Expand Your Reach and Promote Your Business through Email Marketing

Open envelope with paper coming out sumbolizing email.

Did you know that 80% of retail professionals see more repeat customers through email marketing? In fact, you are more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. Whether you’re running an eCommerce store or brick and mortar store, you can promote your business and benefit from email marketing. As small business owners – regardless of industry – email marketing can help you build relationships with your customers and keep you growing, which is what we love to see!

Return on Investment

Email Marketing boasts some of the highest ROI (Return on Investment) rates compared to other marketing strategies. On average, for every $1 spent on email marketing an average of $44 is made in return. Still need more convincing? It’s so easy to get started with email marketing; we’ve broken it down into 4 easy steps that you can use to launch your first campaign. Those steps are strategizing, grow your list, design your emails, and track your progress.

Chess pieces behind "STRATEGIZE."

First things first, strategize!

The first step in your email marketing strategy is choosing your platform and creating your plan. There are lots of platforms out there and what works for one business may not work for another. Are you familiar with the platform MailChimp? This is a great place to start for small businesses. We highly recommend MailChimp because it’s user friendly, has great deliverability rates, has great segmentation and integration capabilities. Best of all, it’s free until your list passes 2,000 subscribers. There are also other great platforms out there to work with as well. Another great one we work with a lot is Remarkety, which integrates well with many eCommerce platforms and has advanced segmenting options. If you’re not sure which email marketing platform is best for you, don’t be afraid to ask us for guidance, we would be happy to help!

Once you’ve chosen the platform you want to work with, you’ll need to create a plan. Think about the types of emails you want to send. These can be promotional or advertising sales you’re having such as seasonal, holiday, special event emails, or loyalty emails. You’ll also want to consider how often you will be sending emails. Once you’ve thought about all this then you can start building your list and designing your emails.

Remember: Every email you send should provide value for your customers!

Graphs behind "GROW & SEGMENT."

But wait, where are your customers?

If you’re just starting out then you probably don’t have any email addresses and will need to start somewhere. Warning: Do not go buy a list! You want your audience to be interested in you and your business so that they stay engaged with your email marketing efforts. A purchased list is typically full of fake, unused, or spam email addresses that will never convert.

So, what’s the best way to grow a quality email list for your business? Start with your own customers! There are a few different ways to collect email addresses from your current customers. You can ask for email addresses on your website, in your store when they make a purchase, at events by asking for business cards, or even through Facebook giveaways. This is a great way to build a quality list because these customers are already interested in your business!

Segmentation

Once you’ve built a good sized list, you can start breaking that list down by certain criteria, also known as segmentation. Segmentation is organizing your list based on behaviors, preferences, engagement, demographics, and more to get the most bang for your buck. Segmenting out your email list helps you send your subscribers more relevant emails that they are more likely to be interested in, and ultimately they will be more likely to convert. There are different ways to go about doing this, and different platforms have different capabilities so it’s best to learn what works for you and your business. For example, many platforms offer the ability to segment based on age, which would be great if you’re marketing to a certain age group.

A cube behind "DESIGN."

Let’s move on to the exiting part, actually designing your emails.

This is where the magic happens! We always recommend keeping up with trends in email marketing and incorporating what’s currently popular into your own designs, so you know your viewers will be interested.

You want your email to stand out from the crowd, but you also don’t want to spend a ton of time creating it every month. A template may be a great place to start, and most are pretty customizable. You can make your email stand out with graphics, colors and content as well. Just remember to keep your designs minimal, as overwhelming colors and content can distract the viewer and cause them to abandon the email without taking any action.

If you’re looking for something more custom, you can always design your own email. Most platforms use “drag and drop” style editors where they have pre-built elements such as images and text fields that you can drag and drop onto your canvas to create your layout. You can also use HTML coding language to build and design your emails if you’re familiar with HTML. But if you’re not familiar with HTML don’t be scared, it’s not a requirement for most email marketing platforms.

When designing your email, there are a few important elements to include no matter what your business is and no matter what you’re trying to advertise.

First up, design your email’s subject line. This is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and bump up those open rates. This does get difficult, since your viewers are getting bombarded by sales emails on a daily basis. The use of emoji’s has become extremely popular and has been proved to increase open rates. Questions and numbers have also been proven to get higher open rates.

