If you're a small business owner - whatever your industry is - you may desperately try to foster better customer relationships and build a stronger brand to help your business keep growing. But, a question often comes in the first place before finding a solution:
"What tool would help generate higher revenue but doesn't cost much to use?" - The answer for you is Email Marketing.
Small business owners often think that email marketing isn't effective and just useful for the big guys. That is a wrong perception because email marketing is actually a highly cost-effective solution. In fact, you can get an ROI of over 4400% with the tool. Even little guys with relatively small budgets can profit substantially from using email marketing.
With billions of people using emails for their everyday life, you have masses of opportunities to engage with new and existing audiences on the channel. Email can create lasting, profitable, and meaningful relationships between your small business and customers when appropriately utilized.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's see how to do small business email marketing with this article!
What is email marketing?
In definition, email marketing is the action of sending marketing messages to prospects and current customers via email in order to educate, build loyalty, earn new customers, and, of course, sell.
Email is an "owned" digital channel, which means you have full control of the content and distribution. Email marketing typically works best when used to provide personal, relevant messages to a list of recipients who are segmented into alike groups.
Email is an especially important tool for small eCommerce businesses, as users can use it to send transactional, lifecycle, and promotional messages (which will be covered in more detail later).
Why is email marketing important for a small business?
On the surface, email marketing is exactly what it sounds like: sending marketing content via email. But there's more to email marketing than that.
As a small or new business, you probably shouldn't spend a lot of money on video production or TV ads. Still, many companies decide to throw money out of the window with fancy advertising and glamorous images without knowing the guaranteed results. Even a parade on the main street would not provide you with the data you need.
On the other side, email marketing as a cost-effective solution can fulfill your needs as a small business by:
- Sending personalized messages; based on their needs
- Reaching out to your target audience
- Promoting relevant services to them
- Getting actionable data for further strategies
- And more.
According to research, email is 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in gaining new customers, and the number of global email users is expected to reach 4.3 billion in 2023. Also, business and marketing professionals all over the world agree that email marketing is an effective marketing tool.
For a small business, email marketing can be useful for many activities, such as:
Sending promotional emails or new releases
Welcoming new users
Building a relationship with leads
Upselling existing customers
Automating marketing efforts
Personalizing the shopping experience
And the list can go longer depending on your business objectives and choice of tools.
Another thing to consider is the decline in the effectiveness of other marketing channels. Facebook has reduced organic searches for businesses, while Google has made it harder to get a good ranking. More than ever, your customers on these platforms find it harder to reach you, and you may be forced to pay a higher cost. Meanwhile, the cost of email marketing has remained pretty consistent.
How to do small business email marketing?
Staring a successful email strategy for small businesses is not that complicated, and I will explain to you in more detail with these simple steps:
Step 1: Build your email list
Before doing anything with emails, you need some contacts in the first place to send emails to.
In order to do that, you need to have a signup form and place it on your eCommerce website, social media, or anywhere else you see fit. This form should include text that explains what visitors are signing up for when they provide their emails.
When creating your email subscription form, make sure to avoid common mistakes so you can attract the largest number of subscribers. You will be able to reach a larger audience and grow your small business with email marketing. The common mistakes for a sign up form are:
Have poorly timing
Have too many CTAs
Require too much information
Use bad colors
Use irrelevant CTAs
Also, if you operate in the EU or have customers from the EU, make sure to follow GDPR guidelines for email compliance. Or if there are any other email rules and guidelines from your country, follow them.
Additionally, you can build your email list by asking directly in your offline stores or ask customers when they purchase an item. I'm highly against the idea of buying an email list since this can lead to your IP or email address being blacklisted.
Step 2: Decide the types of emails to send
Now that you've grown your list of contacts for a while, it's time to decide the types of emails you want to send.
Your email types will depend on the type of small business you have. A monthly email newsletter is always safe to start with. In the newsletter, you can include new product releases, user guides, blog posts, events, deals, and more.
Some other example email types might include:
Promotional emails for sales or special offers
Loyalty programs for the most dedicated customers
Seasonal messages (for special events or holidays like Christmas, Halloween, etc.)
Transactional emails (purchase receipts, appointment notifications, etc.)
Depending on your type of business and the marketing strategy going on at time, you can decide on the types of emails to send. You also want to think about the timing of these emails, since too many emails at the same time can send your emails to the spam box, which reduces your emails' chance of getting opened by a lot.
Step 3: Create your email content and designs
After planning out the email types you want to send, you need to actually create the content and design your emails.
The key to this step is to always keep your email campaign's goals and your customer in mind. You want your message to be clear along with the action you expect subscribers to take. An unclear email will result in poor opening rate, click-through rate, and even people unsubscribing from your list.
