Email Marketing Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses
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As a small business, you already know that your email list is one of the most important tools for your business. Despite email being one of the oldest forms of marketing, it is still a key ingredient used for sales and disseminating your content.
In this post, I go over 11 ‘pro’ tips you can use to increase sales, improve retention, and build a community of like-minded individuals in your inbox.
Personalize your emails
One of the easiest and simplest ways to increase retention and the CTR of your emails is by using personalization.
Now, before you slump your shoulders and assume that I mean writing hundreds of emails – which let’s be honest, no one has time for… you can use a variety of things to automate the process.
To personalize your email list you can segment your email lists, use their name in the email, send automated emails based on behavior, provide value and information based on the services/items they’ve purchased, and link to relevant information personalized for them.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to personalize emails, you just need to know where to start.
If you’re new to email marketing I suggest you first start with gathering names through opt-ins to use in your first email sequence.
If you’re not so new to email marketing, you could start to segment your subscribers – although a word of caution – this may mean double the emails that need to be written.
Use power words
Power words are one of the unspoken rules that almost every marketer uses, even if they’re completely unaware of it.
Power words are simply words you use in your titles/CTAs to trigger a psychological or emotional response – which then compels the customer to act, buy, or just click in general.
The types of words used will differ based on what emotion you’re trying to evoke from them. Whether that be trust, understanding, happiness, excitement, or anger – all of these strong emotions will build your brand awareness and help your customers to click.
There are hundreds of power words that you could use so no need to worry about running out! As time goes on you’ll find using power words in your titles/CTAs will feel natural and will be automatic. So it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes to figure out.
No power words title:
10 Ways to be More Frugal in 2023
Title with power words:
10 Ridiculously Easy Ways You Can Save Money in 2023
It’s also important to note that I made the second title more personalized to the person clicking through by using ‘You Can’ instead of to.
Keep it brief
When I first started diving into the differences between good email marketing and great email marketing, one thing became very clear – email length.
According to Hubspot Blog, the ideal length of a sales email should only be <200 words long. If you want to make sales, increase retention, and encourage more responses, make sure that your emails aren’t too long or too short.
Some other helpful tips regarding email length and content:
- 50 to 125 words are best for responses
- Try not to make your emails too short
- Make your email easily understandable (avoid words like presumptuous, precursor, or tantalizing) you get the gist
- Don’t have an obnoxiously long subject line
- Make the CTA or what you want them to do very clear in the email
There are instances where you may find that all of these things may not be realistic for you. The best thing you can do is to follow the guidelines and continually test out new things. You may find that longer emails and more advanced language resonate with your specific audience.
Just keep in mind that most people don’t want to be reading a 5000-word email.
We may consider this to be one of the basics, but it’s still important.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in an instance where you need to be scrolling both vertically and horizontally – it’s really annoying.
Even if your company is solely a B2B, you should still strive to make your emails mobile-friendly. As a virtual assistant, I still check emails on the phone and cringe internally whenever I see a poorly formatted email.
Depending on your email marketing software, you’ll have different options for making your email mobile-friendly, but here are a few guidelines you should follow.
- Stated above, keep your subject lines short & sweet
- Use preheader text if possible
- Make sure CTAs and other email elements will shrink as needed (Tip: if you’re a programmer/dev, you may find that using %’s instead of px is better for a lot of elements – and it makes programming that much faster)
- Send test emails to yourself to look at on your phone & tablet
Send your emails at optimized times
While looking through many other blog posts and statistics it was a bit unsettling to find a lot of blog posts contradicting themselves or statistics not aligning with one another.
Although I can say there was a slight pattern,
It’s best to use your own discernment and test these times yourself. It can be hard to place an exact time on when you should send out emails because your audience may prefer a different time.
But do make sure to track the best time to send out emails. A poorly timed email can be the difference between no engagement and full engagement.
