6 Tips for Small Business Email Marketing
Using email as a marketing tool for your small business is a very good idea. The rules are a little different, and there are some best practices to follow to guarantee success. Here are 6 tips to help you get started with small business email marketing.
1. Get Permission
This is the golden rule of email marketing. Thanks to spam laws and advanced filters, it is not a good idea to send out emails without permission. This may seem like a big roadblock, but it really isn't. In fact, it is kind of a blessing in disguise. Email marketing is more personal and more interactive than just about any other kind of marketing. Approach it as a relationship and loyalty building tool. The people who will read your emails will also have respect for you and your business. Getting permission is just like qualifying leads. The people who request your email newsletter are a group of qualified prospects. Done right, your email newsletter list can become a goldmine for new sales.
2. Stick to a Schedule
It is not a newsletter unless you send it out regularly. The best practice is to send it out once a week. Yes, really. Once a month is probably not often enough. Whatever schedule you choose, stick to it. You will get more opens and a more involved readership if your email becomes an expected occurrence. Plus, sending out regular emails simply shows that you care about engaging. When you do put out a call for sales in one of those emails, it will be responded to positively. If you just send the sales call out of the blue, good luck getting it opened, let alone having it be successful.
3. Keep the Emails Short
A lot of businesses send out long emails with a lot of links. This is a mistake. Instead, keep your email short and to the point. Your readers do not have time to read through a lengthy email. If you would like them to read every word, keep it limited to a few paragraphs. Whenever you sit down to write your email, just tell yourself that you are writing to a friend. This will help you keep the email short and interesting.
4. Inform Before You Sell
An email newsletter is not a series of coupons and special offers. There is a place for those things, but if you want to build your list and get engagement, it is better to inform than to sell. Here is the trick; inform about things that relate to your business. If you sell eggs, send emails all about eggs. Not your eggs and their price, but eggs in general. If you can write interesting emails about things your customers will care about, you will develop a loyal audience. And a loyal audience responds well when you ask them for help, whether in the form of sales, referrals, or testimonials. You may take one of two approaches with the inform before you sell strategy. You may want to send out a bunch of emails that are just helpful and informational, and then one that is just a sales call. Or you can inform in every email but include a link back to your website in each email.
5. Encourage Interaction
One great thing about email is that it is very personal. Sure, you send it out to a lot of people, but when someone opens it, it feels like it is just you talking to them. This level of personal feeling associated with email creates a platform where you can develop more interaction with your customers and prospects. Be sure to ask for feedback in your emails. Make it easy for people to send replies. You might also consider including polls or surveys in your email. If you have a blog on your website, one way to encourage interaction is to ask your email readers to provide feedback to a question and then to include that feedback in a blog post. When someone does send you a personal reply to your email newsletter, be sure to return the favor. Think of your email newsletter readers as a special group of insiders at your business. They get preferential treatment. Because they are more involved and highly qualified prospects for future sales, that kind of attitude will really pay off.
6. Talk About Them
Here is one more great tip for making your email newsletter interesting. Take time to talk about your customers. Share their experiences, both working with your business and in general. Make your email newsletter a place for your customers to share news and information. The goal here is to develop a community where your customers and prospects can learn from each other. Your customers probably have a lot in common with each other. Show them some love by talking about them and promoting them in your email newsletter. A good, well-rounded approach to your small business email marketing can help you build a marketing tool that will become a big driver of growth in your business. Give it your attention so you get it right. People that read your email are special, so give them your best.