Crafting the email content
The best way to craft targeted and well-made content is by segmenting your email contacts into smaller groups with similar interests.
If you often send mass emails to all of your contacts, it would be nearly impossible to create a message that is relevant for every subscriber. After all, each consumer has different needs and problems. But if you're able to group contacts with similar interests and needs together, this challenge goes away.
There are many ways that you can segment contacts depending on data (which you may already have), including:
Demographic data (age group, gender preference, geography)
Past purchase behavior (number of purchases, preferred product categories, whether or not past purchases were during sales or promotions)
Email engagement (subscribers who open all of your emails vs. those who never open an email)
Brand loyalty (longtime customers, VIPs, new leads)
Once you break out your subscribers into small groups like this, it will be much easier to craft messages that resonate with your audience and increase the engagement.
Designing the emails
Another important element of creating your emails for an email marketing campaign is the design.
Small businesses often get over complicated with designing emails. But you don't need to be over the top with the email designs. Emails are meant to save time, so don't waste your effort trying to create a perfect email with your monthly newsletter. Readers wouldn't have time to check out the new Mona Lisa in their inboxes.
When thinking about designing emails, make sure to add a clear call-to-action (CTA) button that corresponds to the offer you have in the email and communicate with readers about what you want them to do.
CTA buttons often send readers to your website to:
Make a new purchase using a discount code
Read an article being promoted
Browse through new products on your eCommerce site
Download an eBook that your team wrote
Whatever you're offering with your emails, make sure to have a clear CTA for the readers. If you're not sure about how to design a good email, try to look at some email templates for inspiration.
Read more: Best design tips for your newsletter emails
Also, avoid including more than one main CTA, which can get confusing for the audience. If you have a few goals in mind for an email campaign (promoting multiple articles or multiple promotions), have a design hierarchy that lets readers know which is the most important. Your click rates and conversions would improve thanks to this email design.
Step 4: Send and analyze the performance
You are not done once you hit the 'send' button.
Email marketing is a unique opportunity to learn more from your customers. With email marketing tools, you will be able to analyze the performance of your email campaigns regarding your preset KPIs for email performance.
If you notice certain email campaigns perform poorly with the audience, you can look for new ways to improve the next campaign.
Some foundation metrics to look at an analyze your email marketing performance are:
Open and click-through rates
List size and growth
Deliverability or bounce rate
A/B test results
Return on investment
The best email marketing tool for small businesses
With all the steps above, you need an email marketing tool to put your strategy into action. There are many robust and cost effective email services available, so you can always switch providers if you don't feel like you've picked the right one.
However, I would like to recommend a well-reviewed email solution that fits perfectly with small business' needs - AVADA Email Marketing. With the app, you can quickly start running email campaigns and driving sales.
With an intuitive user interface, even non-technical people can start using AVADA Email Marketing easily. And for those who don't know much about designing email, the premade templates in the app can help them set up good-looking email marketing campaigns in no time.
Additionally, you can easily control your email list with automated data synchronization from your online store. Then, segment them based on your own preferences and target groups with unique messages to maximize your results.
The features that AVADA Email Marketing has are:
Smart email editor: Drag-and-drop features to create beautiful emails without any design or technological skills. All you need to do is drag and drop elements into your emails.
Pre-made templates: No need to waste hours designing emails, use the premade templates for all types of emails inside the app and use that time to think of what to communicate with your subscribers.
Segmentation: Group your contact list in various categories based on different conditions such as order status, subscription/unsubscription, product attributes, etc.
Automation workflow: Create email series or use premade workflows to automate your emails and get the best results. You have workflows for welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, cross-sell and upsell emails, etc.
Popups: With Exit-intent popups and Spin to win, you can easily collect emails from your website's visitors and offer discounts to convert them into paying customers.
Advanced reports: Keep track of your email performance through reports with advanced analytics. You can see KPIs on email like opened, clicked, revenue, unsubscribed, and more.
AVADA Email Marketing is free to start using with 15,000 emails per month and 1,000 subscribers - a perfect list's number for small businesses. After that, if you want to scale with the app, you can send unlimited emails and have pricing based on the number of contacts you have. The pro pricing starts at $9/month with 1000+ contacts.
Email marketing tips for small businesses
Now that you know how to do email marketing and which tool to use for your small business, what's next? Of course is to get better and better results
When running email campaigns, routine is the enemy. You should always look for new email marketing tips that can be the secret weapon to unlock the true potential of your emails. Inboxes are going to be a battlefield since so many other companies and competitors are bombarding your subscribers with emails too.
