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23 best practices for email marketing

Make sure you're up to date on the latest best practices for this strategy.

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Stay up to date in the email industry by reading the top blogs by expert marketers.
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How to create a email marketing campaign
Learn the ropes on how to conduct a profitable blast to your list.
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What is email marketing
New to this strategy? Take the time to read the basics on how to conduct this strategy.
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Is Email Marketing Effective 

For Your Small Business?

If you’re thinking to connect more to your customers, and drive in more sales, email marketing is one of the best ways to go forward for your small business. It’s simple and it’s a great way to tell your visitors that you can help them.

Email marketing is for everyone who needs to connect with customers. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are running; if you’re looking at a great way to connect with customers, email marketing can help.

The procedure is simple – you send out mails to potential and existing customers telling them about the products and services you have to offer. The customers open your mail and if they love what you’ve to offer, they buy it. Given the right methods, email marketing can help you reach out to thousands of interested customers easily.

Check out our Top 10 Email Marketing Software Comparison Table to see the best tools from a bird's eye view...

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Why Should Your Small Business Use Email Marketing?

As many as a quarter of businesses can open up your email, if you send one to them.
Additionally, your email marketing strategy can be as much as 40 times better than Facebook or Twitter when acquiring customers.

Engaging email marketing campaigns require you to be different. Every small business needs a good email marketing strategy to reach out to customers. Here is one of the best email marketing methods that you can use to help your mails be discovered and read by those who matter.

If the customer knows you, they are 70% more likely to open your mail than when they do not.

So, what works?

When compared with monetary terms, email marketing is considered to be the cheapest path that is available to the marketers. Email marketing doesn’t mean that you keep on sending bulk messages to everyone.

Separate your customers - it could be by income level or their previous history. Every email that goes out needs to be addressed to a specific audience.

Often, it is the proposal that counts the most. Email marketing can be useful when you are advertising low price stuff where the value of the creation does not rationalize the more costly advertising paths. Here is how you can benefit with an email marketing approach.

1.) Email Marketing is Cost Effective
Email Marketing won’t cost you as much as direct marketing would. Moreover, when you opt for email marketing, your target audience is narrowed.

You know whom to send across your message and whom to set aside. You know who would be interested in knowing about your business and would thus brand loyalty by giving them specific information. If you want your business to grow and keep your marketing expenses low, email marketing is the way to go.

2.) Email Marketing lets you track data and information
With email marketing, you can track your customers activity like; who opens your email, who goes through the links specified in the email as well as how many conversations actually turn into sales. Email Marketing lets you know who marks your email as spam, how many unsubscribe and how many forward within their circles and hence expanding your reach.

3.) You can schedule your work
No one can possibly schedule his/her direct marketing campaigns but one can possibly schedule emails week and months in advance; hence making email marketing not just cost effective but also less time consuming.

4.) The response is FAST
The email marketing process is immediate. Hence you don’t have to wait for days or weeks or even months for your customer to reach you after looking at an ad or hoarding.

How do You Improve Your Return on Investment

Email marketing yields as much as 4,300% Return On Investment if you’re doing business in the United States.

In fact, another statistic suggests that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you would be earning back a whopping $41. If that doesn’t mean some solid ROI, what does?

First, you need to know why you want to start this marketing endeavour – your goal should be in mind. Email marketing presents a great way to spread awareness among your customers. Email marketing is more than newsletters – you don’t just write and send off everything. Today, the concept is to personalize your emails and send them in a timely, targeted manner. Here’s what you essentially need to do:

1.) Plan the content

Why do you need email marketing? It’s important to outline your goals first. Understand what you’re looking to do – are you looking for increasing sales or building awareness? Are you looking to nurture leads? Getting the facts straight and out of the way is the first step.

Remember that email marketing is a lot more than a newsletter and you cannot afford to send simple email bursts that just put across a mundane call to action. It’s more about sending timely, targeted and focused emails to your customers today, addressing their needs.

2.) Brainstorm
It’s important to brainstorm your plan daily, to ensure that you’re on the right track. You can:
- Make an inventory of the content you already have with you
- Come up with different content ideas and brainstorm as to what your customers problems are
- Ask customers what they expect from you in the emails itself
- Take a look at the email campaigns of you competitors to know what can work for you (and cannot).

3.) Connect with your customers by having a survey
Include a survey link in your mail itself. The survey can be just a two minute questionnaire. You can create surveys easily using services like ActiveTrail helps understand everything you need to know. It can carry out surveys and even do some solid A/B testing. You can create different types of surveys easily, and send out different versions of the same email, to know which one works better.

