Introduction to Email Marketing - Guide for SME's
Long read - 10 min
Small businesses that want to get to grow and bring in more consistent streams of customers need to constantly experiment. This includes testing a range of platforms and approaches to discover how they can best reach their target market. This takes time and can be a challenging task for small business owners who often have little time and resources to work with. Luckily, you’ve decided to start leveraging the power of email marketing, a proven method to directly reach your audience.
Today a staggering 92% of people aged over 18 have an email account with an average of 61% using it every day. You may think that email is dead but you my friend are wrong. These numbers alone display that email marketing is a great way for small business to reach their audience. More impressive than the number of people using email is the level of engagement in email marketing. Business messages are 5 times more likely to be seen on email than Facebook. It can be a gateway to converting new leads and staying current and front of mind with existing customers to encourage a purchase or upgrade.
This article will outline the benefits of using email marketing as part of your marketing strategy as well as outline what to have in place to create an effective email campaign for your business.
So, why should you invest time in Business Emails?
Let me outline the benefits:
Cost effective: You can build email lists, create personalized email templates and sent them out through tools that don’t cost anything to set up and use!
High Engagement rate: With email marketing, you have the opportunity to reach customers directly through a strong point of contact. Email marketing allows for segmentation into different lists of interests, product etc. This allows for more personalised marketing messages.
Easy to use: You can send business emails from user-friendly platforms you don’t have to start coding or spend days on end creating templates. Quality platforms such as MailChimp, Zoho & Campaign Monitor allow anyone to piece together an email marketing campaign.
Measurable: Tracking your campaign results is one of the beauties of digital marketing. Email campaign platforms will provide ample feedback so you can gauge what worked and what areas need improvement.
Convinced? Let’s look at how you can get your email campaign up and running with these 5 steps…
1. Planning the campaign: Creating a strategy for your email marketing is critical in maximising your ROI. Here’s what you need to figure out in the planning stage of your strategy.
Your audience: Who is your message going out to? If your products are varied and appeal to different customers it may be worth segmenting your lists. You can create different emails for the respective recipients but for the sake of getting started you want to keep it simple and just make sure the content aligns and is appropriate for your audience.
Determine frequency: Setting a regular business email send date will hold you accountable and provide deadlines for your team to send out your campaigns. For the majority of small businesses, I’d recommend monthly newsletters. Then creating additional emails if you’re wanting to make a big announcement to your subscribers or create a campaign for a segmented list of customers.
Platforms - The first decision when creating your email marketing strategy is deciding on the platform you want to use. This is where you’ll create your email and the channel you’ll use to send it out to your subscribers. MailChimp is a great starting point it’s free for the first 2000 subscribers, easy to create templates and send emails to segmented lists. However, there are numerous options beyond Mailchimp that might suit your business and its needs. Other quality platforms include Zoho & Campaign Monitor.
Objectives - Your campaign needs intent, think of where you want to drive people to is there a product or area of your business you want to give an extra push? Examples of email objectives include: Generating leads, increasing online sales, getting exciting company news out there or building awareness of a new product that’s just landed. Regardless of what you want your email campaigns to achieve it’s critical being clear about this early on. Deciding on the email campaign objective allows you too easily report on it later down the line.
2. Building a list: - Now, you need to have a list of recipients to send your email to. Here are two areas to start with.
Customer details - If you have a list of recent customer details you may be able to reactivate this list. Be aware of email spam law before sending to old emails you have stored. Being mindful that these people may not be expecting newsletters so make unsubscribing a clear option.
Opt-in Forms - Turning traffic into subscribers on your website is an extremely important conversion. You create an opportunity to contact these potential customers through their likely preferred medium “77% of people prefer to receive permission-based messages via email versus mail, text, phone and social media.” You can use apps like Sumo & Mail Munch to easily create an opt-in form. No doubt you’ve come across countless pop-up forms while surfing the web. People get sick of them so be sure to offer value to the customer within the opt-in form. You can do this by giving people incentives to sign up to your mailing list. For example, discounts, competition entries or offer an e-book or additional information on a topic of interest.
3. Content: This is what will have the most impact on the customer! It needs to have clear messaging with a strong call to action. As well as be visually stimulating.
Include logo in Header for readers to easily distinguish your brand.
Focus on creating consistency with the look and feel of the campaign with your other marketing material in terms of colours etc.
Use graphics to make your messages more visually appealing. These don’t need to be to fancy just clean and attractive don’t attempt to overdo the effects it often backfires! Canva.com is a great platform for anyone to piece together a graphic with no design experience. Model off Canva’s templates and see what you can come up with.
Mobile friendliness can be overlooked but it is extremely important for email campaigns. Over 50% of consumers check emails on their phone. If it looks distorted on this platform is will look unprofessional.
Link all graphics to your ecosystem online (website, landing pages or your social platforms). You want to inspire curiosity in your audience to click on your email and end up in your shop or discovering more info about your brand.
4. Testing/Sending the email out: Testing is an essential part of the email marketing process it’s the quality control. Send the test email out to coworkers and see if they can pick up on anything that doesn’t look right or any broken links that you’ve missed. Be sure to check in different browsers such as Gmail, Outlook, Apple mail and importantly on mobile. Double check there are no faults or typo’s in the graphics and all the links direct you to the right locations! Once completely signed off it’s time to schedule/send out. Timing matters, aim for a mid-week send if it’s a monthly/weekly newsletter and around mid-morning 9-11am for optimal open rates.
5. Reporting and learning: Make decisions from data! After each email sent you’ll be able to gauge what worked and what needs attention for the next campaign.
You’ll receive statistics on how your business emails performed from the email marketing platform you use. The essential stats to monitor are the open rate, click through rate, unsubscribe rate and revenue attributed to the email if applicable. After seeing the results you can adjust your campaign accordingly and double down on what works well for your business. Experiment with send times, subject lines, template layouts and content to develop sound techniques that work with your audience! Be patient it takes time to collect quality data but the most important thing is to be consistently monitoring.
Enjoy the process of planning and sending your own email marketing campaigns. Keep your goals for each campaign clear and simple with that in mind, develop content that’ll be valuable to your customers. I'm looking forward to seeing more New Zealand small businesses utilise email marketing!
Get in touch if you're interested in help with your email marketing.