If you have a small business, you’ve probably considered email marketing at some point or another. After all, it’s the 21st century–flyers and mailings just don’t cut it anymore. Plus, email marketing is a smart and efficient way to get the word out to your customers about new promotions or special opportunities. If you do it right, email marketing will help keep your loyal customers connected to your brand while transforming one-time purchasers into devotees. If you do it wrong, however, email marketing will be percieved as spam, and even enthusiastic customers will be turned off to your company. Email marketing is a powerful tool–use it wisely. These five tips (plus a few bonus tips) will help you craft email communications that are direct, appealing, and action-oriented.
1. Every email communication must include a clear, direct call to action. You can’t just let your customers know about a deal or promotion, you have to tell them exactly what to do next. Effective design, clear writing, and an engaging offer is not enough–you have to be clear about what the customer should do to take advantage of it. Do you want them to call to redeem their free prize? Click to receive 15% off their purchase? Reply for free shipping? The call to action is the most important part of a business email–and yet many small business owners are so focused on the design and wording of their email that they forget about the call to action entirely or give a muddled, confusing message. Not only should it be clear to the reader what he or she should do next, but the email should offer a clear, direct path towards that goal. Don’t just say, “Visit our website with this code for free shipping on your engagement ring,” offer a big, clear button or link that will take the reader directly to the relevant page on your site. And remember, each email can contain only one call to action. Even if you have multiple promotions or offers available, limit your email communication to a single, specific, and extremely clear goal.
Bonus tip: Convey your excitement about the promotion through engaging language, not multiple exclamation points, which are unprofessional.
2. Sweepstakes can be an exciting way to create buzz and build momentum about your small business, and email marketing is a great way to spread the word about your contest, raffle or sweepstakes, but remember–it’s quality, not just quantity that counts. Small business owners often focus exclusively on building their email subscription list, trying to amass thousands of email addresses through exciting sweepstakes. But be careful, because many of these new emails on your list may belong to the type of people who subscribe to dozens of sweepstakes and unsubscribe right away. Think about your product and your target demographic–if you are selling locker accessories, you may want thousands of teenage girls on your email list, but if you are selling loose diamonds, those thousands of teenagers probably won’t translate into too many sales. As much as you want to build your list, be selective enough to know that there is at least some chance that many of the names on your list will be interested in your product.
Bonus tip: Use your own name, or the name of the company in the “from” field–keeping it personal helps build the relationship between you and your customers.
3. Long before email communication was invented, small business owners were communicating with their customer base through bulk mailings and newsletters. Email marketing should follow the same basic rules as those forms of snail mail marketing. Your complete marketing strategy should consist of a number of tools, that will enable to reach every possible customer in the way that he or she prefers. Offer customers a choice between email or snail mail flyers and newsletters, and include other tools in your box of tricks as well. Send individual emails or letters in response to customer requests, or, if you are just starting out, consider contacting clients personally if you know they will be interested in a new product or promotion. Create and maintain a professional, functional website that will link all parts of your communication together. Send out newsletters if your business calls for it. Create a Facebook fan page and encourage customers to “like” it for special promotions or sweepstakes–you can then communicate with your Facebook fans in a more direct way. Consider purchasing a public mailing list to send out a mass mailing every so often–but beware sinking too much of your marketing budget into cold calling or mass mailings. Participate in online forums, networking sites, and fairs associated with your industry.
Bonus tip: Software on Microsoft Outlook and services like Constant Contact can help you send the same email to thousands of people, while making it appear that each email was sent individually.
4. How often should you send a marketing email? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about email marketing, and one of the most difficult to answer. If you annoy your customers with a barrage of emails, they will respond by unsubscribing. But if you don’t send emails frequently enough, you are missing valuable opportunities to communicate with your customers. The answer will depend on your type of business and the personalities of your target demographic. You may want to test several different email frequencies and ask a few customers to fill out a survey assessing their relative effectiveness. As a general rule of thumb, however, experts recommend sending something at least once a month, or every other month. If you wait three or more months, customers will often have forgotten about you and will wonder why you are emailing. If you email more frequently than once a month, all but the most devoted customers will consider it an inconvenience. Even if they like your content, you will lose subscribers.
Bonus tip: The subject line makes or breaks the email. Make it exciting, but make sure it is honest and clear, with no “bait and switch” that will make the customer feel duped.
5. When you include a large, prominent “click here” link or button on your email, you need to put plenty of thought into where that link will lead, i.e. the landing page. Don’t just send readers to your home page, where they will have to search for the specific deal or promotion you mentioned. A unique, tailored landing page will continue the guided call to action from the email and will lead the customer directly into the next step of the action. The landing page needs to look and feel like a direct continuation of the email, in terms of its design, tone and wording. The information on this page should be directly relevant to a reader of the email, and should not force him to fill out any extra forms or sign-ins. Moving from the click-through to the purchase or the next step should be easy– for every extra step or click, you will lose customers.
Bonus tip: Create an email template you like and use it every time. Consistency of your brand is a lot more important than stunning originality.
This article has been provided by Whiteflash.com, the savvy shopper’s source for quality certified loose diamonds, diamond jewelry, and custom engagement rings.
Popularity: 1% [?]