Before starting, read these statistics :
- 90% of adults and 74% of teenagers are using emails on a daily basis.
- 99% of consumers check their emails daily.
- Email marketing has an ROI (return on investment) better than social media.
- 87% of marketers use email marketing.
- 81% of small businesses rely on email marketing as their primary customer acquisition and retention.
These statistics are alone compelling enough to get started with an email marketing campaign for your small business.
If you are a small business, and not utilizing the email marketing to derive high-conversion leads and sales, you are missing the train.
Well, it is not too late to start or re-strategize!
Here is an extensive beginner’s guide to successful email marketing campaigns for small businesses.
What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy that involves sending consistent emails to your prospects and customers.
The end goal of email marketing surely is conversion, the first visitor to a subscriber, then subscriber to customer.
But the other significant goals are to communicate, pitch, engage, and connect with people to build a long-term relationship.
Email marketing has the power to turn your one-time buyers to your loyal fans.
What is an Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign involves sending emails from a business to many customers or prospects at a time.
If the email marketing campaign succeeds, it can get people to engage with your content and business, respond, and eventually take action.
Email marketing campaigns don’t just help you generate more sales but build a long-term relationship with your audience.
Why Email Marketing?
- Email is the best Communication Channel as 99% of consumers use their email on a daily basis.
- Emails Have better conversions as it has an ROI of 4400%, even better than social media.
- You will own your subscriber list.
How To Begin With Email Marketing? [ Step-by-Step]
1. Set Your Goals
Every good digital marketing plan requires specific targeted goals.
Email Marketing asks for the same. To achieve a successful email marketing campaign, you need to focus on a certain set of goals include :
- Welcome New Prospects: Welcome the new subscribers joining the email list. Show them gratitude. Tell them about your company and what you stand for. Focus on building relationships with the audience.
- Boost Engagement: Sending out consistent valuable free content to your subscribers increases engagement.
- Nurture Existing Subscribers: Provide something useful for the existing subscribers. It can be relevant information, updates, discounts, freebies, and other offers as well.
- Reconnect With Inactive Subscribers: You should create different content focussed on people who aren’t active with your content. Find the reasons.
- Segment Your List: Segmentation helps you to send more targeted emails to different categories of users.
2. Understand The Types Of Emails
There are different types of emails you are supposed to send in an email marketing campaign. You can categorize them into three primary email types.
First is promotional emails which include all the offers, discounts, sales, and more of self-promotional content.
The second category of emails is relational emails such as a weekly newsletter. These types of emails are basically what you promised to a subscriber.
This can be relevant information, coupon codes, free gifts, blogs, and so on. On the other hand, there are also transactional emails.
Such email includes sign-up confirmations, purchase or order confirmations, welcome messages, and notifications.
Transactional emails get triggered by certain actions from subscribers on the website.
3. Selecting An Email Marketing Service
If you select a good email marketing service or tool, it’s considered a half-battle win.
Here are some best email marketing tools/services to consider :
- AWeber: It is the best email marketing service for small businesses.
- Mailchimp: They offer the best free plans for new email marketers.
- Drip: Best email marketing tool offered for the eCommerce websites.
- Constant Contact: Another alternative service for larger businesses or just bigger budgets.
- ConvertKit: Great email marketing service for content creators on the web.
- Mailerlite: Best email marketing service to go for basic email marketing
3.1 How to choose the best email marketing service?
Choosing the best email marketing service starts from introspecting what are your email marketing goals as a small business.
Start with your requirements and preferences. After that, evaluate the potential of an email marketing service in the context of your small business or start-up.
Here are some factors that you need to consider before or while opting an email marketing service:
There should be features like managing your list, adding subscribers, sending targeted emails, list segmentation, advanced automation and so on.
It is recommended to not get excited over the long list of features rather just look for what you are going to use.
Focus on your requirements and goals, then evaluate the features.
List segmentation and management is the next-level email marketing step. You would need to segment and target your subscribers in the email list itself.
It helps you to customize the targeted messages to relevant subscribers.
Especially look for the scope of list management and how it is integrated with automation while looking for an email marketing tool.
