Email marketing is one of the most efficient ways to deliver information about new products, new advancements, and build customer relations for any small business. What’s shocking is that many small business owners miss out on email marketing and instead pour their time and money into various other campaigns such as print brochures and paper calendars–who uses paper calendars anymore?! While it is a good tactic to always market through more than one medium, it is not wise to ignore email marketing strategies—this approach is one of the best ways to draw in attention about your company and one of the best parts about email marketing: it’s extremely inexpensive!
Small businesses thrive on marketing and word-of-mouth exchanges from their clients, so it makes sense that they should send out regularly occurring newsletters via email to keep their clients up-to-date about new products and services, changes and advancements within their company and industry, and any special events or discounts they may be offering.
This picture illustrates an email marketing campaign advertising a special event.
Email marketing gives your customers something they can see immediately and easily share with their friends and coworkers. Here are some tips to consider on how to optimize your email newsletter:
Cultivating Emails: Easy Subscription, Expectations, and Welcome Email
The most important way of getting people to sign up for your newsletter is to make sure that the subscription process is easy and succinct. Posting a subscription signup on your homepage, newsletter page, blog, social media sites, and wherever else you get a lot of traffic from your prospective and visiting customers is imperative to getting your fans and followers to sign up for your newsletter. Keeping the required fields limited is also key to getting more people; the longer your subscription area, the less people will want to sign up for it. You also may want to consider including required fields for a birthday and also collect first and last names—you can send them special offers on their birthday, and by having their names, you can personalize the email.
This picture gives an example of a newsletter signup and it’s required fields.
Another important aspect of email marketing is to send a welcome email to them immediately after they have registered for your newsletter. In the welcome email, you may want to elaborate on what they can expect from your specific newsletter, as well as offer special offers or a one-time discount. Give your fans and followers as much information as possible in a concise and time-saving way on your signup page in regard to what they should expect in the emails, and also be sure to elaborate on the expectations that you included on the signup page; it is always important to remind a new subscriber what they are subscribing for and why they are there.
Another way to get new subscribers is to give an example of your email marketing campaign as a free guide available for download on your homepage.
One way to make this even more personal is to send people the content that is specific to them by having a radio button field on your signup page that allows them to select which group of subscribers they belong to. For instance, a website like Recycle the World may want to have different categories for “volunteers,” “donors,” and “recycling establishments” so that each of them can get emails detailing information specific to their needs. By putting this in the required field, it makes it easier to determine which subscribers will receive what information. Be sure to make the options specific to your industry. The email client iContact has many of these features available after a subscription processes. Their rates are extremely inexpensive for the industry, and they also offer loads of amazing special features and helpful strategies for small businesses to use in regards to advertising and marketing.
Useful Information, Read More, and Unsubscribe
Many business owners, content strategists and content editors believe that every email in their newsletter should be hammering in the sales category, and if any emails don’t promote sales and growth within the company, then they are a waste of time. However, maintaining customer relations is a key element to growing your small business, and email newsletters are an amazing approach to this. Be sure to take the time to send out newsletters that are giving tips or relevant advice and information in regard to your industry; don’t make every single email about sales and marketing. By sending out informative, non-sales centric emails, your newsletter subscribers will appreciate your business more and admire the fact that you are taking time to send them information that doesn’t tail back to buying something—this appreciation will manifest itself as word-of-mouth marketing or even forwarding of your email to parties that are not currently subscribed to you.
If you plan to send out an email with a lot of information, be sure to cut the paragraphs down, and have the entire article cut into different sections, with a heading on each section to allow for easy reading or scanning. Most people will be turned off by long, wordy blocks of text when checking their email, but if they are subscribed to you, then they will most likely want to read what you have written, even if they don’t have time for it at that exact moment. You have to assume that most people do not give their undivided attention when skimming through emails; be sure to allow for an easy way to get them back to the article once they have the time and patience to read it all. Adding a ‘Read More…’ or ‘Continue Reading…’ link a few paragraphs into your article will allow your subscriber to read enough to get hooked on a subject, and give them an external link to go back to when they have enough free-time to read it—you can use this link to go to a blog post on your website, generating more traffic for you!
The green area identifies a ‘Continue Reading’ break in the text linking back to the company’s blog.
Another important aspect to your newsletter—and it may seem counter-productive—is having an easily accessible ‘unsubscribe’ button. By placing your unsubscribe button near the top of your newsletter, not only are you complying with a key aspect of the CAN-SPAM act, but you can also ensure that anyone no longer wanting to receive your emails can easily take themselves off of your mailing list, instead of aggravating them into hostile territory.
The red arrow points to the unsubscribe option at the top right of the email.
Allowing your subscribers to easily and conveniently unsubscribe from your newsletter will be very attractive to many people signing up for your newsletter hesitantly, garnering more subscribers for your email list.
Be friendly and only send it out if you have something to say
Most people reading your email are going to be reading it during business hours. As such, they are probably looking to get a break from the monotony of the ‘work tone’ used during the day by companies all over the country. By writing in a friendly, engaging voice, your newsletter can get important information across while easing the reader into not having to stress about every little word. A casual tone in your email newsletters will draw in your reader, and also promote sharing and visitation of your email after work hours. Also think about it this way, if they have subscribed and given you their name, then you’re already on a first name basis—this is why creating a personalization algorithm can be worth it in the long run. Write your emails in an informative tone, but more like you are talking to a couple of friends at a quiet venue, not in a board meeting with your superiors.
Another important thing to consider is to send out your newsletter only if you have something to say. While this seems like an obvious statement, many companies create a newsletter without any planning or theme of what they are going to be sending out. It is of the utmost importance that you and your content strategy team create a template and theme of what you will be sending out. The simplest and best advice to consider is this: email is simply a way to publish content, but the content has to exist before you can publish it. With this in mind, it is always more important to get the best content out first, rather than attempt to create the content at the last minute—your audience can tell what is meditated on, and what is just done off the cuff.
Be sure to do your research
Many of your subscribers will read what you send them, so make sure you have all of your facts straight. Likewise, before starting your newsletter, you will want to do all of the research you can to ensure that your are garnering optimum attention, reaching a wide crowd, and providing helpful tips and information through your emails—always be sure to do as much research as you can on each subject to prevent any false information from being sent out to your subscribers. They will appreciate your commitment to the newsletter project and be more inclined to share it with their friends and coworkers if they find no discrepancies in your emails. First and foremost, email newsletters should be fun—for you and your subscribers—after gaining all the information you’ll need for your first newsletter and sending it out to your subscribers, the only thing left to say is: happy email marketing!
One great email marketing client is iContact. Check out the rates along with all of their special features and amazing marketing strategies at their website.