Setting Up Email Marketing Campaigns For Small Business

Your email inbox may not be as lively as your social media feeds, but there’s still a place for it in the modern internet landscape. An email marketing campaign is a tried-and-true way to stay in touch with your customers, share special offers, inform them of new products, and direct them towards your most recent blog posts to rack up some handy traffic. Follow our easy tips to set one up!

Decide on your marketing platform

An email campaign requires a lot of attention, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to handle the whole thing yourself. You’ll need a platform to handle newsletter construction, automated emails, responses, data analysis and more. Luckily, it’s not very difficult to find a good one these days. MailChimp, for example, is very user-friendly, and its click-and-drag format means you don’t have to be a tech wizard to make it work.

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Start building your customer email database

There’s no point in sending emails if nobody receives them, so let’s focus on getting people on board. You can expand your customer email database in several ways, such as handing out a paper sign-up form to anyone who uses your services (a sign-up discount never hurts to incentivise!) or invite customers to join your loyalty program by signing up with their email address. You can also stick an email sign-up form on your website, which is as simple as adding in a quick plugin. There’s even a MailChimp plugin that lets you put the form on Facebook, so you’re not lacking in options.

Being specific about exactly what customers will receive when signing up to your email lists will help to eliminate any hesitation they might have about doing so – there’s nothing worse than providing your email to a business and receiving a whole lot of spam mail. For example, does being part of your email list mean a customer will get special discounts, be the first to know about new products, services or insider industry insights?  Yes? Then make sure they know it upon sign up!

Import your email database

Once you’ve compiled your database of email addresses, it’s time to put them into your marketing platform. If you’ve gathered them online through your website or Facebook, all you have to do is upload the list. If you’ve physically collected addresses through paper forms, however, you’ll have to type them all up into a spreadsheet or notepad file before you can use them.  Make sure you double-check for typos!

Decide on your ‘reply-to’ email address

Your reply-to email address is basically just what appears in the recipient’s ‘from’ column. It can be anything really, but it’s best to keep it simple and personal. You also want to make sure you sound like a real business, and not a spam account. If your website comes with a generic domain email, that’s definitely the one to go for. Something like info@sydneyplumber.com or kate@kateshairdressing.com  is perfect.

Set up your first email

Most marketing platforms make your first email very easy, as they provide templates to use as a basis. These tend to be set up like grids with boxes, letting you add your own images, links, text and so on. For your first email, think carefully about what to include (you only get to make one first impression).   Introduce your company and welcome your new sign ups – adding a little discount code also goes a long way to providing an extra warm welcome.   Keep your overall colour scheme nice and basic by choosing no more than three colours, and ensure they match your logo.

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Test and send!

As tempting as it is to start shooting emails out to customers right away, it’s important not to jump the gun. Remember to send out a test email to your own personal address first, and check that the subject line, links, images, design and text all look good across different browsers and mobile devices.

If you’re not sure about the subject lines or email messaging that will work best with your customers, you can try a quick A/B test.   A/B testing allows you to test two different subject lines or even two different versions of the same email and send them to a small portion of your email list.  The A/B test will determine which subject line or email variation responded best with your customers and then send the best performing email to the rest of your list.

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Track your success

Now your campaign is underway, we can start to track how it’s doing and fine tune until everything is running optimally.  There are three important metrics to keep an eye on when looking at email results; open rate (OR), click through rate (CTR) and unsubscribes.  To find out how your emails are performing, you can benchmark against the following industry standards:  open rate 20%, CTR: 3.26%, unsubscribe rate 0.54 [1].  If you find your stats aren’t measuring up to the industry standards, there are a number of test options you can try like A/B testing.  A/B testing allows you to experiment with your subject lines, email messaging, content and call to actions (buttons), so you can see what your customers respond best to. Go get ‘em, champ!

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