Automation is what makes email marketing campaigns successful. So another factor to look for closely in an email marketing tool.
Check how much you can automate in the campaigns.
Automation works in most of the aspects of email marketing features such as transactional emails, drip emails, segmentation, autoresponders, and more.
As a small business, you have limitations to what you invest, so you have to spend wisely.
With email marketing tools, price increases as your number of subscribers increases in your list.
Free plans can be good to try out things but not for long-term solutions. Compare the prices of the plans that really stood out to your business.
Don’t make price the common denominator to decide the tool.
Customer support comes as a savior when you get stuck with such efficient professional tools.
There is indeed a learning curve with these email marketing tools. So using advanced features such as third party integrations or lead funnels require some assistance.
Invest in an email marketing service with responsive and helpful customer support. Check whether they offer 24/7 support.
4. Build A Targeted Email List
It’s not the email list that makes an email marketing campaign successful, it’s a targeted email list that does.
You need to have an email list including qualified high-potential leads interested in what you are offering.
So, what’s the best way to build a targeted email list?
Well, your website visitors are indeed the people who are interested in your niche. They are more likely to buy a product or service from your website.
They are the best potential leads to convert them into subscribers. Also, subscribing a visitor also tells their further interest in the product, services, or your company.
But you are losing most of the subscribers on your website because around 80% of visitors tend to leave your website for good without signing up.
So how do you convert visitors to a subscriber?
Exit-intent pop-ups are a highly effective tool to convert those visitors who are leaving the website.
Image Source: Spot studio
Exit-Intent popups are able to detect user behavior and they only prompt them with a targeted unique campaign when they are going to leave the website for good.
This can help you retain your visitors as a subscriber, and also plays a crucial role in sales conversion as well.
5. Create High Conversion Optin Form
You want people to sign-up on your email list to build a highly targeted list. That’s what leads to a successful email marketing campaign.
But to achieve such high conversion, you need to craft attractive optin forms. Such optin forms are attention-grabbers and encourage people to sign up.
5.1 Types of Optin Forms
There are different types of optin forms to experiment with.
- Lightbox Popups: They can appear on any webpage, temporarily banking out the rest of the portions on the face except the optin form.
- Exit-Intent Popups: They appear when people are just about to leave your website. It is time to offer your subscribers a lead magnet.
- Welcome Gates: Such optin forms appear just after a visitor arrives on your website.
- Inline/After Post: As the name suggests, it is an optin form that appears at the end of your blog post. If a visitor likes the blog, just at the end of it, they might sign-up.
- Floating Bar: It is also called a header bar, footer bar, or a ribbon. It is usually found at the top or the bottom of your webpage.
- Sidebar: It obviously sits at the sidebar of your website. It is a narrow optin form where people can see it most of the time at the sidebar.
- Fullscreen: It is an overlay covering the whole content of your website temporarily just as visitors land on your site. It is also a welcome gate optin form, just with full-screen overlay.
- Slide-In: It appears either from the bottom left or right of the webpage, mostly on the top. It used to suggest related content or highlight the lead magnet.
5.2 How To Create a High Conversion Optin Form
Optin forms communicate to your visitors about how your lead magnet can benefit them. It encourages the audience to sign-up.
You would want optin forms that convert well. Well here are some tips on how to create a high converting optin form :
- Enticing & Promising Headline: Write a headline describing the advantage of your lead magnet. It should be tempting.
- Useful description: Write your description in brief. Be clear and better make bullet points to grab attention easily. It should extend the benefits of the offer.
- Impactful Vibrant Visuals: The best is to use an attractive and impactful image such as the mockup of your ebook. If you put a person looking towards the optin form, it psychologically drives the attention towards it.
- Contrasting Subscribe Button: Use contrasting colors for the subscribe button. It should pop-up on the page.
- Non-generic Copywriting: Write a copy that compels people to click. Avoid the generic lines you see often. Be creative. Add humor if it fits.
- Easy-to-fill Form: The form should be very simple and easy to fill. Do not try to get more information than just their first name and email. It can reduce the conversation rate.
