- Email marketing is a content marketing strategy that helps business owners keep in touch with customers
- Business owners should consistently engage with their target audience through optimized emails
- After you set up an email automation system, create a plan to evaluate the performance of your email strategy
If you’re already deep into a social media marketing campaign, have implemented search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and pay for advertising, you should consider complementing your efforts with email marketing. There are many benefits of email marketing for small business owners, including the chance to develop personal, meaningful relationships with your target audience.
Discover why email marketing is important, best practices for creating your email marketing campaigns, and how to evaluate the return on your investment (ROI).
Why every business needs email marketing
Email is part of a bigger content marketing strategy alongside social media, blogging, videos, and podcasts. There are a few ways you can maximize your email strategy with different kinds of emails:
- Messaging promotions to let readers know about an upcoming sale, special discount, new service, or gift with purchase
- Sharing updates from your blog or social media
- Inviting people to an upcoming live or virtual event
It’s a good practice to send regular emails—called newsletters—to your customer base. The content should be sent consistently and have interesting information about your business or industry so that subscribers look forward to receiving and reading your emails—making them less likely to unsubscribe.
And note that while not everyone who opens your email is ready to buy right away, your email marketing efforts give you a presence in their inbox on a regular basis, and they will become familiar with your business and begin to trust your expertise. This makes email newsletters a great way to connect with all of your customers—whether they’re existing and active or they’re just getting to know you.
More than 50% of business owners consider email marketing vital for reaching customers, and savvy marketers know that sending a message once per week to your email list is considered the ideal frequency.
Here are a few other details that show the importance of email marketing:
- Email is a personal channel that you can use to send additional offers and content to your audience
- By 2025, it’s estimated there will be 4.6 million daily email users
- There are plenty of free and affordable email marketing software options, like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, that make it easy to automate your emails
- Email content is powerful brand awareness material that lets you showcase your expertise and build trust with your audience
Why is email marketing important? It’s important because it helps you build long-term relationships with your audience. The more you send them content, the more your brand is top of mind. Over time, your subscriber list should grow, which means the number of people who engage with your content in some way should also grow, thanks in part to your consistent email marketing campaign.
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How to set up your business to collect customer emails
Potential customers might visit your site through an organic (non-paid) search, from a paid ad, or from your social media, but once they land on your site, it’s crucial to capture their attention and get them to subscribe to your emails. Think of it as your target audience giving you permission to market to them in the future. Whether they want a special deal, to be first informed about new products, or to read the great content you create, email marketing connects them to your brand.
To use email marketing legally and effectively, you must keep a few things in mind. First, you need to get permission from people to receive emails from your business. You cannot upload your contact list or send out mass emails from your personal account. Instead, you’ll want to use a tool like Mailchimp, which offers templates designed to help collect customer email addresses.
Second, create a landing page with a special offer for the highest ROI on your email marketing strategy. On this landing page, your subscriber can enter their name and email address to join your email list in exchange for the special offer.
Instead of a dedicated landing page, many companies use what’s called a lead magnet, which is essentially a special perk that is meant to entice potential customers. For companies that sell products, it might be a coupon for signing up. A service-based business might offer a piece of content relevant to the subscriber‘s biggest needs.
As an example, a salon owner might offer a 20% discount on a service or a free deep conditioning hair treatment. Meanwhile, an accountant could offer a free checklist of homeowner deductions subscribers can download. You can also drive traffic to your landing page from social media platforms or your website.
Third, create an automated confirmation or thank you email. This initial email should do two things: deliver the special offer promised, and prepare the subscriber for what’s to come. You might tell them they can expect a weekly email from you, for example, so that they’re clear on what it means to sign up as a subscriber.
Finally, test your system. Once you have the landing page created, have someone you know subscribe to your emails and make sure they were added to your list properly. As you grow your email marketing strategy, you might use segmentation or tags to help you break your bigger list into smaller groups who are interested in specific topics or offers. Learn more with our guide on how to build an email list.
Best practices for email marketing campaigns
When reaching out to subscribers on your list, optimize each message to get all the benefits of email marketing.
Whether you’re looking to increase sales with new customers or improve your marketing efforts with longtime clients, your email marketing strategy should include the following best practices:
- Use segmentation, which means marketing to specific groups on your list
- Create interesting email subject lines that inspire people to open the message
- Design your emails to load easily and quickly on mobile devices
- Include an unsubscribe button for people who no longer want to receive your emails
- Use engaging imagery and clear offers (like percentages off or special deals) in promotional emails
- Include a maximum of two calls to action (CTAs) per email message—CTAs are the specific tasks you’re asking the reader to complete, like visiting a website or downloading a document
Many email marketing tools make it easy for you to save time and energy with automation. You’ll also be able to see your metrics for past email campaigns, which allows you to tweak your marketing plans to get the most effective email strategies in place.
How to monitor success with email marketing
When your list of contacts is small and you haven’t yet established a cadence for emailing your subscribers, it’s hard to know if email marketing is successful. Once you have maintained consistency in your email schedule for a few weeks, you’ll be able to get a sense of success. A data analysis plan an help you see if you’re getting a good return on investment.
Tracking the following metrics will help you determine if your email marketing efforts are working and identify opportunities for improvement:
- Open rates: The percentage of subscribers who received your email and opened it
- Click-through rate: The percentage of people who opened your email and clicked on a link within it
- Conversion rates: The percentage of people who took the action you asked them to take in the email
- Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of people who unsubscribed from your email list
Get started with email marketing today
Once you understand why email marketing is important for your company and have put the basics in motion, take your strategy to the next level with these nine email marketing tips every small business can use—from “cleaning” your email list to A/B testing.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.