Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools available to any small business. An effective email marketing campaign has the potential to gain new customers while deepening relationships with existing ones. However, if approached haphazardly, email marketing will likely prove unsuccessful and costly.
Here are three email marketing strategies for small businesses to embrace.
1. Keep compliant
In a sense, this is the most important aspect of any email marketing campaign. After all, if a small business does not adhere to relevant regulations, it may find itself facing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, as well as other sanctions. Just as significantly, the media attention a business receives when it violates such rules will severely tarnish its reputation, driving away potential customers for months or even years.
The most significant compliance regulation when it comes to email marketing is the 2003 Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, better known as the CAN-SPAM Act. This law has a number of regulations built into it, including rules concerning unsubscribe options. Specifically, the CAN-SPAM Act mandates that any businesses sending out emails must include a clear and easy way for recipients to unsubscribe in every message. Additionally, all unsubscribe requests must take effect no more than 10 days later.
For some businesses, compliance can be maintained by manually updating email lists as unsubscribe requests arrive. For others, though, this may be impractical, in which case dedicated, automated software is essential. In any case, achieving compliance should be seen as not only a best practice, but an absolute priority when engaging in email marketing.
2. Be brief but frequent
There are a number of reasons why consumers subscribe to receive emails from a given business. Maybe they want to receive coupons and other promotions. Maybe they like to hear about local, industry-related events. Maybe they are interested in the company's insight.
In any case, the subscribers are interested in the business in some capacity. But that interest will only go so far. Most customers, even very loyal ones, will not dedicate more than a few minutes to reading an email message from the organization in question.
Spending a long time composing long, detailed email messages is not a wise marketing strategy. While a few recipients will likely appreciate such efforts, most will see the length and immediately turn away. This means that not only was the email marketing endeavor unsuccessful, but all of the time and effort put into the messages was wasted.
Instead of a few long, in-depth messages, it is better to aim for frequent, short emails. These are more likely to be read, and have the additional bonus of keeping the business on the recipient's mind as the messages arrive regularly.
3. Analyze information
The only way to truly optimize an email marketing campaign is by monitoring performance on an ongoing basis and making adjustments as time goes on. To this end, analytics are essential.
Any business hoping to embark on an email marketing campaign should have tools in place that can determine how frequently emails are opened, how many people click on links in those messages and more. Business leaders can then use this information to determine what types of messages work and which types are ignored.
If a business owner does not take this data into account, though, the firm's email marketing effort is unlikely to yield significant results, and will certainly not be as effective as it could be. Monitoring and analytics are critical for maximizing efficiency and outcomes.