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iStock 000019742904XSmall Email 300x197 Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses and Startups

Great online marketers know their email marketing strategy inside and out. They tweak every last detail, use the perfect text-to-image ratio, and choose appealing graphics to keep readers engaged. Newer small businesses and startups might not have the resources to hire seasoned marketers, and in this case, end up placing email marketing lower on the list of things to get done. If you think you’re doing it wrong or if you’re having trouble getting started, we’ve compiled a few tips on how to improve email marketing conversions.

List Segmentation

There are so many great email marketing services out there, from Mailchimp to Reachmail, that give small businesses free templates, analytics, and tutorials. These services remain free if you have smaller email marketing lists of around 2000 or less. They also have segmenting tools to help narrow your focus and send emails to targeted groups within your list. This is helpful if you’re just starting and are still working your way up to a larger email list.

Segmenting your list by using signup forms can also go a long way in tailoring your emails. Your signup forms can have checkboxes so subscribers can indicate their interests giving you specific user data that you can use for future email campaigns. Signup forms also indicate when you added subscribers, which helps because you can begin to send emails to your most recent subscribers. These are the customers who are most excited to find out what relevant products or services you have in store for them.

Too Many Images

When looking at the finished draft of your email, what does your text to image ratio look like? If the email has all graphics and no text whatsoever, you could run into a major problem. Recipients might not select the option to “download images” in your messages. This means the images you spent hours choosing to represent your brand could go to waste.  If that’s the case, take a look at reducing the amount of graphics used in each email, and try to balance that with more text. From there, you’ll be able to better gauge if customers are reading the text and using that information to click through to your site.

A/B Testing Emails

As we mentioned at the start of this blog post, email marketers spend hours tweaking every detail of their emails to find out what works and what doesn’t work. Take the subject line of your email, for instance, and decide on two different ways to say the same thing. If you’re selling discounted gadgets on your website and you have a huge sale going on, what would your subject line say?

Subject Line A:

ATTN: Tablets, Smartphones, and Accessories MUST GO!!

Subject Line B:

Up to 85% Off Tablets, Smartphones, and Accessories Now!

Both subject lines work, but which one works better? Subject line B is much more concise because it lets subscribers know that specific gadgets are on sale at a specific discounted price. By looking at every detail in the email and sending different options to your segmented lists, you’re collecting valuable data. After mapping out what works and what doesn’t seem to work, you’ll have a clearer picture of your customer list.

Are You Sending Enough Emails?

It sounds scary, because you don’t want to be too pushy, but you will see an immediate change in conversions once you start sending consistent emails. We recommend reviewing and tailoring a schedule of emails that works best with your business. Emails are great to notify customers of major deals happening on your site. They are also great for educating your customers on new products or services. Creating relevant, informative content by using cool graphics and concise text keeps readers engaged and excited to see what you have in store. It’s important to note that you don’t want to send too many emails that don’t have relevant content or have repetitive content. Readers might consider your emails spam and decide to unsubscribe, which negatively impacts conversions. Balance is key!

Overselling

Newer email marketers might send a single email to list every sale found on their brand’s website. There’s nothing wrong with having options, but having too much content in one email can confuse readers. If you have five sales, you’ll need five graphics, and five explanations for each sale. This will result in a busy email with too many buttons to click and too many choices.

Our advice is to have a single call to action. Start with choosing the best deal you believe your customers will want and that will be the subject of your email. If your single call to action is a great deal found on your site, it will be easier to style the email around that. We can almost guarantee your subscribers will begin to open more and more of your emails, once they become less busy.

By taking advantage of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to producing quality emails that provide data-driven results. We are sure these strategies are easy to implement and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

We would also love to hear from you! Do you have specific email marketing tips to offer? Leave your comments in the section below.

 Four Quick & Easy Ways To Update Your WebsiteIf your site is looking a little tired, and resources are too tight for a complete overhaul, start with one of these inexpensive ways to make updates to your pages.

Customer Testimonials Page
A customer testimonials page is obviously not appropriate for every site.  But if you’re running an online business, testimonials not only provide unbiased insight into the services that you offer, but give glimpses into the diversity of the customers you are attracting.  Another option is a customer spotlights page, featuring a descriptive blurb and picture on a long-time user of your services.

Grow Your Newsletter/Email List
This one does not technically fall under the “updating your website” umbrella, but it’s an important, relatively easy way to show your growth as a brand if you don’t have the resources to conduct a complete redesign.  Your customers want to hear from you.  And sending newsletters and emails makes it much easier to get your content out there to them, instead of your customers looking for it on your site. Three ways to grow your subscriber list:

  • Make it easy to subscribe: Include an opt-in box on the homepage of your site.  Follow up with a new welcome email and offer an incentive (for example, a 10% off coupon).
  • Social Media: Add an email opt-in to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.  It can be as basic as requesting a first name and email address.
  • Don’t Forget: If you want to engage and grow your list, you’ll need to continuously provide new content, relevant articles, and limited-time, email exclusive offers.

Revise Your “About” Page
When was the last time you updated your “about” section?  Is your contact information (phone number and email address) up to date? It may sound like tedious work, but your about page adds depth- it puts a name, a face, and a location to your site which adds credibility and trustworthiness.  Try posting a picture of your team, or if your website is an extension of a brick and mortar business, add a photo of your storefront.  An “About” page is where you should tell your story – how your idea or business was developed.  Keep the structure relaxed and give it a voice.

Q&A Section
Are you receiving the same questions and inquiries over and over?  It might be time to consider a question and answer section, which will save both you and your site’s visitors some time.  Develop a list of common questions and spend some time curating answers.  After a while, you’ll find yourself spending less time responding to inquiries, and more time focused on growing your business.

What do you think? We want to hear from you.  Plan to implement any of these ideas on your own site? Leave a comment in the section below.