ActiveTrail

A/B testing is one of the best ways to know what works best for you, and involves using two or different versions of the same text, in different ways to understand customer behavior and know which version drives in better engagement.

Email Marketing Success Stories

There have been a number of email marketing success stories. Evans Cycles for instance, before the start of the Tour De France, sent out a mail to all their subscribers to support the British Sky team, offering a discount for the Team Sky Clothing Range and a Twitter competition, which was majorly successful

What Evans did was cleverly use Tour De France to market its own product successfully, all with the help of email newsletters.

Email Example

Costa Coffee did a similar campaign to sell their ice tea coffees, but they made their newsletter to coincide with the sun replacing the wet weather at the beginning of June. 

 

Their email had animated GIF's of ice cubes falling, and with the hot summer sun, people did feel the need of cooling down- which meant a direct increase in their sales.

Gif Email Example

There are plenty of real life email marketing success stories. And you wouldn't even know how easy it is to create yours.

How do you Design the Right Strategy?

1. Create a story
Have a story to tell. Each of your newsletters need to connect with the customers. You can have the ‘you’ tone, just like this article here. Talk to the readers and share experiences – everybody likes to read a story. You can talk about the experiences of another customer or a story telling about the effects of a disease. If the story can relate to the customer, they’re going to read it.

2. Keeping it real and personalized
Do not go off track. Be on track – understand who your customers are and share stories that they can relate to. Do not go astray, rather focus on things that are real. Personalization is the key.

Try to have the message directed towards the recipient. So, instead of Dear Members, you can start with Dear ________, where ________ is the recipient name. It is pretty easy to have the newsletter programmed to include the recipient name at the beginning, so it really isn’t that big a deal. Try to:

- Talk to your readers as if you’re talking to them with their problems
- Have a personalized tone
- Identify with the reader problems
- Be to the point and use less of fluff – nobody likes to read long sentences.

3. Short and sweet
Sometimes, a picture can tell a thousand words and a short newsletter, make someone experience some deep feelings. Keep the newsletter short and sweet, just like you would like to read it. You should keep the subject line below 40 characters or your subject title may not even be displayed properly in the recipient’s mail.

4. Optimize with media
You’re sending the newsletter in emails, so why not use images? Make sure your readers can view it too, with mobile optimization. I am sure many of your readers would be opening up the newsletter from their smart phone. Here is why you need to look at mobile optimization:

- Mobile friendly versions lead to more conversions. People these days to read more on the go, like on the subway while waiting for their train.
- Smart phone users would probably not look at your emails twice if it isn’t mobile optimized.
- You can damage your reputation without the right mobile experience strategy.

Use interactive content, it dramatically increases the audience engagement rate. You can use tools like Scratch-It to display your emails in a truly interactive way, allowing you to physically interact with your customers as well. Interactions almost always leads to more conversions.

Reveal Email Marketing

You would probably find the best time to send out the email can be during the weekends (or maybe even daily, depending on your business model), where your readers will get more time to read what they’ve in main.

How do you start?

So, how do you start off with your email marketing game? There are a number of software available online that can help you do it.

Active Campaign is one site that can help you to do everything from sending your emails to automating the process. You can decide when you want to send the email and to whom, and the system would do it automatically for you. Additionally, you would get important statistics including the number of people who opened your emails. You can integrate Active Campaign with your personal email as well, to help get more leads.

ActiveCampaign

The other popular option is StreamSend, a software that can help you send mails to your social media fans. 

 

Every organization will have social media channels, where interested people are sure to pose a few queries or interact with the company page – and this software helps you target these people. You’re more likely to get a response from them, since they already know what you’ve to offer.

StreamSend

Newsletter2Go is your choice if you want to send emails to your customers in the form of traditional newsletters. They may not work for all businesses but they sure are a good option, especially if you are looking to engage audiences with a newsletter.

Newsletter2Go

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your customers and bring in more sales. If you're looking for a new marketing strategy that will cost less but give more ROI, this is one of the best methods you would come across.

Every small business stands to benefit from it as it doesn't cost much and if you can reach out to the right audience, the ROI will increase significantly. This is because with traditional modes of advertising you would probably be reaching out to thousands of customers, of whom only a few might be interested in what you've to offer. 

 

With email marketing on the other hand, you have people who are really interested in what you have to offer, and the only question is can you convert that interest into sales?

If you're looking to know more about the basics of email marketing, this YouTube video can help.

Check out our Top 10 Email Marketing Software Comparison Table to see the best tools from a bird's eye view...

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