6. Write Email Marketing Copy
Image Source: Hubspot Blog
Start from the hook right at the beginning of your email marketing copy. It should be something that makes people read it on.
Keep your email marketing copy short. Avoid pitching your products or services early in a copy. Try to first get the subscriber comfortable.
Use the subscriber’s name when you address the person. Make your emails more personalized.
Use different email marketing copies for segmented subscribers. It will improve your CTA by upto 50%.
7. Grow Your Email List With Lead Magnet
You want to build a big email list that keeps getting new subscribers on a regular basis. Only then, you can get consistent sales conversions from your subscribers very often.
Creating an optin form to make people sign up is a limited strategy. It doesn’t function on its own very well.
For more people to sign up, you need to offer them something in exchange. Make a compelling offer with a lead magnet to get their email addresses.
Don’t know what’s a lead magnet! Well, here you go.
7.1 What is Lead Magnet?
Image Source: OptinMonster
A lead magnet is basically a temptation you give your audience in exchange for getting their email address. That’s why it is also known as optin bribe.
You don’t have to invest money to create these lead magnets. Most of the lead magnets are digital products such as PDFs, template files, audio files, videos, or a database.
However, you can put a minimal cost to create these lead magnets.
The lead magnet is sometimes offered in an optin form through an exit-intent popup when a user is about to leave the website.
It can be integrated with any optin form to get visitors to enroll in their email addresses.
Here are some popularly used lead magnets :
- A Webinar
- Free Trials
- Cheat Sheet
- Free resources
- A Free consultation
- Quiz / self-assessments
- Case studies
- White papers
- Free tutorials
And so on!
You can come up with numerous creative lead magnets. You are free to try something new that attracts the audience to provide you their email address.
7.2 How To Make A Good Lead Magnet?
Since you are thinking of creating your own lead magnet for your small business, here are five factors you need to consider:
- Easy To Consume
Lead magnets are tempting and effective because they are easily digestible. The audience can use them very easily. There is no point in making hundreds of pages about theoretical content that doesn’t really help.
- Relevant To Users
It doesn’t matter how good your lead magnet is if you are targeting the wrong audience. So, it’s better to research who your prospects are and what they want.
- Quick To Action
Lead magnets must be actionable, quick enough to be utilized by the audience in the near future. The fruits for the audience after consuming it seem to be quick. It should be something users can actually put into action.
- Offer Significant Improvement
If you make a solution-oriented lead magnet that actually helps users, it can become as successful and valuable as your product or services.
- Immediate Effect
People expect instant gratification. Tell them how it actually works and worked for you or others, and they can achieve the same.
8. Scheduling Emails & Follow-ups
So you have set your goals, know the types of emails, and chose the email marketing service. You have also crafted an attractive copy for your emails.
Optin forms will help you build the email list. So all got covered!
Well, now the endgame begins. And that is planning, scheduling, and sending of the various presets of emails to your subscribers.
Start from scheduling your emails. The planning for email marketing includes certain points such as below:
- Frequency of emails
- Type of emails
- Email content
Decide the different presets of your emails along with their frequency.
Here are a few types of preset emails you can set up for scheduling :
- Welcome emails – For when subscribers sign-up
- Newsletter – Consistently scheduled to be sent including promised content.
- Promotional – Updates about the product or services.
- Triggered emails – Set of emails triggered by the user’s activity.
- Post-purchase drip – sent after subscriber-turned customer purchases
9. Use Email List Segmentation For Personalized Email Marketing
Building an email list isn’t enough to get high conversion rates in your email marketing campaign.
You need to go to the next level optimization within your campaign. Email segmentation is the key to boost your click-through rates.
So, here’s more on email list segmentation.
9.1 What is Email List Segmentation?
The process of categorizing or segmenting your email lists into smaller groups based on specific criteria is called Email List Segmentation.
9.2 Why Should You Segment Your List?
Segmentation makes your email campaign more targeted, relevant, and personalized.
Now, because you know more specifically about who you are addressing, you can create a much more personalized email marketing copy and title as well.
And since it is more targeted and relevant to the user, it is more likely to get opened and converted as a customer as well.
