Rookie-friendly Guide to Email Marketing for Small Business
Small businesses always have a hard time finding customers and keeping stable relationships with them. On one hand, a lack of expertise and experience can take its toll, on the other hand, not every business owner is ready to continuously pour tons of money until it starts paying off.
When it comes to resources, every shot must count. And it’s no wonder that those who are new to the game choose not to go into off-the-beaten paths but instead opt for something more reliable and proven.
This is why email marketing is still such a powerful means for small businesses to successfully enter their niche and make revenue without risking too much.
Benefits of email marketing for small business
Email marketing is versatile and can serve different purposes depending on the needs of a small business. If it’s executed well, you can yield solid results and potentially outplay your competitors.
(Source - Medium.com)
So let’s dive into what makes email marketing so crucial for small businesses.
With such an immense diversity of products and services, it’s quite easy to get lost which makes it harder for small businesses to be remembered and recognized. But this is what email marketing can do so well. When crafting emails for your users or potential customers, you can develop your own unique voice that will stand out among the others.
And that can be pretty much anything. Goofy photos that will lighten up your readers, a special greeting, unusual email structure. Or even a mixture of those. The world is your oyster here.
Feel free to experiment to see what works best for you. At some point, you should find your cup of tea.
Keeping customers in the loop
Reaching out to the customers to update them on any news or issues that may arise is a great way to demonstrate how much you care about people that use your products. Not only does it prevent any eventual misunderstandings but it also builds your credibility as a brand.
Plus, you can spark interest by notifying your customers about future updates or prompt them to gather a certain amount of, say, tweets to launch a new product faster. This is a great way to skyrocket your online visibility.
To grow, you need to see your mistakes and improve them. With email marketing, you have a priceless opportunity to both say what you need and get feedback.
By encouraging your customers to express their opinion, you let them know that they are part of something bigger and even can be heard and listened to. Also, if you do a great job talking to your contact base, eventually, they will end up talking about you to their family, friends, colleagues, etc. This kind of advertising, aka virality, is your most successful marketing.
Turn your customers into your brand’s advocates.
Maybe this is one of the reasons, why email marketing is so popular among the US small business owners.
(Source - marketingcharts.com)
Email marketing as a channel shows the highest ROI — 4400%. You get 44 for every dollar spent.
In 2018, all digital marketers, at Chicago Digital Summit, agreed that email marketing is also the best channel for winning customers back.
Email marketing tips for small businesses
As much as great email marketing can be, you will need to cultivate a certain set of skills and know what you want to achieve before it starts to bring benefits.
Here’s a short checklist for people who want to take their hand at email marketing.
Define clear goals for your email marketing
First of all, study your weak points and create a roadmap for your small business. Understanding what needs to be done is imperative.
Do you need to get more referrals? Or you have too many churned customers that seem to vanish without any particular reason? Or maybe you just need to figure out the most efficient way of communicating with your customers to get their opinion?
Whatever it is, it has to be turned into a clear and well-defined goal to pursue. As they say, the metric that doesn’t get measured doesn’t improve.
Start building your email list
When you settled for certain objectives, it will be easier for you to understand what groups of customers to target. Applying this knowledge, you can build a juicy and quality email list of people that find the content of your email interesting and actually useful.
And there is no shortage for ways to build an email list.
You can, for example:
organize an event (even a local one) and gather emails of the participants;
invite your site visitors to subscribe to your blog, etc.;
launch a giveaway;
offer something in exchange for an email (like a free sample of your product, etc.).
Once you have a considerable number of recipients, you can go onto the next step.
Map out your email marketing funnel
Now that you located the right kind of people, there’s still one thing left to do to get to know them better. Which is to find out at what stage of marketing funnel they are at the moment.
Commonly, when speaking about modern marketing funnels, there are five main stages:
(Source - the AWeber blog)
- Awareness. A customer knows about possible solutions;
- Consideration. A customer is ready to buy and looks for the best option;
- Conversion. A customer has made their decision and opted for a specific product;
- Loyalty. A customer is satisfied with the choice and wants to stick to the product;
- Advocacy. A customer is an avid user of the product and recommends it to everyone.
Obviously, every group that goes into one of the aforementioned brackets needs and deserves a unique approach. Mostly because they all have different needs.
Email content creation: design and messaging
At this point, your goal is to come up with compelling text and great visual formatting. In 2019, your every email is your visit card. So neglecting the opportunity to look fresh and professional is an unforgivable crime for every small business owner.
One way or the other, your customers might get loads of similar emails daily. And your dedication to making your email top-notch can be a game-changing factor in your success. Otherwise, you are running a risk of being buried in spam with the rest of a gray majority.
It’s all about your own vision of your email marketing campaign. But there are always golden rules to follow:
keep your emails short and informative;
try to personalize your emails, greet by the name, etc.;
make sure your subject lines are creative but coherent with the content;
use only legible fonts;
don’t overdo with the visuals, sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple for the sake of convenience;
create your emails mobile-friendly.
Track and improve results
With email marketing, it’s virtually impossible to get everything right with the first attempt. You will likely need to polish your email templates several times before they get really effective.
In this process, you would need to track specific metrics that give you a picture of how well your emails are performing.
Here are the key factors you need to keep an eye on:
Best Email marketing software for small business
Sure, creating a killer email is not a walk in the park. But it’s much easier if you know what kinds of tools work well for small business owners.
And if you are willing to create a lean and nicely looking email template, use our email template builder (get an account with Stripo).
The benefits of our tool are hard to overlook. We offer a handy editor that will allow you to build email templates on the fly.
Some of the notable features include:
work automation — we reduce the time you spend on email creation up to 60%;
300 prepared templates for different purposes;
newbie-friendliness, no HTML skills are required;
personal content library where you keep the most used elements of your emails;
fully responsive email designs;
interactive elements to embed in our templates;
HTML code editor for worldly-wise email designers and coders;
integration with more than 30 email services and email clients.
All in all, it’s a potent tool for every small business out here that wants to expand via email marketing.
Email Marketing & automation software
Automation has become an essential part of pretty much every email campaign, as it ensures that your customers get the needed information on every step of their journey. Whether this approach is successful or not depends a lot not only on your skills but also on what kind of automation software you use.
Seeing that email marketing often requires tons of tweaks and customizations, it’s critical that you have a tool that doesn’t limit your ideas with poor functionality.
One of the solid and reasonably priced solutions for email automation is HelpCrunch.
With a rich variety of options, the tool allows you to:
manage and execute one-time campaigns;
target your customers precisely by applying attributes;
send instant email follow-ups;
set up email forwarding to your HelpCrunch account;
configure email notifications.
If it’s your first time configuring automated emails, HelpCrunch might be your best bet.
It’s also one of the hottest Intercom alternatives on the market right now allowing you to not only automate your emails but live chat messages as well.
Another great alternative for email automation is eSputnik.
The highlighted advantages are:
- merged channels into one system (Email, SMS, Mobile, etc.);
fast and reliable message delivery;
complex and trigger-based email scenarios;
marketing consulting services.
This solution can be a great addition to your toolset.
To sum up
Small businesses that only started making their way through to success are bound to encounter different issues and obstacles. Starting from how to grow the customer base to how to get the most of the existing one.
Although there are plenty of techniques and tricks for business growth, not all of them are applicable to small businesses. But email marketing offers endless possibilities to decrease the churn rate, gain new customers, generate word-of-mouth, build credibility, and create a unique image of your brand.
Daniil Kopilevych — Growth Marketing Manager at HelpCrunch.com customer communication platform.