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Customer expectations are rising, and many small businesses have no choice but to develop an email marketing strategy.
While email is an effective way to engage with customers, less than one-third of small businesses use email marketing applications to communicate with and engage customers and prospects.
Many mistakenly use email clients such as Outlook or Gmail to send email broadcasts to mass groups of people instead of tools designed specifically for that purpose.
In an effort to help its customers (most of which are small businesses) do a better job of utilizing email marketing and, at the same time, extend its range of marketing services to small businesses, domain name purveyor Go Daddy just acquired email sending provider Mad Mimi.
In a Bizzuka-exclusive interview, Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of business applications at Go Daddy, along with Mad Mimi co-founders Gary and Dean Levitt, shared six tips and best practices that can help small businesses use email marketing more effectively.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email marketing is efficient and cost-effective when compared to other forms of advertising such as direct mail. Businesses can easily collect customer information, and add fresh content to their website in the form of email newsletter archives, improving customer engagement and search engine optimization.
“Email marketing is critical. It helps small businesses connect to customers in a low cost, easy to use way, effectively tapping into existing customer relationships, making the ‘business’ of business easier,” said Aldrich in the interview.
So, why aren’t more SMBs using email marketing tools like Mad Mimi, Bizzuka’s Soundoff platform, or others?
“Many use Outlook or Gmail to send ad hoc emails because that is what they know and are used to. But that leaves a lot of information on the table and makes email marketing much harder to manage,” said Mad Mimi’s Dean Levitt. “Business owners can’t know the reach or impact of their newsletter, and when someone wants to unsubscribe there is no automated means by which to do that. The process becomes too painful. That’s when businesses usually starting looking for a better solution.”
Email Marketing Best Practices
Here are six tips and best practices gleaned from the interview.
1. Grow your list
Every small business should be collecting email addresses wherever it’s appropriate to do so. Provide a sign-up form on your website to allow people to subscribe when they visit. When a customer makes a purchase or meets you in person, ask them to join your email list and let them know you’ll be sending valuable content from time to time.
2. Subject lines drive opens
People will open your email (or not) based on the subject line. Put yourself in the recipients’ shoes when writing it. A strong subject line describes the value of the email in 10 words or less. A subject line should essentially be a preview of the content.
3. Send regularly
Your customers want to hear from you so don’t fear sending messages routinely and consistently – once a month at a minimum. Twice per month may be even better.
4. Be mobile-ready!
Go Daddy found that 68 percent of people read email on their mobile device, so craft a message that works in both desktop and mobile environments. That means avoiding sidebars and keeping things simple. A shorter email with less copy is easier to read and takes less time to create.
Here’s a great example of a mobile-enabled email broadcast.
5. Add images for aesthetic effect
Many email clients now load images automatically, so include those that compliment your written content as in the example above. Strike a balance between the use of text (the main thing) and images (the aesthetic cherry on top).
6. Include a single call-to-action
Your email should have a clear, single, call-to-action that leaves readers with no doubt as to what they should do next. Mad Mimi found that simple emails containing a couple paragraphs of text combined with a single link to click perform better.