By Alisha Shibli
Do you have an email marketing list? And if you do, are you using it to benefit your business? Maybe you haven’t gotten to it yet. There is social media, SEO, and blogging which can take up so much of your time that your poor, old-school email doesn’t get its due attention.
Large corporations have dedicated departments with a brand manager, a social media specialist, and a PR and communications coordinator along with hefty budgets to execute big email marketing campaigns—luxuries that small businesses such as yours don’t have.
Small businesses run lean.
Most SMBs barely send regular emails to their lists, let alone run A/B testing or try different segmentation techniques. However, it’s a shame when they do not invest the time and resources into connecting with their prospects online, especially by email.
Studies have shown that 99% of consumers check their email every day. The chance of them coming across your email is higher compared to a Facebook ad. Wouldn’t it be great to be in front of all these consumers? You bet!
This article will give you a ready plan and all the necessary tools you’ll need to build strong connections with your subscribers that will naturally translate into better leads and sales.
Do users really want to receive emails from you?
According to a study conducted by Campaign Monitor, email is 40 times more effective than social media at acquiring new customers.
So yes, your users do want to read emails from you. And when executed properly, email marketing proves to be a powerful tool in helping you build meaningful connections, boost brand awareness, and get better leads and sales. The trick is to not be the network marketer or the used-car salesman that scares all their friends away.
So now that you know that your users are interested in your emails, where do you begin?
With a simple strategy. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose—just a simple plan with consistent execution will do the job.
What are some simple email marketing strategies to begin with?
There are hundreds of strategies out there but most of them tend to get overly complicated. Basic campaigns will help you start keeping in touch with your customers and prospects.
4 most common types of email campaigns
- Welcome emails – These emails are a way to introduce your users to your business, especially if they’re a new prospect.
- Promotional emails – These are to highlight any sales promotion running on your website. They are the most common (and often overused) emails.
- Newsletter – These are a mix of any active promotions that you’re running and news items. Newsletters are a great way to build relationships.
- Automated emails – These are emails that are sent out after your user does something. For example, abandoned cart, eBook download, order details, registration form/confirmation.
The aforementioned email campaigns often fall into 2 types of emails.
- Service emails – These are administrative in nature. For example, confirming their email subscription, directing them to the download page, and more.
- Relational emails – Their objective is to educate, inform, and entertain. They help strengthen your relationships with your users.
How frequently should you send out emails?
It’s advisable not to send too many emails because they will either go unnoticed or your users will unsubscribe. However, if you send inconsistent or too few emails, your subscribers might forget you.
A good balance would be to send an email every 1-2 weeks or at least once every 3 weeks.
Keep these points in mind when planning out your campaign:
- Choose a schedule and time frame that you can realistically commit to.
- Don’t send emails just to check a to-do on your list. Make sure there is value for the reader in the content of the mail.
- Test different types of email and messaging to see what works best for your list. Every business and industry is different.
Sample email strategy
There are multiple options that you can choose from. Try different approaches, permutations, and combinations to find what works best for your business. Mentioned below is a basic strategy that you can use to begin your email marketing campaign.
Day 1: Send them a welcome email. This could include an offer or an exclusive signing-up promotion.
Once every 2 weeks: Send them a newsletter with tips, news, useful information, and ongoing promotions.
5 simple tips to keep your email from ending up in the trash
Here are 5 simple yet effective tips to ensure that your email stays where it belongs—the inbox.
1. Ask them to make you a contact
Encourage your users to add your company as a contact in their list, also known as whitelisting. Once you are a part of their contacts, the emails you send will always go to their inbox. The best time to send out this request is during email sign-up confirmation, during customer service transactions, or on the confirmation page. You could share the following message:
To continue receiving valuable information from us, please make sure to add our email address to your contact list.
It’s also important that these emails come from a legitimate email address. It’s not advisable to send your emails from a free service like Gmail or Hotmail. Here, it helps to have a domain name on a relevant domain extension so that you can get a trustworthy email address. For example, receiving an email from email@example.com is unprofessional. Register a great domain name with an industry-specific domain extension such as .TECH, .STORE, .SITE, .ONLINE, .SPACE so that you can get a legitimate email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Include an ‘unsubscribe’ link in all your emails
Giving your users the option to opt-out from your email list is not only email marketing best practices 101, but it is also a legal requirement. By giving them the option to unsubscribe you reduce your chances of getting your email marked as spam. If they don’t want to receive your emails, they’ll simply use that button. The number of spam complaints play a key role in ending up in the junk folder by default. So, take all the necessary steps to avoid it.
3. Send emails in smaller batches
Sending an email to the entire list at once might be easier, but it is not effective. Spam detectors are on the lookout for companies that are sending mass emails from non-Email Service Providers. Sending out emails in smaller batches reduces the risk of email providers getting high amounts of spam complaints. Most paid email marketing systems do this automatically.
4. Avoid using large images in your email
Sending an email that is only an image is a bad idea. Spam detectors often look for emails that only have images as they may have words that would normally get caught in the spam filters. Since they cannot read the words on the image, they take the safe approach by assuming it’s spam and sending it straight to the junk folder. Make sure your emails have a good balance of images and words. Including small images and email marketing copy that is optimized for mobile viewing is encouraged.
5. Don’t buy an email list
Sending a promotional email to someone whom you have never contacted before is illegal according to many digital laws. Buying a list also increases the chances that the recipients will mark your email as spam, as they didn’t sign up for it. This will only hurt your reputation in the long-term.
Your users are happy to receive emails from you. The trick lies in finding the right strategy and messaging to engage with them on the optimal level. Be consistent with your efforts and you’ll soon leverage the power of email marketing. You’ll start meaningful conversations and build a stronger connection with your customers. All this effort will eventually translate into better leads and more sales.
When crafted with care and consideration, emails are always appreciated.