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10 email marketing tips for small businesses

Sep 6, 2017 | News

Email marketing is a great way to reach your customers, keep your brand top of mind and (hopefully) make that coveted conversion. But how can small businesses make email an effective part of their digital marketing strategy? And how can you reach your customers without driving them straight to that unsubscribe button? (Hint: it doesn’t involve removing the unsubscribe button.)

Email marketing can be tricky to get right, but when done well you can create a valuable and meaningful interaction with your customer base. Here are some of our top tips for using email to guide your customers through the conversion funnel without ending up in the spam folder.

1.     Create a content plan

First up, you need to know what you’ll be sending out. There’s no point starting an email marketing campaign if you don’t have a clear picture of the content you’ll be sending out.

Identifying what content is important to your customers should be your first step here. Consider events like sales, new stock arriving or seasonal moments that you can take advantage of and map them out on a content calendar. You don’t want to bombard your audience with newsletters, so being strategic about what you send, when you send it and why, is paramount.

2.     Get an effective email marketing service

There are a few items on the checklist of what makes an effective email marketing service. When choosing a provider, look for services that:

  • optimise email templates for mobile
  • provide detailed analytics
  • allow for A/B split testing

Services like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor allow you to do the above, plus a whole bunch of extra features for businesses looking for more detailed and specific services. Hiring a professional touch is always a good idea when it comes to marketing — especially when you’re first setting up your email templates.

3.     Make it easy to subscribe

This one seems obvious. If you want to send out email marketing campaigns, you need to have an audience to send them to. However, you’d be surprised by how many small businesses bury their sign-up page in their website footer, or some rarely-visited page.

Make it simple to subscribe to your mailing list by making your sign-up option clearly visible. You might want to provide incentives to sign up, like a 10% discount.

4.     Set expectations and meet them

Whether you’ve enticed your customer base with discounts or not, you want to make it clear what they’re getting when they sign up to your newsletter. That means telling them how often you’ll email and what your emails will include. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For example:

Sign up to our fortnightly newsletter for special offers, marketing tips and the latest digital insights from <Your Brand>.

More important than setting expectations, of course, is meeting them. Just because you want your customers to know something, doesn’t mean that they want to receive an email about it. Make sure you’re sending your customers content that is relevant and within the realm of what they expect to see from your business once they sign up.

5.     Be easy to read and scan

Simple is best when it comes to emails. Depending on your industry, you might want to make use of imagery to convey your message. Don’t be afraid to get creative, but at the end of the day having your audience take one key message away from your email is the most important thing.

If there’s a sale on, you’ve released a new blog post or you’re launching a new campaign, you want your customer to know what’s happening straight away. From there, they should also clearly know what to do next. Give your email a clear call to action, like ‘Shop now’ or ‘Contact us’ so your audience has a clear next step.

6.     Test, test and test again

Testing is a great way of knowing what works with your audience and what doesn’t. Email campaign tools like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor make it easy to A/B split test subject lines and email content. That means that half your subscribers get one version of an email, and half get the other. By analysing click-through rates or open rates, you can quickly deduce which version worked best and adapt your future content to match.

At Redline Digital, we like to think of testing as an ongoing process. We’re constantly striving to do better than our best, and believe that rigorous testing is the way to get there. By constantly testing every campaign you send out, you can watch for trends over time and constantly improve your marketing efforts.

7.     Never ever send spam (never ever)

As digital marketing experts, we’re well-versed in what makes spam filters ping, and what doesn’t. However, when you’re managing your own campaigns, it can take a little getting used to. Not only is being detected as spam bad for your email’s reach, you could also end up paying severe penalties for sending out spam. Make sure you’re familiar with the anti-spam act and avoid sending unsolicited content to your user base.

Learning the ins and outs of email marketing is no small feat. That’s why we recommend that you talk to our team at Redline Digital about what strategy is best for you. We can help you develop an effective content plan, analyse results and create effective email campaigns. To find out more about what email marketing can do for your business, contact Redline Digital today.

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