Email Marketing: A How-To-Guide for Small Business Owners

A great way to get the word out about your small business and the various sales and promotions you’ll undoubtedly have throughout the year is to utilize email marketing.  Whether your email marketing campaign entails regular newsletters or other up  dates – emailing your customers remains a valuable addition to your marketing toolbox.

In this age of social media marketing, many small business owners may be reluctant to continue the use of email marketing.  But it should remain a vital part of your marketing campaign strategy: according to Reliablesoft, in July 2013, statistics showed 44% of people who receive email marketing material make at least one purchase annually based on that email marketing material.  On top of that, “7 in 10 people reported the use of a coupon or discount originating from a marketing email in the prior week.”

It’s not just individuals who are affected by this email marketing strategy either: “56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing…for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.”

Now that you know email marketing can be effective, let’s get started on some email marketing tips!

Make it Easy to Subscribe

The first thing you should consider investing time into is enabling ease of use: specifically for subscribing and unsubscribing to your small business’ newsletters.   Avoid complicating things on the access end.  Don’t ask for too much information from potential customers – name and email should suffice.  Single click is always the best way to go.  No cluttered menus and hard to understand registration processes.

If you really want to make the registration process streamlined – consider enabling people to register to your email newsletter via their various social media accounts.  In conjunction with these efforts, you should also post a signup form for your email newsletters on your small business’ home page, Facebook page, and any other social media presences your small business has.  Remember: if you make it too difficult for people to subscribe, they’re simply not going to!

Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

On the flip side, however, you should also make it easy for potential customers to unsubscribe to your email newsletters as well.  Not only is it lawful, but it’s also a good way of doing business.  While doing this, take note of which emails cause more people to unsubscribe – and perhaps consider sending out less of those kinds of emails.

Have a Plan

The next vital stage of developing your small businesses’ email marketing campaign strategy is to create a plan for your newsletter.  What are your goals for it?  What sorts of pieces of information will you be attempting to convey?  It is important you make sure potential subscribers know what to expect from your newsletters.  Perhaps this could come in the form of an about page on your website – or even an introductory or ‘welcome’ email.

Don’t Forget Branding

Along with these considerations – you should also be thinking about how your email newsletters will fit into your company’s brand.  What sorts of aesthetic choices do you plan on making?  How are you going to draw readers’ eyes – and more importantly their interest?  Perhaps this hook will come in the form of an attractive-looking newsletter – but it could come in the form of incentives as well.  Create compelling reasons for people to want to subscribe to this email newsletter.

Content is King

Now you have their attention – you can focus on what is important.  The content of your email newsletters.  Continue creating valuable content – which is engaging – with punchy subject lines.  (Make sure to avoid words such as ‘Free’ and ‘Giveaway’ in your subject lines, however, as these may flag your newsletters and automatically send them into people’s spam folders.)  In the main portion of your email newsletters – you should aim at succinctness and brevity.  Focus on calls to action, which will get potential customers excited about the opportunities your small business could provide them with.  Also be sure to create a regular schedule for these email newsletters.  That way, again, your potential customers will know what to expect.

Keep it Personal

In addition to these suggestions, it is imperative you make your small business’ email newsletters personal.  You may even want to customize specific emails to specific potential/regular customers.  This will build an aura of trust around your brand – and you can’t put a price on that!  Coupled with this personable mandate you should set for your newsletters: make them shareable!  Make the content you send out relevant to the customers you are sending it out!  That way – they’ll be getting what they want – and will likely share it with others who have their same interests and/or needs.

This idea is essentially the core tenant of an effective email marketing campaign: make your newsletters easy to subscribe to, eye-catching, punchy, brief, and intriguing – and make that content easily shareable.  If you follow those guidelines – you’ll be well on your way to making your brand that much more noticeable.