If you haven’t tried email marketing yet for your small business, now is the perfect time to get started.
The first email marketing tools for businesses came out in the late 1990s. Since then, this industry has evolved into a juggernaut for freelancers, side hustlers, and international corporations.
When email marketing connects with its audience, it outperforms other digital marketing channels. That includes paid search and social media!
With returns of more than $42 for every dollar spent, it makes sense to invest in email marketing. When you can do much of the work yourself, you can stretch the value of that investment even further.
How to Do Email Marketing Yourself
When you’re ready to explore the potential benefits of email marketing for your business, you’ll want to ensure the following actions or activities are included in that process.
Choose a Service Provider
Unless you plan to write every message personally, it helps to work with an email service provider. You can leverage automation while delivering messages to a large contact or subscriber group without worrying about compromising your personal account.
Most email service providers offer professional templates and tools to help you manage emails lists, collect analytics, and track metrics.
Most businesses already have a few contacts from previous transactions that can help them start an email marketing list. If you don’t have this resource, a simple online signup form on your website or a couple of social media posts can kickstart the process from scratch.
Although it might be tempting to buy an email list, it is usually better to spend your resources building relationships and nurturing them.
A small list of high-quality contacts is often more productive than a massive file filled with people who have never heard of your company.
Set Up a Welcome Email
The welcome email is the first message that a new subscriber receives from your business. This tool is especially important because it serves as the first impression of your brand. You’re reaching people when they’re highly engaged, which means value reinforcement often leads to a conversion.
A great welcome email starts with a friendly greeting. It transitions to talk about what people can expect to receive in the future, and the best messages offer something useful.
Once you have the welcome email set up with your service provider, it will automatically distribute to each new contact.
Know When to Send Emails
When you’re ready to send a message to your subscriber list, timing is an essential factor to consider.
Each audience is different, which means the best time to deliver information is based on the demographics in your email list.
If you’re using the general population’s activities as the foundation of your timing, the best days to send a message are Tuesdays and Thursdays. You’ll want to avoid sending an email around 8 AM or 5 PM – based on the recipient’s time zone, not yours.
The worst days to send an email for most businesses are Saturdays and Sundays. Since that is the weekend for most families, they’re taking care of their personal lives. What is in the inbox will stay there until at least Monday.
If you’re unsure of when to send an email, A/B testing can deliver the information you need to know when the maximum open rate occurs.
How to Write an Email Campaign
Email copy is an effective marketing strategy when you get the content right. That means the emphasis should be on creating a conversion-first piece that focuses on how the reader defines value.
These tips can help you start improving the open rates, click-through metrics, and conversions that happen with each message.
1. Focus on the subject line.
Email marketing won’t go anywhere if a reader isn’t tempted to open a message. That means the subject line must be a priority.
When you get it right, the open rates can be incredible. If you get it wrong, the email will get deleted or reported as spam.
People open messages if they feel like it will benefit them. A brief summary of what to expect and why the email is valuable is an effective combination.
2. Create a logical structure.
When you write email copy for marketing purposes, the process is similar to what you’d create for a website. It should have a logical structure to it that starts with a relational thesis, describes your unique sales proposition, and offers a call to action.
Since emails are meant for immediate reader consumption, it helps to incorporate the following items into its structure.
- Include bullet points to emphasize a specific statement.
- Use short paragraphs of 2-3 sentences for easy reading.
- Incorporate one main idea throughout the message.
Most short emails don’t need a subheading. If you plan to write something of more than 150 words, it is best to incorporate one at that time.
3. Be conversational and polite.
People don’t like it when you shout at them. Would you want to buy something from a vendor that was always screaming in your ear?
Probably not. Most people would walk away in that scenario.
That principle works the same way with email marketing. Using an ALL-CAPS approach or incorporating multiple exclamation points in your content reads like a visual shout.
It also makes the content look like spam.
When you compose an email, try to keep things conversational. You’re trying to build a relationship, which means a little politeness can go a long way toward building trust.
4. Understand your audience.
Excellent email marketing copy must show your targeted audience why your stuff is more valuable than the competition’s goods or services. The best way to determine how to approach that content is to understand the needs of the people who will read your message.
The best way to manage your emails is to collect information from web metrics, social analytics, and personal reactions. Once you get to know how your customers react, it’ll be easier to write copy that offers a problem-solving benefit.