It is a proven strategy to boost your email open rates and increase click-through rates. Not just that it also dramatically reduces the rate of unsubscribing as well.
10. Test, Track and Analyze
After going step-by-step on how to do email marketing successfully, the key to constantly improve and grow is tracking and testing.
You need to test everything. Use A/B testing to see what is working for your email marketing campaign.
You need to find what kind of content works, what subject lines bring you more open rates, how sending emails at different times affect the results, and so on.
Monitor the analytics very closely. Keep track of open rates, clicks, forwards, and unsubscribes as well.
Analytics help you to understand what is working and what’s not.
You can keep the cycle on to consistently growing by applying what you have learned in future campaigns.
11. Improve Your Email Open Rates
Improving your email open rates becomes so important especially after putting so much hard work in your campaign.
Because you want people to open your emails when they are indeed reaching out to thousands of your subscribers.
And if they are not! Everything you’ve done so far might go vain.
So, put extra effort into improving your email open rates, even if they are well-enough converting.
Here are some factors that play a significant role in the opening of your emails :
- Master the Timing
Timing has to do a lot of it with whether your emails are opened or not.
So, you need to be careful when you are sending your emails to your subscribers. It can be different for various times in a day.
It also varies according to which day of the week you are sending on. Apart from it, some occasions, festivals, and situations also affect the opening rates of the emails.
But all of this you can only figure out with a lot of practice and experimenting.
So keep on trying new times and days with your emails.
Try performing A/B testings to figure out which timeframes are the best to send emails.
You can actually find out the days when most of your emails are clicked. Also, what times of the day are more welcoming to open the emails.
- Making Sure Your Emails Doesn’t End Up In Spam Folders
This might be the most obvious reason for low email open rates.
If you are regularly sending emails but they are ending up in spam folders, there is no way subscribers find out those to read.
Also, the fact you have already taken the permission of the subscriber to send them emails while signing up.
Then, you just have to follow some practices to avoid this situation :
- Make sure all the subscribers are accepted to receive your emails.
- Use only verified domains to send your emails from.
- Send emails from a good IP address.
- Personalize the “To:” field in your email marketing campaign using merge tags.
- Guide your subscribers on how to whitelist your emails. Ask them to add your company email to their address book.
- Try not to use very ‘sale’ language such as “buy” “discount” etc. These are spam trigger words that automatically send the email to spam.
- Put the option to unsubscribe in the emails.
- Put your location in the email as well
- Write Like Addressing Only One Person
When you are writing your email marketing copy and subject line, you might think of writing to thousands of people.
And, that’s natural!
But the recipients must not feel like he or she is one of those thousands. Remember, how crucial it is to make your subscribers feel special.
They are more responsive to personalized messages. So write like you are addressing a single person.
Even the subject line should have a personalized and more of a conversational tone. Don’t try to be pushy or pitch anything right there.
Try to have a chat and connect with the audience. Even Ask them to respond to what they think, in some cases.
Be friendly in the tone and the language as well.
For Example: Rather using “ We are offering a wide array of services to our customers…”. Use a friendly voice such as “ You’ve gotta check this offer..”.
- Optimize Your Emails For Mobile
Around 67% of all the emails opened are from mobile accounts.
Also, supporting this, you should know 72% of internet users will be accessing the internet through their smartphone.
Now, What does it tell you?
It is very important to optimize your emails for smartphones. It even affects how you write your subject lines or even the content matter.
Tips for Optimizing Emails On Mobile :
- Use larger fonts. Smaller font becomes difficult to read on the phone.
- Keep the formatting of the email simple, such as single-column.
- Use bigger call-to-action buttons, easier to tap with a thumb.
- Avoid placing two links in very close proximity. Users tend to click on the wrong links.
- Use small size images to reduce the load time of the emails.
- Make sure your email looks good even without an image as Android often turns the image off.
How To Run A Successful Email Marketing Campaign?
Building a successful email marketing campaign relies on some next level factors you need to understand.
Here are some very crucial factors leading to a successful email marketing campaign.
