If you’re just starting to venture into small business email marketing or are looking to optimize your campaigns to get more conversions, it’s challenging to predict how your audience will react to the emails you send.
Everything from formatting, topic, frequency, delivery times, and content must be selected carefully to yield the best small business email marketing results.
Following proven best practices should be your first action. Over time, once you’ve put all the general best practices into place, you can begin A/B testing to further optimize your email marketing campaigns.
It’s important to understand from the start that email marketing is a process that yields results over time, and it must consistently evolve to keep the audience’s interest.
For small businesses that want to increase sales, generate more leads, and increase their content exposure, there really is no better method than email marketing.
Keep reading to learn about the best practices for small business email marketing.
Best practices for small business email marketing
1. Every email should have a clear purpose.
If the sender doesn’t really know why they’re sending an email, the receiver certainly won’t know why they’re getting it. To keep abuse reports, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates low, it’s important to not only identify the purpose of each email you send, but also to make that purpose clear in the email itself.
Users want to know why they’re getting an email from you, and you often only have a few seconds to make your purpose clear before they click away or report the email as spam. Every email should have a clear purpose to optimize small business email marketing results.
2. Create rigorous standards for quality.
Before you send your first (or next) campaign, come up with a few quality standards or criteria you believe your emails should meet. Should all images be at least 500 pixels wide? Should all header and paragraph text be in certain fonts? Will you only link out to websites that are highly rated?
By determining your quality standards ahead of time, you’re more likely to stick to them and dedicate yourself to creating the highest quality email campaigns possible.
3. Ensure emails are properly formatted.
Even with the right topic, design, and content, an email can still fall flat with your audience if it’s not properly formatted. Large, unbroken walls of text, a lack of emphasis on text using bold or italics, no bulleted or numbered lists, headings, or dividing lines all result in one thing: Visually boring and overwhelming your reader.
If you want to keep your readers interested in your email (and you do, if you want conversions), you must properly format your text.
This accomplishes a few things:
- It separates text into easily identifiable sections
- It emphasizes important words, phrases, or topics
- It breaks up otherwise homogeneous text into manageable chunks
- It’s visually appealing unlike overwhelming walls of text
4. Include something of value in each email.
Whether it’s a discount code, a free download, or a personalized thank you, you should include something of value to your reader in every email. Small business email marketing benefits tremendously from the personal touch, and what better way to begin to establish a loyal customer than by gifting them with something they’ll appreciate?
By giving your reader something extra, you’re sending the message that you appreciate them and care enough to offer a token of that appreciation. Over time, these types of interactions and “value exchanges” create more loyal customers.
5. Send emails at the right frequency.
Sending too many emails is damaging to your reputation and results in high abuse report and unsubscribe rates. Sending emails that are far and few between is also dangerous because your subscribers don’t develop a relationship with your company and lose interest in opening your emails.
Finding the right frequency to send your emails at is challenging, but not impossible. Start off by sending your emails once a month or biweekly. If you’re able to manage that flow and your subscribers aren’t complaining, you can bump your frequency up to once weekly.
Track the changes, and if your audience is receptive to the more frequent mailings, stick with it. If unsubscribe or abuse rates start creeping up, drop your frequency back down and test other areas of your mailings.