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Have you ever wished you had a magic wand that would send customers your way every time you waved it? Magic wands don't exist, but there is a tool you can make work like magic. It's email marketing. And, it's one of the most inexpensive and effective marketing tools available to you. If you're not using it, you should be. If you are using email marketing and aren't getting the results you'd like, review your email strategy and use these 8 tips to improve your results.
1 - Understand your target market and how to reach them
Successful email marketing starts with an understanding of who you want to reach, and what it will take to make them want to do business with you. For some businesses, that means your email marketing campaigns will consist at least in part of information that educates, informs or entertains your readers to build brand familiarity and trust. For others, it means sending existing customers notices about new products and special offers. Before you start any email campaign, take the time to work out your strategy and deliver the right type of message to your customers and prospects.
2 - Send to a receptive audience
A receptive audience is a permission-based list. People you add to your list without first getting permission will ignore your email, or mark it as spam. Build a responsive list by inviting prospects to sign up for your email list at every possible opportunity. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Put a signup form on every page of your website
- Put a sign at the checkout in your store with a QR code to sign up for your newsletter and/or text to subscribe instructions.
- Include a sign-up link on your Facebook and Google+ business pages, and in your profile on other social media sites
- Include a link to your signup form in the description for your YouTube videos
- Add your signup link to all printed materials
- Consider creating and including a QR code to let smart phone users quickly add themselves to your email list.
3 - Let subscribers know what to expect when they sign up
Your target audience is more likely to give you their email address if they know what you will and won't be doing with it. Will you be using the list to announce new products or to send out discounts and special offers to your subscribers? Or will they be getting regular emails that are educational or entertaining? Will you be sending out an email once a month? Or once a day? The person who thought you would be sending them industry updates will unsubscribe if you barrage them with ads.
4 - Write compelling subject lines
Your email marketing message is one of hundreds of email messages that hit your subscribers' inboxes each week. To get your email opened and read, you need a compelling subject line - one that appeals to the recipient's self interests, not yours. You may be pleased that you will start manufacturing fashionable leather handbags with storage space for a tablet computer, and it may be something retailers want, but few will open your email if the subject line reads "MiLady Manufacturing Announces New Product Line"
Encourage recipients to open your emails by using short, action oriented headlines that promise a benefit or solution to a problem.
5 - Include a call to action
Just like direct mail or printed ads, your emails need a call to action. If your readers are expecting promotional mailings, the call to action would focus on getting the customer to make a purchase today. If your email campaign is aimed at building brand recognition and trust, the call to action would be presented along with helpful information and could urge readers to visit your website for more problem solving tips, or call your office for a free consultation or free sample.
6 - Create emails that are readable on any device
A Pew Research Center report on mobile device ownership shows that as of October 2014, 64% of adults in the US were owners of smart phones. According to their research, 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.
The device a person uses to connect to the Internet (and read their email) has a big impact on what they see and read. If they open your email on their smart phone and have to scroll from side to side to read each line, or see only an X at the top of the email because a photo didn't load, you've lost them. The solution: put text at the top of your emails, and use a smart-phone friendly email template to prepare the email. Major email services offer mobile-friendly templates for their subscribers to use.
7 - Divide and conquer
Unless you have a small or very niche list, don't blast out the same email to everyone on your master mailing list. The small business with 1 or two employees is going to have different accounting needs and interests than the small business that has 20 employees. The avid skier may have no interest in the snowboards you're putting on special next week but may want boots for extreme skiing. You'll get better open rates and responses from your email marketing efforts by sending appropriate material to each group. You can ask people to indicate their preferences when they sign up for your email list. Other options might be to segment your main list products purchased, or by the number of communications you've sent to the particular customer
8 - Encourage readers to share your emails
Many businesses find that their top sources of new business are referrals and word-of-mouth. Encourage your email readers to spread the word by making it easy to share your email. Social media buttons, and forward to a friend links let subscribers "tell" their friends about you with a click of the mouse or the touch of an on-screen button. And, don't forget to include a link to subscribe to your newsletter in the newsletter itself. That will make it easy for people who receive the forwarded email to add themselves to your mailing list.
© 2015 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.
Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. We are also a Platinum Solution Provider and receive commissions for sales from Constant Contact. Try it free today.