The landscape of small business email marketing can be somewhat tricky to navigate. You’ve got to balance content, style, frequency, and medium, all while running the day to day operations of your business. Owning a small business, much like life itself, doesn’t come with an instruction manual. However, we’ve put together a short list of do's and don’ts to help you on your quest to master the art of email marketing.
Congrats, you chose email marketing! If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably already made one of the wisest marketing decisions for your business by choosing to use email marketing. 72% of customers prefer email communication to any other medium, so you’re already at an advantage by appealing to your customers’ preferences. Engaging your current customers via email is a wise idea seeing as how local merchants estimate that 70% of their 2015 revenue came from returning customers. With email marketing, you as a business owner are able to track the effectiveness of sending a campaign. You can view open rates, return rates, and click rates with the click of a button. That’s not possible with direct mailers or ads in the paper.
Have a purpose. So now that you’ve decided to email your customers, it’s time to create a game plan. Every email you send to your customers should have a purpose. Let them know about new menu items, invite them to your karaoke night, or encourage them to like your business on Facebook, but please do not send them an email simply wishing them a “happy summer!” You can wish them a happy summer, but then give them a BOGO offer on your new flavor of gelato. If customers don’t find your email campaigns purposeful and engaging, they’re going to be less likely to open future emails from your business.
Be detail-oriented. When crafting an email campaign, it’s important to pay close attention to the little things. Make sure your subject line is short and sweet. Proofread your messaging. If you’re using an image, make sure it is high quality, appropriate, and relevant. Include your business name. Limit the amount of exclamation points you use. And, perhaps most importantly: avoid all caps. (NOBODY LIKES BEING YELLED AT.)
Don’t overdo it. Now that you’re a small business email marketing guru, you’ll probably have an urge to showcase your talents on the regular. It’s good to keep in touch with your customers, but limit your communication to 2-4 times per month. The most common email unsubscribe reason stems from customers’ sense that they are receiving too many emails, according to GetApp research. Do your best to strike a balance between keeping your customers informed and not spamming their inbox.
Review your results and make adjustments. Once your email campaigns have sent, review the results and look for patterns. Do emails that include an offer or special in the subject line have a higher open rate? Are BOGO offers more successful than percentages off? Do your emails have a higher open rate on Tuesdays as opposed to Thursdays? Take these valuable insights and adjust your future email campaigns to better maximize impact.
Choose an email platform that allows customer segmentation. Your customers are smart. They can sniff out impersonal offers and emails like a hog sniffs out truffles in the southwest of France. Only 32% of local merchants ensure that their offers are targeted. But think about it: your newest customer shouldn’t receive the same email offer as a lapsed customer who hasn’t visited in two months; each has a vastly different relationship with your business. Instead of offering everyone 10% off a purchase, set up automated lifecycle emails that will act as a drip campaign for your business. Thank your first time customer for stopping by and offer them a free small order of guacamole on their next visit. Let your lapsed customer know that you’ve missed them and offer them a free taco dinner if they come and see you again. Personalization and segmentation will bring more meaning to your email marketing efforts.
Looking for an email marketing and loyalty solution? Find out how Belly can support your business.