform gives you the opportunity to customize your messages while collecting performance metrics. Those things alone make it worth the investment.

When choosing between the dozens of programs available, you need to find one that has the right functionality for you.

Some features to consider are:

  • Personalization features – Objectives 26% Most likely to open personalized emails. Find a platform that can parse your list for names and automatically include them in emails.
  • custom brands Your customers associate your small business with a specific color and logo. The software you choose should make it easy to personalize your emails with your branding.
  • A/B testing Version testing is one of the pillars of modern marketing. You should select a platform that allows you to experiment with different subject lines and other content to find the one that works best for your industry.
  • Drag and drop – If you don’t know how to code, you will need a program that will allow you to create great looking emails without a thorough knowledge of HTML or CSS.
  • responsive design81% emails are opened on mobile devices; Make sure your email generator automatically scales them to different screen sizes.
  • hash tools – For best results, you will need to target different groups with different messages. Look for a platform with a segmentation tool that allows you to divide your list into smaller groups.

Some of the most popular email marketing platforms include:

2. Build your list

Successful email marketing depends on your messages reaching the right people. To do this, you need a good marketing list.

There are several ways you can get it.

The first is to build it yourself.

Scroll through your contacts, pull out business cards you’ve collected at industry conferences, and comb the Internet for contact information for the people you want to reach. This can be time consuming.

To speed up the process, add a registration form to your website. This makes it quick and easy for interested visitors (hopefully great customers) to get onto your mailing list.

Consider offering a discount to encourage those who are hesitant. You’d be shocked at how many new emails you can generate once you add an interstitial to your site that offers a 10% discount for an email address.

You should also harness the power of your social media accounts to generate subscribers.

Create interesting and relevant content that will attract the right kind of people. Place a link in your profile bio that directs you to the signup landing form.

Chances are that the people who follow you on social media will be at least a little interested in your offer. It is up to you to include them in your mailing list.

Another option is to buy a list.

range from From $100 to $600 CPM (cost per mile, i.e. cost per 1,000 addresses), there are a number of places available to purchase these listings with a simple Google search. Just be aware that there can be variable quality to these listings.

Furthermore, it is very easy to go against spam guidelines when buying listings. In some places it is illegal to send emails to people without their consent.

You may also end up harming the reputation of the sender, which in some cases can lead to your IP address being blacklisted.

If you are purchasing email marketing lists, you do so at your own risk.

3. Plan your campaign

Now that you have your goals compiled, it’s time to start figuring out what you want your email campaign to achieve.

What are your goals? Want to send promotional emails to promote sales and special offers? Want to send transactional emails like abandoned cart messages or sales? Do you ask for referrals or reviews from existing clients?

Once you’ve decided what you hope to achieve, it’s time to create your campaign. There are five common types of email that will suit most of your needs:

  • Exploding emails – Used for general advertisements to a large audience.
  • Monthly newsletters – To keep your business top of mind and keep your audience informed of new developments.
  • Welcome emails – For new subscribers or customers.
  • Promotional emails Offer sales, benefits or incentives to encourage transactions.
  • Reminder emails Encourage targets to complete purchases or make other purchases.

One of the most common sequences consists of a welcome email after the initial sign-up, one or several promotional emails calling for sales, followed by promotional emails or reminder emails.

Email marketing is also an effective way to re-engage past customers or warm up potential customers who’ve caught a cold.

A typical sequence for this would consist of a reintroduction email, reminding them of your brand, followed by a “We miss you” message offering a discount or other incentive to use your work again.

There are many other uses for emails as well.

Maybe you’re hosting an open house and want to invite recipients. Perhaps you have a monthly newsletter that helps establish your credibility and authority.

The beauty of this medium is its versatility. All you need to do is customize your messages to your goals.

4. Create your emails

This is where your emails become reality.

A common mistake many inexperienced marketers make is wanting to add a lot of bells and whistles. Not only does an overly detailed design distract from your main message, but it also confuses customers.

Keep your design clean and simple. Some companies opt for plain text emails, which contain no graphics except perhaps a logo in the signature.

However, this may be too intense for you. It’s okay to tag your emails, just make sure to keep it simple.

Once you’ve settled on the design, it’s time to focus on messaging.

The first battle is opening your letter, and that means a compelling subject line.

Try to pique curiosity or provide some other motivation, eg, “You won’t believe this deal,” “25% off sitewide,” or “Mistakes can cost you.”

Now that you’ve got the reader’s attention, it’s time to make your case.

Avoid overwriting and keep it simple. Explain what you offer or hope to achieve, and then include a call to action (CTA).

Any salesperson worth their salt will tell you, you have to ask to sell. Calls to action in emails and other collateral are the marketing equivalent.

As you write your emails, keep your target demographic in mind and write for them.

Some people find it helpful to imagine writing to a specific client they know well.

It’s okay to use industry jargon, but only if it’s something everyone in your field understands.

5. Send the campaign and analyze the results

The email platform you selected back in step one should give you all the information you want about how your messages are performing – this should give you an idea of ​​where you can improve in the future.

Are you not getting enough slots? You may have a bad listing or maybe you need to try a different subject line.

Are you opening up, but no diversions? Try to change your content.

Do you see a lot of unsubscribe? Sending too many emails can get annoying.

If your results are bad, don’t worry. Email marketing is an art and nobody gets it right the first (or second or third) time. This is why you want to take advantage of A/B testing.

But if you do the work, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t in no time and start generating the results you want.

Additional tips

Here are some additional ideas to help you grow your email campaigns:

  • Focus on qualitynot the quantity.
  • Encourage subscriptions Where it makes sense (social media, on your website, etc.).
  • Divide your list So your messages will be more targeted.
  • Message automation where you can. This includes welcome messages, purchase confirmations, and re-engagement emails.

Email marketing is a powerful tool for a small business

Email marketing offers the opportunity to generate a massive return on investment, without a lot of upfront costs.

But you can’t just send messages voluntarily and hope for results.

Plan your strategy, do the work, track your results and tweak your messaging (in other words, follow the tips provided here), and you’ll find your campaigns receiving great responses in no time.

More resources:

  • Small Business Marketing 101: Getting Started
  • Are you just getting started with SEO? Experts share 5 helpful tips
  • Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to What Works

Featured image: Billion Images / Shutterstock

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