Another great idea is to make the subject lines, or even the emails themselves, personal. Many platforms allow you to enter shortcodes with personal elements such as the recipient’s first name, which entices people to open them by adding that little extra personal touch.

You can also capture your audience’s attention by keeping your subject lines short and to the point. Longer subject lines can get confusing and hard to read. If humor is part of your brand, then use that personality in your emails, since that helps with brand recognition and tends to be more engaging.

Your email subject line can also get you marked as spam, so avoid using elements such as all caps or too many exclamation marks. For example, “ACT NOW BEFORE IT’S OVER!!!!”

So now that you know some tips on how to improve the open rate of your emails, what about keep your audience engaged?

Many email marketing tips talk about improving opening rates, but not keeping the attention of your audience once the email is opened. What’s the best way to do this? Believe it or not, keep your emails short! It’s suggested to keep the email at “Twitter length” and use bullet points to break it up. The message that you’re trying to convey needs to be clear and concise so that your subscribers get the message, and act on it.

Speaking of “acting on it”, let’s talk about your best friend, your CTA (Call to Action). This is the end goal, what you want the customer to do, or the action you want the customer to take after opening your email. Your CTA should stand out from the rest of the email and clearly state what you want the customer to do. Often it is a button such as “learn more” or “Shop now” or “free tacos here”. In order for the customer to want to click on it, it needs to grab attention. This is where you can get creative. It can be a different color, big, an outline, a different font, pretty much anything that stands out from the rest of your email that clearly tells the viewer what they should do next.

When designing your email, it’s also important to think about where your audience is looking at your email. What device do you usually check your email on? According to Campaign Monitor, mobile is the most popular device for email opens and interactions. It’s important to optimize your emails for all devices, especially mobile; otherwise, you could be missing out on a large number of conversions.

So, how do you design for mobile? It’s not as intimidating as you may think. Most platforms already have built in preview modes where you can see what your email will look like on a mobile device. Use this to your advantage! The biggest thing to keep in mind is that screens are smaller, so graphics will be scaled down and text may be hard to read. Keep in mind when designing those graphics to make the font stand out from backgrounds, and be big enough to read on mobile devices.

If you’re unsure of where to create your graphics, one of the best free tools out there that we would recommend is Canva. Canva makes it easy to create graphics without having any graphic design experience or software. They also have their own stock library of free photos and templates you can use as well, although it’s better to use your own product photos as much as possible.

Aside from mobile, your audience is also using different mailboxes, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook. These mailboxes all load emails differently and have different settings and themes, so it’s important to optimize your emails for different situations such as images not loading right away. This where your content, image alt tags, subject lines, and call to actions should convey your message clearly even without the pretty pictures. This is especially important for customers who may be colorblind or visually impaired and have screen readers. They need to know what to do to.

Graph and a clipboard behind "TRACK & TEST."

Now, the real fun begins. Time to test and track your email marketing efforts.

Your email marketing efforts are wasted if you don’t know how well it’s working for you. One of the best ways of knowing what works for your audience is by using A/B testing, which is splitting your email audience into multiple segments and finding out what versions of your emails provide the best conversion rates. You can really dive deep into variations when you start testing, but remember to test one small variation at a time. Testing too many variations at once makes it hard to determine what is making your audience convert or not convert.

Some elements that everyone should test include subject lines, call to actions, day of the week you are sending, and the time of day you are sending. These all make a difference and can give you an idea of how to optimize your efforts for maximum return.

Any email marketing platform you choose will have some form of tracking built in, but it’s up to you to determine your most important goal. Whether it is open rate, number of clicks, or orders placed, your goal depends on your business and what your emails are about. Pay attention to all the metrics your platform tracks, so that you can determine how your email marketing efforts are paying off. The most important metric you should pay attention to is your open rate, which is the number of viewers that actually open your email. This is a great number to watch as you want people to open your email!

Congratulations! You’ve now learned the basics of how to get started with email marketing. If you’re ever unsure about anything or need help with your email marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help!

Kaitlyn Anthony

As our newest graphic designer, Kaitlyn is always looking for new ways to creatively meet the needs of clients through design. Kaitlyn continuously looks for opportunities to learn something new and stay up-to-date on current design trends. In her spare time, Kaitlyn can be found exploring the great outdoors with her camera in one hand and an iced coffee in the other.

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