The Value of Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are direct messages sent directly to targeted groups of people who have directly subscribed to receive such messages. They are usually sent to spread promotional offers, make big announcements, and to keep customers informed. Well-crafted email newsletters immediately drive traffic to your business website and sales of your products or services. As such, they an extremely important and effective marketing tool for many companies today (see article Small Business Marketing: Social Surging, But Email Still Most Effective). Therefore, it is in your best interest to start building an email subscriber list and to start sending out mass email newsletters right away.
How to Get Started
The best way to get started with email newsletters is to set up a free account with MailChimp. Mailchimp has everything you need to manage email newsletter campaigns: It provides sign-up forms that you can embed into and/or link to from your website (here’s our tutorial on that, it only takes about 1 minute to do with our website builder), it manages your subscribers (both subscribed and unsubscribed), it provides pre-designed email templates that you can use, and it provides in-depth free website analytics about the emails you have sent.
Before You Start: Read These Valuable Tips
We have a lot of experience in email marketing. So before you start preparing your first emails, here are some valuable tips:
- Don’t take your email list for granted. Look for every opportunity to build it. Obviously, you’ll want a newsletter signup form on your small business website. But you’ll also want to manually collect email addresses at tradeshows or anywhere else you possible can. Why? Because well-crafted emails with good offers will drive sales. Over, and over, and over again. It really works.
- Don’t try to pack everything into one email. Instead, each email should focus on one subject with one single call to action. If you are announcing a new product, create an email just for that. If you are discounting some items in your store, create an email just for that. Adding a bunch of additional stuff is only going to dilute your main message, and nobody is going to read it anyways.
- Spend 80% of your time on your subject line, and 20% of your time on the body of the email. This is probably the most important advice you will ever receive on emailing. If your audience isn’t opening your email, then it will be completely ineffective — even if you have a great offer. The way to get people to open your emails is to come up with crafty subject lines that really entice them to look further.
- Further on the last point, don’t “give it all away” in the subject line. Meaning, don’t tell them exactly what your email contains, because if you do so they’ll never open it. Instead, “tease” it. You wouldn’t believe it, but the subject line “This offer will change your life. Guaranteed” has far higher open and conversion rates than “Get 50% off our leather belts” — even when the email body is exactly the same.
- Avoid the spam filter. Never use words like “Free” or “Sale”, and never put exclamation points in your subject line. It is almost a guarantee that your email will be spam filtered by just about every email client on the planet. In the body of your email, you can include “Free” or “Sale”, but avoid ever using exclamation points (one exclamation point usually gets spam filtered by anyone using Microsoft Outlook). We highly recommend using Mailchimp’s Delivery Doctor before you send out any email.
- Be mindful of your text vs. image ratio. If your email mostly contains large images and very little text, it will more than likely be spam filtered.
Here’s a couple great articles that will really help you with your email marketing endeavors:
- 9 Email Marketing Best Practices to Generate More Leads
- 6 Common Email Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make
- 50 Awesome Posts on Email Marketing