Who says that email marketing is only for the big boys? Whether you’re just starting out or you have established your small business firmly in the local community, having a great email marketing plan can give your company a serious competitive advantage. To help you wow your digital customers the next time your messages reach the inbox, here’s all the pieces that make up the secret to email marketing success for small businesses.
Build a Content Game Plan
While some small businesses get hung up on the technical side of developing great emails, your best bet to build a successful foundation is to start off with a content game plan. From here, you can worry about templates, analytics, and all the other things that take place during campaign optimization and refinement. If you’re in need of a little guidance for a content game plan, Chris Rancourt of The Business Journals suggests starting off with a weekly newsletter.
This type of content might not be the flashiest way to enter the market, but it offers a stable, consistent platform to connect with customers and provide them with valuable content and offers. Additionally, small businesses that properly utilize this channel can further leverage this inbox access by showing off upcoming products and exclusive insider information to participants – both of which add even more value to your small business newsletter.
Play to Upcoming Events
Another way to bridge the gap between you and your customers, while still staying competitive with the bigger brands in your industry, is by maximizing your seasonal relevancy. As Steve Dille of Marketing Land explains, having email content that focuses on the time of year shows your customers that you’re willing to go beyond the standard “promo” messages and actually put some thought into your marketing messages.
While Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all the other major players definitely make the seasonal relevancy cut, that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on the smaller, local traditions in your area. In fact, capitalizing on these events, like city festivals and upcoming concerts, gives you a decided advantage that national and international brands simply can’t replicate.
Get to Know the Spam List
This tip is really for businesses of any size, but it’s still well worth your time if you’re running a smaller outfit. With Gmail and the rest of the email service provider world segmenting your inbox into primary and secondary sections, it’s more important than ever before that you know which spam words can earn your emails a one way trip into the digital trash can, according to Matthew Collis of Huffington Post.
Plenty of the entries on this list are the usual suspects. “Free,” “urgent,” “sales,” and “act now” all headline the spam word gallery. However, some less obvious options, like “click” and “legal,” also put a big red flag on your email operations. If you’re unsure about a certain word, don’t hesitate to connect with your email marketing service provider. This way, you can avoid joining the less than savory crowd that calls the spam folder home.
The days of email access exclusively coming from the desktop are long gone, so putting an emphasis on mobile viewers matters now more than ever. As Kate Kiefer Lee of Forbes Magazine points out, 63 percent of North Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either delete or ignore a marketed email if it’s not optimized for mobile devices. Even if your audience isn’t as a big as the national and international brands, it’s still important to cater to these readers.
To keep the attention of these members of your audience, spend some time developing mobile messages that fit the smaller screen. Whether it is cutting all nonessential imagery or adopting a vertical layout that puts your call-to-action (CTA) front and center, making it easy to view these emails from smartphones and tablets is a crucial part of making a splash in the inbox.
The final secret to email marketing success as a small business comes with some good old-fashioned hard work. Understanding what your email audience wants isn’t always easy, so be prepared to test variations of your message early and often. A/B testing, consumer polling, and a variety of other practices hold the key to developing a consumer profile that fits these customers. With this constantly evolving profile in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned about email marketing, there’s nothing stopping your small business from joining the ranks of the biggest names in the business with a powerful and responsive campaign.