This month we are focusing on email marketing. Earlier this year, we conducted some research to understand more about some of the challenges our small business audience was facing this year. Not surprisingly, there were some great questions in there like: “How do I find more clients?”, “How do I increase my visibility?” and “Where do I focus my marketing efforts?”. This insight, combined with just over 60% of respondents saying they used email marketing to communicate with their target audience, seemed a good time to address some of the frequently asked email marketing questions I get asked by small business owners.
1. Is email marketing still important?
The short answer is yes. For any small business owner, this is such a gift, with a cited ROI of 40:1, it feels like an obvious tool to include in the marketing mix. There is no question that social media has taken some of the limelight in recent years, but the two channels can work very nicely together. Of course, as with many pieces of marketing activity, it is always good to put your client at the heart of what you do and communicate with them in the way they wish to be engaged with. We are seeing a rise in businesses using email to personalise content, creating a kind of VIP club if you like. Boots and Tesco are some great corporate examples that do this very well.
2. How do I grow my email list?
This is a great question, and this KPI should always be part of your ongoing marketing campaign planning. Creating a base with an engaged audience is worth a lot, it is better to have a smaller engaged base than a larger disengaged one. Growing the list often takes some time and patience. There are some ways you can achieve this organically, which include: adding a sign-up option to your social media channels or website and including a link at the bottom of your personal email. Other ideas include: creating a competition or lead magnet to share valuable content. If you need to source data quickly, you could buy a cold list, but proceed cautiously and ensure that the data you buy is what you need and that they adhere to GDPR regulation.
3. How often should I send emails?
When I start to work with a new client, they can sometimes be hesitant to send an email because they are keen not to be too salesy. The optimum frequency of your emails will vary by the business, for some, it could be monthly, and for others might be weekly. For service-based businesses, starting with a monthly newsletter is worthwhile, it lets your audience know you are there and starts the conversation. Always have a purpose to your email and aim to share useful and relevant information, you can always identify and automate other conversion paths at a later stage.
4. How long should my emails be?
A simple one to answer, be succinct. Think about the reader, they probably don’t have time to read war and peace from you, share enough content to capture their interest and then encourage them to link through to a resource base to discover more. As a rough guide, plan for your newsletter to be about 500 words in total. If it is a promotional or sales email, aim for less, about 200 words.
5. How do I write an impactful subject line?
It is important to focus on your email open rates, if your audience is not opening your emails, then the conversation is not even starting. We explore how to create impactful subject lines in one of our past blogs, click here to read our article “6 tips on how to write successful email subject lines”.
6. How do I know if my email is working?
One of the key things many small business owners forget to do is to track the impact of their marketing. Because email is a digital tool, there are some very quick ways to understand the impact your email has achieved, including sales, enquiries, open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates or website visitors.
7. Should I segment my email list?
Definitely, earlier this year, we looked at some of the forthcoming trends in the marketing world for the year ahead, and one trend that came up a lot was the idea of personalisation. One of the foundations of good marketing is to provide your target audience with something they need and want, by segmenting and personalising your list, you can become more effective in achieving this. Of course, how you segment your list will vary by business. For example, if you are a children’s nursery, you might segment your list by the child’s age. Alternatively, if you are a coach, you might segment your base by where you met your client or how you have worked with theml eg: 1:1 coaching or group training.
8. What is the best email deployment tool to use?
There are some great tools out there to help you deploy professional and smart-looking emails. Some low-cost tools that I use frequently include Mail Chimp, Mailer Lite and HubSpot. There are other providers who require some investment, including Constant Contact, Pardot, Keap and Drip. When you select any tool or technology for use in your small business, it is important to identify the functionality you are seeking first, when selecting an email deployment tool, there is then inevitably a question about if you need a CRM solution to complement it, and which is the best one for you.
We hope we have answered some of your burning small business email marketing questions. If you would like to read more about this topic, click here to read our ultimate email marketing guide for small business owners or click here to check out how we can support our clients with their email marketing requirements. And, of course, if you would like some help building your email marketing strategy, Mail Chimp training or implementing your first newsletter, please get in touch to arrange a discovery call.