In view of all the social media options for engaging with customers, isn’t email kind of a dinosaur by now? If you find yourself thinking this way, you’re not alone. But you’re also incorrect! Email is still the #1 way to connect with customers. It’s easy, fast, targeted and inexpensive. The big difference now is that it’s mobile. Virtually everyone’s checking email day in and day out. But they’re most likely to be doing it on a smartphone or other mobile device.
The message for small business owners:
- Keep email in your marketing toolbox.
- Optimize email for mobile.
For the time being, at least, email marketing is likely to be the major driver of your sales, according to an article on Small Business Trends. Best case scenario: Integrate your email and social media efforts for consistent and sustained customer engagement. One (email) will net more short-term conversions (Would you believe up to 7 percent by some estimates?), while the other (social media) is more of a longer-term, bigger-picture strategy.
As you’re planning your next email campaign, consider the following tips for getting the most out of it:
- Post subscription calls to action on blog, website and social media pages and make it easy to subscribe.
- Create the kind of content subscribers want. Ask them when they sign up.
- Work from an editorial calendar.
- Keep it short and scannable.
- Avoid becoming spam – check regulations regularly.
You’ll definitely be learning and refining your email approaches as you go. Forbes.com offers some additional tips for you to use in crafting email campaigns that are read—and that work.
- Tell subscribers what’s coming.
- Make sure your design is consistent with and reinforces your brand.
- Test designs and formats, if at all possible.
- Optimize for mobile! This is a non-negotiable, since email has transitioned from a desktop-based channel to a mobile one.
- Make sure your tone is conversational and approachable.
- Send emails only when you have something to say.
- Make it shareable.
- Track your stats—and adjust your approach accordingly.
An iContact study says that small businesses typically spend up to 15 percent of their budgets on email marketing, and over half the survey respondents said they plan to increase their spending on it. With this kind of activity, wouldn’t you think that businesses execute their email campaigns pretty much flawlessly? San Diego-based Bop Design says otherwise and suggests ways to avoid common email marketing mistakes:
- Don’t send email to people who don’t know or care about your business. To them, it’s all spam.
- Always send personalized messages asking recipients to opt in.
- Don’t send a generic one-size-fits-all. Segment so that every email feels like a personal communication.
- Be sure to format and optimize correctly for mobile.
- Always make sure your content conveys value, is first rate and is relevant to your audience.
- Always include a call to action for what you want the recipient to do next, as in read a blog post or download a white paper.
Image courtesy of Chaiwat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net