1. Getting Permission Through Promising Incentives
Image Source: Nutshell
Always remember, you are a guest in the people’s mailboxes. You cannot start building an email marketing campaign without getting permission to start this journey or relationship.
You aim here to build a significant-size email list with whom you gain this privilege to advertise your product in their private space on a regular basis.
Surely, there are many ways to get permission.
Permission here means them providing you their email ( and other info) with intent and interest in the niche, product, company, or services.
The preferred and most effective way is to give away something free or promising daily newsletter and product updates.
Just have a clear purpose about what incentive you will give them while you’re asking for an address to your prospects or customers.
Tips To Get People Sign Up :
- Use a strong call to action with powerful copywriting
- Explain why you’re asking for emails
- Be specific, “enter your emails for updates” won’t work
- Offer email series, free ebooks & whitepapers, downloads
- Promise regular new releases and product updates.
- Make your incentive clear and enticing.
2. Following Up Your Subscribers With Good Content-Driven Emails
Email marketing starts with the promise or expectations to set it for subscribers.
If your call to action is powerful and you are consistent with your follow-up emails, then it will be indeed a successful email marketing campaign.
These expectations will be set up according to you only.
If you tell your subscriber to expect daily updates on certain products and you don’t deliver, then they are going to be disappointed with you.
So it is better you tell them to expect a weekly newsletter if you can deliver that on time.
This tells how important the first email you will send from the campaign will be. The first email also set up expectations about your email content as well.
The first email even might decide whether the user finds it engaging and useful enough to continue or will just unsubscribe.
So work smartly on your Welcome Email.
Here’s an example of a welcome email. It welcomes the audience and tells them what to expect from them.
It goes even further by offering exclusive discounts for subscribers.
Tips On Sending Your Welcome Email :
- It should be a way to introduce yourself, and your brand.
- Be detailed but still concise and quick.
- Clear and Engaging subject line.
- Ask your subscribers to follow you on social media platforms.
- Give a free gift such as coupon codes or discounts.
2.1 When To Pitch Your Product?
The point of email marketing is to engage with your customers and get sales conversions.
But sending promotional emails won’t necessarily give you any conversion.
In fact, it might put your subscriber off! Or They might unsubscribe if they feel you pushy and troubling.
So, the aim here is to strike a balance between sending high-quality useful free value content and promotional content.
But there is a transition you have to make from this one type of email to another. This can be really tricky!
Don’t surprise your subscribers with the sales pitch out of sudden. Try placing product emails every once in a while.
Subscribers must expect sales pitches and products in their emails from your side. Such campaigns are more likely to be successful.
You need to observe and analyze the subscriber’s behavior. Send similar offers or products more to those who have shown some interest earlier.
There are no hard and fast rules on the frequency of sales pitch emails.
Still, try to be more on the cautious side and consciously pitch your offers amidst content-driven emails.
Tips on writing a pitch email:
- Avoid cold pitch emails
- Subject line should stand out, and be descriptive and NOT misleading.
- Get to the point quickly
- Explain the value proposition in the latter half of the email.
- Follow up on the pitch email.
2.2 How To Write a Pitch Email?
There can be many aspects of this answer but here’s something the easiest and effective one for you. Follow this format for the body of your pitch email.
- First Para: Say Hi or Hello to the person you are sending an email. Use their respective names. Keep it short and sweet.
- Second Para: In 3 to 4 sentences, start pitching. Tell them about your product. Explain your expectations from the prospect.
- Third Para: Here you put your value proposition. This paragraph must be personalized. You can also mention the price of the product/service as well.
- Last Sentence: Show your gratitude to give you their valuable time. Quickly plug your call-to-action.
2.3 How To Write A Good Newsletter?
Image Source: MailerLite
The basic difference between a good newsletter and a bad one is you don’t really remember the bad one.
It also happens when you as a small business fail to send regular emails or just send bad enough to forget.
You should make sure that subscribers never forget about your company. And for that, prevent too long email lapses. Send newsletters at least once in a month.
However, the idea case will be here to send a newsletter once a week.
Newsletters must be utilized to strengthen your relationship with your subscriber or reader. It should not be to pitch them.
