Powerful, fast and highly effective, email marketing is one of the most important weapon in a small business owner’s arsenal. It is a trusted, professional and affordable way to communicate your message to the masses in a short period of time. Used properly, it is an effective and efficient way to both stay in touch with existing customers and attract new ones.
On the downside, email marketing can be time-consuming and difficult to master. Like all marketing efforts, email correspondence is more an art than a science. From writing catchy, click-worthy headlines to ensuring your message steers clear of the dreaded spam folder, there are right ways – and wrong ways – to use email as a marketing tool. Here are 12 tips to get you started. Blast away!
Compile a permission-based email list. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is by sending people spam, which is essentially any type of information-based email that they didn’t opt in for. Always be sure to ask your customers if they would like to receive emails in the future, ensuring them of the added value of coupons, news and exclusive promotions.
Set goals. Before sending out your newsletter or email blast, determine exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Do you want to get the word out about your business? Do you want to create more website traffic? Are you hoping for a serious boost in sales? Having a clear set of goals will help you write a more clear and concise message.
Keep it casual. When writing your email (or outsourcing it)) be sure to keep your tone and voice genuine and conversational. From the subject line to the entire body copy, you’ll be more likely to keep and engage readers if they aren’t immediately reminded of spam-like emails and asked for something. Humour can be effective as well, so long as it is professional and geared toward your target audience.
Personalize, personalize, personalize. While it can be time consuming, including a personalized greeting is a special touch that will be sure to impress your readers. Dear John, or Dear Mr. Smith, is a better approach than Dear Customer 10 times out of 10. Personalization will also create and nurture the ever-important level of trust that’s crucial to email marketing success.
Timing is everything. Maximize your email marketing efforts by scheduling them at regular intervals in your calendar. There is a fine line between too many and too few. If you don’t send emails on a regular basis, you run the risk of your customers forgetting about you. However, too many messages can be overkill. A monthly newsletter is a great way to stay in constant contact, and theme-specific emails (Christmas, birthdays if possible) are a great way to let your customers know you’re thinking about them.
Edit, edit, edit. Even the best writers need a second, third and fourth pair of eyes to revise body copy. Whether it’s a typo or a grammar error, a single mistake can seem unprofessional and destroy your credibility. There’s no going back, so make sure it’s absolutely perfect before you hit that Send button!
Test it out. Send a few test emails to employees or secondary email addresses to ensure the layout is what you’re looking for and all of your links are working. Since one of the main purposes of a newsletter is to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure that your links lead to the right places.
Make it easy to unsubscribe. Although it’s the opposite of what you want, offer a simple and straightforward “unsubscribe” path. Making it difficult can frustrate or annoy customers; you would much rather lose an email subscriber than a potential customer.
Keep it simple. With more people using mobile to read their messages, and more operating systems than ever, minimize the use of things like images and flash to ensure compatibility. Use bullets and numbering and let the short, concise copy speak for itself.
Keep it professional. Limit the use of ALL CAPITALS and exclamation points, and avoid the use of emoticons. As friendly and personable as you’re trying to be, you are sending a marketing email to a customer, not a quick note to a friend.
Figure out what your subscribers really want. If you take the time to do as much research about your target market as possible, you’ll be able to figure out what they’re looking for in a paint and decorating newsletter/email. And if you know what they want, you’ll be more likely to deliver.
Offer a clear and concise call to action. Powerful trigger phrases like “Buy Now,” “Look Here,” and “Order In Time For Christmas,” are all effective ways to encourage your readers to make the moves quickly instead of pushing the email aside.