Email campaigns can be tricky, especially for small business owners. Although the internet and SEO practices are slowly changing the way companies do business, the basics—like relationship building—are still essential for local and small businesses.
How to use email marketing to your benefit
Consider yourself, chances are you don’t appreciate telemarketers calling you or spam reaching your inbox. Chances are, the people you’re doing business with feel the same. Furthermore, unsolicited emails generally have a poor success rate, especially when compared to permission based emails.
When you engage in email marketing do it from a permission based platform. Not only will this result in a higher return on your marketing investment, it will ultimately help you grow and retain your overall customer base.
The benefits of email marketing
If used correctly email marketing will actually strengthen your business relationships and help build a loyal customer base. If the emails you’re sending offer something of value to your customers whether it be in the form of information, education or savings that value will transfer over to your company as a brand.
The danger of unsolicited email
If the term unsolicited email isn’t familiar, you’ve probably heard it referred to by its other name—spam. Spam offers absolutely no value to the customer and in the off chance there is something inside worth looking it, frankly that won’t matter when it’s sent to the trash. It’s true that unsolicited email has a better chance of reaching a larger number of inboxes, but it can damage your reputation and ultimately damage your company if you’re associated with bugging, bothering or annoying potential customers.
Permission based, or opt-in email will allow your company to target people who actually have an interest in hearing from you, and over time this number will grow.
How to reach permission based audience
Always make it the customer’s choice to be added to your mailing list, and don’t trap them once they’ve signed up. Make it easy for customers to subscribe and unsubscribe at will. Include a link in your emails for people that may wish to unsubscribe, otherwise your correspondence quickly falls into the spam category.
Once you have a customer’s personal contact information keep it private. Don’t ask the people for more information than you absolutely need. For example, if you plan on only contacting them via email, don’t ask for their home mailing address or phone number. This could make them feel uncomfortable or even lead to them suspecting you will sell their information or use it from something unsavory.
For the purposes of an email campaign, a customer’s information is almost as valuable to you as their business. Show the customer you value them by offering them something of value in return; a newsletter, an email discount or coupon or additional information on industry developments that affect them or information about products they’re interested in. Through this exchange you are demonstrating that you value the customer and by offering them something of value you also convey you respect them and wouldn’t waste their time with a useless email.
Get to know the people you’re emailing and target them specifically with your communication. An example of targeting your customer base would be by keeping you focus local. If you are a Miami based web design business the people on your opt-in list should already have an expressed interest either in your design business specifically or in the web design industry. Foster your relationships by offering tips through a newsletter in your emails or saving on services offered by your company to people specifically in your geographic location.
Finally, you need to keep your campaign organized. Your contact list is essential to your success so keep a polished and updated list available so you can respond quickly to questions, track bounce back or undelivered emails and keep your list current as accounts close or emails are updated.
It is essential that you respond to feedback from your customers in a timely manner and you will have greater success if you track campaign analytics. Free tools are available from Google to track your analytics, or if you’d like to invest in analytics you can hire a company to perform this service for you.
What kinds of emails have the most success?
In general people are likely to only read the first page of any given email. Try not to exceed this size unless you have a really good reason. You can draw reader’s eyes down the page through the strategically using images, graphics or links, but don’t fill an email with irrelevant information.
Remind your customers there is a living, breathing human behind the emails. Put a face and a name to the campaign and try to keep it consistent. In a successful campaign it’s possible some people will grow to feel familiar with the person sending them email and can grow connections to your business.
Personalize emails. Avoid industry jargon that might confuse the average reader and when possible write the way you would speak to someone in person.
Use an intriguing subject line. Consider what subjects might sound like spam and avoid them. Consider asking your recipients to forward your email if they found it interesting and encourage sharing. This could help you grow your subscriber list, especially if you’re writing about topics that are important to your customers. If you receive feedback from your readers where they are asking questions or voicing concern, consider addressing these topics in future emails.
The bottom line
Your campaign hinges on an interested and captive readership. Above all else consider the value you are offering your people in the form of your email campaign and mention this to new customers when encouraging them to sign up. Your relationship and your reputation should be important above all else and you should never sacrifice either of these to make a quick buck or reach a larger audience.
Author’s bio: Jameson Ballinger is a freelance writer currently working with Z Networks Group based in beautiful Miami, Florida. Jameson is an experienced SEO, online marketing and blog optimization writer but enjoys escaping to colder climates in his free time.