Even in this age of social media, emails remain one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your contacts. So whether you’re looking to improve, restart, or begin email marketing for your business, you’re making a great decision.
Do email blasts work? The answer is yes, but getting great results is not magic. Here are 10 rules for email blasts that will ensure customers open your emails and engage with your small business:
1. Make sure you have a great list, not a big list
There’s a common misconception that email marketing only makes sense if you have a certain number of contacts (“Thousands”, for some reason, is what we hear the most). Not true.
Email marketing is smart no matter what size list you have, even if it’s just a handful of contacts, because you’re just not going to get everyone’s time on the phone or in-person to say everything you want. And, for some of your contacts, email just resonates better.
Ensure your email list is comprised of contacts whom have either opted in or whom you have a strong working relationship with. If you don’t have a list like this, focus on building one before you start sending anything out. Quality email address are more important than the quantity of them. If you’re not sure if you have a good list, check out our blog post: Answers to Frequently Asked Email List Questions.
2. Commit to email marketing
If you say, “I want to see what type of response I get from my first email before I send more”, it’s not going to work. Email marketing is marketing, not magic. You wouldn’t expect to get a great return on playing a radio ad or running a TV spot just once. Don’t expect a great return from sending just one email. Tell yourself you’re going to test the effectiveness of email marketing for a period of time (a full year is a reasonable amount of time). Remember that customers will open emails differently depending on the time of year and even the time of day that your email is sent. To get as many customers as possible to open your emails, you need to commit to sending emails over a period of time.
3. Be consistent
Whether you’re wanting to send emails quarterly, monthly, or more often, put your email creation dates on a calendar and stick to the schedule. You’ll build momentum for yourself and your contacts. They’ll come to start expecting your emails to arrive within a certain timeframe. If you’re good about sending your emails for a while but then suddenly go dark, you’ll start to lose the momentum on both ends. Keep the bigger picture in mind when forming this schedule. If you have a busy season or other foreseen challenge up ahead, for example, you may not have the same amount of time to allot to emailing as you do right now. Take the various factors affecting your business into account, and then increase or decrease the frequency of your emails accordingly so that you can maintain consistency.
4. Include a balance of text and pictures
All text is boring, but too many images, in relation to the amount of text in the email, can actually increase the likelihood your email will get picked up by a spam filter (spammers use this tactic, to hide spammy words from filters). In addition, images draw attention, but you do not want them to draw too much attention, away from important text. You’ll be in good shape if you enter your text first, then sprinkle images where it’s appropriate.
5. Create an “above the fold” call to action
If you create an email blast that asks your contacts to do something (like call you, fill out a form on your website, or take advantage of an offer), make sure you have that high up in the email. A good rule of thumb is that your call to action should appear right away, when someone opens your email. If someone has to scroll to find it, it’s in the wrong place. It’s the same philosophy as the old newspaper theory that the stories “above the fold” are those which get the most attention.
Related: 100+ Best Email Subject Lines
6. Keep it short
Think about your own email inbox. Do you read lengthy emails, or do you delete them or save them and never read them again? If you have a lot to say, introduce your text with a small snippet, then link to a page of your website or a blog, where they can read the rest.
7. Track it
If you want your contacts to reach out to you, set up tracked links, a tracked phone line or link to a tracked contact form of your Website. Take the guesswork out of wondering if your email generated leads for you. Know if you’re getting results by setting up and analyzing marketing analytics.
8. Send yourself a test every time
This is good for a couple of reasons:
- You’ll see if there are any formatting issues which need to be addressed before you send out the email and have egg on your face over an easily-avoidable mistake.
- It gives you the opportunity to ask yourself “Would I read this, if I were one of my email contacts?”
9. Don’t spend too much time
Get into your email editor, put in your message and pictures, and send it out. It’s easy to become a perfectionist with the formatting. Keep your focus on the fact that this is about keeping a touchpoint with your contacts and getting a message out. There are many reasons spending too much time on your emails is a bad idea.
10. Always include your contact info in a prominent place
This is an often-overlooked item. Sometimes your newsletter will simply spark a reminder to your contacts that they wanted to reach out to you. Don’t make them search for that info on their own. Make it clear and obvious, in every email by including a professional email signature.
Follow these rules and you’ll be well on your way to seeing real success with your emails!
Image credit: http://bit.ly/lNxrsH
Do you have other questions or comments about email marketing? Leave them in the comments section, below.