Make it easy to unsubscribe & clean your email list regularly
A lot of people think that if they make the unsubscribe button hard to find (they may even attempt to hide it) – that their subscribers will just keep their content and think twice before unsubscribing.
Even if you believe that you can reel them in with catchy content and a lot of value, more than likely if they’re wanting to unsubscribe, they aren’t interested in anything you have to offer.
The problem with hiding and making unsubscribing difficult is that people will just choose to mark you as spam or outright block you – which ends up telling Google that you’re an untrustworthy source. Do you know what happens when google marks you as spam? Not only does google start to automatically send every email to all of your subscribers straight to spam, but you also lose rankings on Google, especially if you’re using your emails linked to your domain.
It’s important that you also regularly clean out your subscriber list to avoid people blocking or marking your emails as spam instead of unsubscribing. This will also help you to save money as you’re not paying to store and send things to thousands of unresponsive emails.
How and why you will delete these subscribers will be up to you and your email software.
Use A/B testing
If you’re new to email marketing, this section may be a little too advanced for you. But if you’re eager to improve conversion rates, keep reading!
If you’re finding that your newsletters and emails tend to be either hit or miss, you should try using A/B testing. A/B testing is exactly how it sounds. Essentially, you send one version to 50% of your subscribers, and the other version to the other 50% of your subscribers. Between these two versions, you should only change one single element.
You also don’t need to change anything too complicated, it can simply be the color scheme you’re using.
If you change too many elements, you may find that you’re unsure which element contributed to the higher engagement / reduced bounce rates or etc.
Using A/B testing can help you to:
- Understand your audience better
- Improve ROI
- Increase engagement
- Decrease bounce rate
- Increase sales
- Improve brand awareness
- and etc
A/B testing is so popular because it can help save and make you money, and is both easy and effective. Keep in mind that you should have a good sized audience before using it otherwise you may receive skewed or inconclusive results.
Use emotion & storytelling for higher engagement
Good email marketers provide value but great email marketers provide value and provide it well.
At this point, it’s not much of a debate whether or not using storytelling and emotions help your business. In fact, when I was doing a deep dive into the interwebs for additional information on storytelling, I found that you could increase your brand awareness and product value by 20x! If that doesn’t tell you how much you should be using storytelling, I don’t know what will.
Using emotions in your emails is very similar to why you should use power words (talked about above). By eliciting emotional and psychological responses in your customers, you help them to make a decision to purchase, click, or continue down your marketing funnel.
How much more likely are you to click on an offensive news story that caught your attention than a vanilla article about office plants?
Use cliffhangers to get them excited for their next email
When thinking about the best ways to keep our customers on the email we just sent, we sometimes forget to encourage them to read our next emails.
The way you can do this is by giving them cliffhangers or by offering something of value in the next email. It doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming or complicated – you could simply tell them that you’ll be discussing the “#1 thing that helped you succeed in your business’” or along those lines.
Just make sure that you don’t overhype the content too much otherwise you’ll leave a sour taste in their mouth when you under-provide.
Make them excited to receive your next email!
Keep the design simple and professional
By keeping your email designs simple and professional, you are eliciting an air of trustworthiness and responsibility. Unless your specific niche is in something unique, colorful, and a bit eccentric, you should be careful with how complex you make your emails.
Most individuals enjoy an easy-to-read and to-the-point email. If your customers feel confused with what you’re trying to offer and they don’t know what value you’re providing them with – they’ll click off and unsubscribe.
Don’t be confused – I’m not saying you should never use colors, pictures, or unique elements! I am saying you need to make sure that your email flows and is able to keep their attention without causing any confusion.
If you’re a web designer you probably understand the importance of UI and UX in your designs. Always keep the experience engaging and the interface straightforward. This is exactly what you need to be doing with your email designs!
Thankfully all of these things are easily implemented into your email strategy. If you aren’t sure where to start, bookmark this page and slowly work your way down the list.