Tips on writing a good newsletter:
- It should be something that people want to read.
- Write a killer opening line as it shows in the email preview.
- Stick to a goal for your newsletter such as it can drive sales, promote a product, or just offer ebook download.
- Use your first name as ‘from’ address.
- Put an enticing subject line.
- Add visuals to your newsletter.
2.4 How Autorepsonder Helps?
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
If you are all new to email marketing, and you have only a certain number of subscribers on your list, you might get time to respond to them personally.
But can you personally respond to every 100 or 200 new subscribers a day? Well, surely not. But you still see leading brands doing it.
All credit goes to Autorepsonders.
Autoresponders automatically sends the scheduled emails to the subscribers.
So when you schedule, you can prevent going “missing out” on the consistency of emailing subscribers.
Small businesses utilize this functionality to save time, money, and focus. You can put numerous emails for a few months on automation delivery.
Tips For Creating Content For Email Marketing
You have to consistently provide engaging content for your subscribers. It can be really challenging to come up with such compelling content all the time.
The pressure can affect your workflow. So here are a few tips for assimilating and creating content for email marketing campaigns.
This will help you communicate with your readers in the best way possible.
1. Giving Special Treatment To Your Subscribers
People who are subscribing to your emails are so interested in your content that they are allowing you to enter their inbox.
It’s a privilege that you must honor by informing them about the offers, products, and sales firsthand.
Don’t hesitate to go even further and extend your communication to them on a more intricate level.
For example, you ask customers to beta test their new products and complete the survey. Or, you can offer them a special discount ( more than they can find anywhere).
Pro Tip: Make them feel that this discount price is exclusively for them only, and only for a shorter duration.
2. Personify Your Emails
Image Source: Yesware
Email is a private digital space for everyone. People don’t expect sales pitches to read in emails.
People want to connect with people, even behind a company or small business. So, your emails should be personified. It must read as if an actual person wrote it.
You should inject some sense of personality to your emails. The words you use, the tones, questions, and sense of humor are how you connect to the audience.
Try to write your emails in the way you would talk to your actual customers.
Have that voice of your own while writing these emails.
Pro Tip: Mention the name of the subscriber in the emails, in the subject line.
3. Providing New Information
If you really think about which emails you open and which you don’t, you will see the pattern there. Then, you might want to delete the emails in your campaign which doesn’t work like that.
So, what differentiates here is the information. What new information you are getting with the email?
It has to be useful and relevant to the user. The subject line itself can make a huge difference.
The subject heading itself makes the user decide whether to click on the email or not. It tells whether the information inside is useful for them or not.
So make sure the subject line is informative and useful. Something that intrigues the user to open and learn about.
Pro Tip: Use straightforward, descriptive, and promising subject lines. But keep on testing with new titles to choose the final winner that works all the time.
4. Keep it Short
Think about this! How many emails do you receive per day?
And, how many of them do you click on, and actually read them?
Well, you get the point.
There is very limited time for users to go through all emails. Mostly are ignored. They are bombarded with emails every day.
So to not be amongst the ignored. Keep your emails short. Make it easy for subscribers to read.
Your emails must be easily scannable. People don’t read at one glance. They scan. So there must be some valuable information to hook them.
But if your emails are long or just with a lot of big paras, they don’t even bother to scan it.
5. Take Inspirations
Finding and curating content for email marketing becomes quite easy if you just focus on the emails from existing known brands.
Even if you are starting out, going through various email marketing campaign examples, will make you quite informative on this.
Just go through the best brands and their emails. Now here are few things you can notice-
- How are they curating and organizing their content in one email?
- What language do they use, also regarding what kind of brand they are?
- How many of them use visuals?
- How much content is written ideally?
- Why have you clicked on those emails or why would you possibly?
These questions will guide you in making your own content for email marketing in a better way.
You are indeed going to compete with those brands only, in one way or another. Or at least for the consumer’s eyeballs, and attention.
Pro Tip: Use apps like Pinterest, Evernote, or Pocket to save and organize all emails you liked. Save all the good examples out there to take inspiration.
Replicate in your own way, and try out the ideal templates for your own business.