Here are some powerful small business email marketing tips to help you win the inbox war:
Map the customers journeys
Before putting down your email content and structure, you need to have a clear goal in mind.
Your email campaign goals can be:
Customer upsell or cross-sell
Increase free to paid conversion
Improve customer experience
Build a sales pitch
Regardless of the industry, your emails get sent with one and only goal - nurturing leads and turning them into loyal customers. Your email workflow often consists of 3-5 emails. These emails follow the customer journey to lead to the initial conversion and call-to-actions for other offers.
It is important to have this journey out and then create your email campaigns around it.
Make emails mobile-friendly and optimized for purchases
In a world where most people own a smartphone, your email design absolutely needs to respond to all types of screens (desktop, tablet, mobile) that your target audience is using and rendering to provide the best experience.
The last thing you want is your subscribers having difficulties reading your emails. Just one negative experience is all it takes for a consumer to lose trust in your brand. More than that, people aren't just reading emails on smartphones – they're also using them to make purchases. So, any webpages your email links to should be fully optimized for mobile conversions.
With a tool like AVADA Email Marketing, you have access to a drag and drop email builder tool with mobile and table views. Therefore, it would be easy to create professional emails that look fantastic on any device.
Segment the email list
As mentioned, your list subscribers have different demographics, needs, and interests. So contact segmentation is one of the best practices to increase your email performance.
Segmentation is how you apply filters to make it easy setting out groups of subscribers that share common traits. You can segment your subscribers based on:
Specific ebook downloaders
And any other information shared with you
You can easily create contact filters so you can target contacts based on their behaviors or data in our app as well.
Send automated emails
If your small business isn't sending automated emails, then why not make it happen this year? Automated emails save you and your team a lot of time and can do wonders in growing customer relationships.
If you often send a regular newsletter, you can set up an automated email to welcome new subscribers. This email will help you start the relationship off on the right foot (maybe with a coupon) and build trust between your new contacts and your brand.
You can also create automated emails based on your subscribers' past behavior. This practice goes really well with list segmentation. For example, you can send emails to users about their complementary products or favorite products and let them know they are on sale.
Personalize the emails
The example above is exactly what email personalization is about: sending the right messages to the right recipients at the right times. Personalized emails can have a significant impact on your emails' response rate and click-through rate.
No customer wants to feel like strangers when they've purchased your products. They want to feel respected as an individual, who you know by real names and appreciate.
Luckily, you already have much information to personalize your emails, such as:
Geographical location, etc.
Personalizing your email generates higher sales since it communicates to your customers that you know each subscriber as an individual and you care about their needs and wants. The proof is in the offers or values in the emails that you know they are looking for.
Create attention-grabbing email subject lines
You spend hours designing an email and crafting the most suitable email content. But would that matter if you lack a captivating email subject line to make recipients open the email? Absolutely not.
Usually, the subject line is left until the last minute and doesn't receive a lot of effort put into it. An attention-grabbing subject line can define your email campaign, so definitely put some thought in it before sending.
Here are some fantastic tips to achieve a higher email engagement level through the subject line:
Create a sense of urgency
Trigger recipients' curiosity
Provide subscribers with self-Interest
Communicate major news
Offer them something valuable
Try some emoji in your email subject lines
And most of all, never mislead readers or use click-bait subject lines. This can result in a high unsubscription/spam rate and even get your email address banned by the service provider.
Run A/B tests
Would your email content matter if you can't get your subscribers to open the emails? Of course not. Therefore, use A/B testing email to figure out the best performing email practices and maximize your email performance.
An A/B test measures the performance for two different emails with various subject lines, designs, or more, to send the best performing email to your contacts.
Identifying the winner email has a big effect on your email campaigns' open rate. And the higher the open rate your emails have, the higher sales, and ROI you can generate.
Quality over quantity
Last but not least, one of the keys to email delivery success will be the quality of your email content. Don't think too much about the number of emails or the sending time. Nobody wants to be bombarded with constant promotional emails, no matter the timing in a day.
Therefore, focus on writing emails that your subscribers will actually want to read. If you can ensure that your campaigns include valuable content for your subscribers, then they would open your emails, always. That is how you win in the inbox war and become the audience's favorite emails, even more than emails from big companies.
Now you know how to do your small business email marketing. Try to apply the strategy with the above email marketing tips, and you will position your email campaigns for success. If you're looking for email software to create, design, manage and send your emails for your small business, check out AVADA Email Marketing.
In conclusion, email marketing is a low budget solution to help your small business with:
Generating your first sales and many more to come
Announcing your new products and services
Sustaining a successful customer relationship
Increasing the customer lifetime value