Social media may get all the praise. But email does the heavy lifting in marketing. With over 4 billion active users and an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing for small businesses can transform your ability to acquire customers, nurture leads, and increase sales to grow your business. Let’s look at this often underutilized small business marketing tool.
Why small businesses need email marketing
Email marketing gives small to medium brands direct access to a communication channel that most people use to do business, interact with companies, and manage their personal lives. It allows small businesses to cut through the noise generated by big brands with their massive budgets to make a real connection with a customer.
Email is a crucial tool to keep top of mind with prospects and customers, nurturing those relationships and driving more purchases and re-purchases.
How to build an email list for small businesses
The most effective email lists for small businesses are always permission-based. This means that people choose to sign up. If you start sending emails to someone who doesn’t want them, the messages end up in a spam folder.
Modern email platforms see this. It influences their automatic spam-routing algorithms to send your emails straight to junk so fewer people see them first. To prevent this, you must encourage people to subscribe to receiving your emails. This is not only a good idea, but is the law in certain jurisdictions such as Canada and the EU.
Generally, small businesses do this by offering something in return for an email. What you offer varies by industry but must be of value to the customer. Something that helps them solve the problem they have, such as:
- Case study
- Quiz results
- Contest submission
As a small business, you’ll want to communicate this offer in multiple locations, such as:
- Homepage pop up
- Influencer promotion
- Social media contests
- In-person events
- Social media and Google ads
- Inside your blog posts, videos, quizzes, or other content
- Opt-in buttons during checkout
Creating effective email campaigns for small businesses
To build an effective campaign, you must first know what you want to accomplish with email. Set some goals for your campaign. Be specific. Some common goals for email marketing for small businesses include:
- Reducing cart abandonment
- Increasing referrals or reviews
These are also some of the easiest goals to tackle first with email. Generate quick wins with email before you take on lead nurturing and email drip campaign selling, which are more complex.
Let’s say you want to reduce abandonment. Here’s how to get started.
- Collect an email at the beginning of the checkout.
- Compose a friendly reminder email.
- Set up automated emails that go out within 30 minutes to an hour of abandonment.
- Track the email’s performance.
- Test and optimize.
Measuring success with email marketing for small businesses
It’s important to know what to measure in your campaigns and start tracking those metrics to learn what works best as you make changes.
Here are some top email metrics you should track and what poor performance means.
Open rate. A low open rate may suggest an issue with timing or the headline. Test both to make it the best it can be.
Click-through rate. If people open the email but don’t click on the links you want them to, the value or call-to-action (CTA) in your email may need to be improved.
Bounce rate. A high bounce rate means people aren’t even receiving your emails. Check the email addresses. It could have been a typo or a bogus email. Take action accordingly.
List growth rate. You want new sign-ups to outpace unsubscriptions. If they’re not, focus on increasing the quality and relevance of your emails. Make sure you’re being conversational rather than promotional. You gain interest, trust, and loyalty this way, which reduces unsubscribes. To increase sign-ups, revisit how you are building your list (see section above).
Spam rate. If a high percentage of your emails are going to spam, email providers will block you. So, it’s crucial to fix this fast. Reconsider your emails’ frequency and messaging and ensure people on your list have opted in.
Best practices for small business email marketing
Each audience is a little different. But you can’t go wrong if you start with these best practices for small business email marketing.
- Be transparent. Don’t opt people into email automatically. Communicate value so they choose you.
- Optimize for mobile. Roughly half of emails are now opened on mobile.
- Make the most of welcome emails. Welcome emails have 4 to 10 times the open rate of routine emails. Make the most of it by demonstrating the value they’ve signed up for.
- Perfect your subject line. Make it click-worthy but also representative of what the email is about. Test its performance to improve open rates.
- Create compelling CTAs. Communicate the value of clicking the CTA links in your emails.
Email Marketing for Small Businesses
Email marketing for small businesses can be a game changer, helping you maximize the impact of your other marketing efforts by funnelling customers into a location where you can have their undivided attention.
But this attention is earned. Betray that trust, and your audience can easily unsubscribe.
Follow these tips to experience the ROI email can generate for small businesses.
Book a free consultation to learn more about how to make the most of email in your business.