5. Practice writing a persuasive message.
This part of the email campaign tends to be the scariest step for most people. Writer’s block can happen to anyone, and it’s even worse when there is pressure on you to create a successful marketing effort.
One of the easiest ways to practice writing persuasive copy for emails is to pretend to have a face-to-face conversation with a potential customer. Write down everything you’d say to that person about your business, the product, or a specific opportunity.
You’ll want to break the message down into these three core elements.
- What are you offering?
- How does it help the reader?
- What should they do next?
This simple formula makes it easier to stay focused on writing the copy, ensuring that a compelling message gets created quickly.
6. Write the email for the reader.
The average person doesn’t understand your industry’s jargon. They also avoid buzzwords or copy written for other purposes. It’s up to you to sound like a real person when communicating to your email list.
The goal is to be as conversational as possible. Even if you have complicated terms that customers need to review, you can try to break the idea into a more understandable context.
Authenticity is what delivers results. You don’t need to be dry or dull with your content to show that you’ve got expertise. If you can inspire the imagination, even if it’s just a personal anecdote, it’ll help your brand become more memorable.
Here are some ideas that can help you appeal to the readers’ emotions and encourage them to act.
- Use literary techniques to create a unique style that people instantly recognize.
- Incorporate sensory words into the email copy to help people envision the picture you’ve painted.
- Offer powerful phrases to convey action and inspire individuals to take action.
It is crucial during this stage to avoid making anything that sounds like a false promise. The email should come across as copy that offers authentic value.
7. Be relevant.
Generic marketing has a role in how small business owners connect with consumers, but it shouldn’t be the only technique used.
Targeted marketing is often more effective because it focuses your copywriting on niche segments that highlight personal expertise.
Each customer segment needs to hear something different from you. Someone who just joined your email marketing list has different needs than a long-term repetitive consumer.
If you can stay relevant, you’ll keep your message at the top of the mind of each consumer.
8. Set goals for your email marketing efforts.
It is better to pursue a single goal for each email message than to incorporate multiple ideas. By sticking to one subject, it’ll be easier to focus your marketing copy and stay productive.
If you get stuck at this stage, try to focus on the single action you’d want a reader to take after reviewing the message. Once you have that idea, you can build the rest of the text around that.
Some small business owners get locked into a creative pattern where each email sent must have a sales approach. You don’t need to be selling something every time.
As the writer, you’re everything from the matchmaker to the instructor. Without something compelling and valuable, there isn’t a way to create a transaction.
9. Let people get to know you.
Most people like to receive emails with a picture of the sender. That lets the reader know that the message comes from a personal source instead of a generic account.
If you take this approach to your email marketing, it’ll help each subscriber form connections with you. That’s the first step toward winning a conversion.
10. Preview the email before sending it.
When you first start writing emails, it’s easy to let a mistake slip through to your senders. Even professional marketers have issues occasionally with messages that don’t contain links or offer the wrong information.
It helps to get into the habit of previewing emails before sending them. Although some mistakes might slip through, you’ll find it is much easier to catch spelling mistakes or missing links.
If you have a subscription to a service like Grammarly, you can also look for repetitive words, incorrect grammar, and other errors.
As a final step, remember to send an email to yourself as a test before contacting the entire list. That way, you’ll know what the message looks like to your readers.
11. Track your results.
Email marketing doesn’t send when you click the “Send” button. Your business needs to track several metrics, including the open rate, the click-through rate, and the unsubscribe rate.
If you can work to improve those metrics over time, you’ll find that email marketing can be a lucrative investment!
It only takes a few minutes with your email reports to see who is opening the messages and clicking links. You’ll also get to know what information is the most interesting to each reader.
Don’t forget about tracking the actions that happen after an email. How many clicks to your landing pages are translating into revenues? What profits are coming from each message sent to the subscriber list?
The answers you get from these efforts will help you to refine future messages.
Want articles like this in your inbox once or twice a month?
Sign up for our newsletter!
60% of Businesses Don’t Use Email Marketing
Although it helps to have an email service provider for your marketing needs, using a costly management program isn’t necessary. A platform with all the bells and whistles might make this process fast and simple, but it also tends to be more expensive.
That’s why knowing how to compose, send, and follow up on emails you’ve created can help your business grow.
Only 40% of small business owners use email marketing right now. That means you can set yourself apart instantly by adding this asset to your resources.
Email marketing isn’t a new concept. It is a tried-and-true effort that provides value and delivers results. When you use this medium to engage with your customers, you’ll have an excellent chance to increase your sales.