How To: Simple Email Campaigns for Small Businesses
Most small business owners have a limited budget, and many think if their budget is too restricted, their marketing initiatives will be more difficult to perform in the long run. However, sometimes a simple email campaign can be an effective method of driving sales and conversion. In fact, email promotions can increase your customer acquisitions by at least seven percent every year! Research is constantly proving that email marketing is the most effective way to reach your current customers as well as reach new leads and turn those leads into customers.
Setting up an email campaign can be simplified by using one of a variety of different platforms that allow you to create, send, and track your emails. When it comes to your actual campaigns, you have a lot of options: Send out promotion codes, sale information, newsletters, and event reminders.
Be sure you are sending out content that your customers and target market will find useful as to avoid unsubscribers, and remember to never bombard your email list with too many promos and offers. In general, email marketing campaigns require three basic steps: creating the email, testing and assessing the email, and sending the email. Here are some quick tips on sending simple email campaigns for your small business.
The first step in your email marketing campaign strategy should be the creative aspect. What will you be sending out to your customers? As a small business owner you have many options when it comes to your email campaigns.
- Rewards Program Reminder: Let your loyal customers know about any frequent buyer programs you have going on, and be specific by telling each customer how many more purchases they have to make before receiving their reward.
- Topic Campaigns: These email campaigns will be based around content within your specific industry. For instance, you could create a monthly newsletter that details different aspects of your business. For example, if you are in the fitness industry, your newsletter could contain tips on staying motivated throughout the week, eating healthy, and upcoming marathons for the summer.
- Promotions and Special Offers: These emails are huge bait for customers when it comes to email campaigns. These are the emails that offer coupons and discounts to your customers who have subscribed to your email list. A great way to get emails for this list is to leave a sign-up form next to your cash register in your store.
- Cross-Sell and Upsell Campaigns: These email messages are great for staying in touch with old clients as well as for targeting specific customers for specific email marketing campaigns. For example, you can target customers who have purchased one product from you, like a new set of sheets, with email promos for another product you offer, such as new duvet covers or anything that goes along with decorating and furnishing a bedroom.
- Welcome Campaigns: You can begin to build up trust with new customers by sending them targeted emails that begin with a welcome email and continue each week with follow-up emails that contain tips on how to navigate your website and how they can get the most out of their purchases. Then you can follow up with your upselling and cross-selling campaigns.
Test and Assess
Before sending out your emails, be sure to get a second and third opinion. Try using focus groups or loyal customers that you have a good relationship with to the get their feedback. Make sure to ask how the design appeals to them, what they thought when they saw the subject line, if they liked the wording of the email, and what they thought of the configuration of ads, strength of the promotion, and the overall tone of the message. A good place to start when testing email campaigns is with your own employees.
Once you have come up with the concepts for your email campaigns, you need to decide which platform you want to use to send and track these emails. There are several solutions when it comes to email marketing, and here are a few of our favorite.
1. Mad Mimi
Mad Mimi allows businesses to customize and design their own themes to make their emails more personal. Mad Mimi focuses on the creative aspect of your email more than anything. And the platform is easy to use and generally creates unique, eye-catching emails that are simple and clean enough to grab the attention of your target market. There is a free and premium version of Mad Mimi; however, the free version lacks a customer support option and has an email limit per month. Plans for Mad Mimi start at $10 per month and offer customer relationship management, list management, reports, tracking, and secure delivery.
2. Constant Contact
Constant Contact was made for small businesses and offers customizable templates. The templates range from newsletters and emails to social media promotion, event management, and even landing page integration. It also offers real time reporting that allows you to track when your email has been opened, when the link has been used, and when that link has led to a purchase. Plans for Constant Contact range from $20 to $395 per month.
StreamSend not only creates emails and tracks them for you with list management and real time reporting but it also integrates with your social media platforms to maximize reach beyond a subscriber’s email inbox, meaning your receiver can share, like, or retweet your email message to all of their friends on followers. StreamSend plans start at $19.90 per month.
To get the very best open rates possible, try to send out your email campaigns at the best time for your customers. This often varies by industry, but in general the highest opening rate for bulk mail (22 percent) is after work and dinner times (later in the evening around 8 p.m.).
If you have never tried email marketing campaigns, now is the time. Many small businesses are capitalizing on this inexpensive and simple way of reaching out and engaging with their customers. Milk Handmade, a boutique out of Illinois, successfully implemented its own email campaign that gave the company nearly $1,000 worth of sales in just three days. The creative concept was a secret sale: An email went out with a subject line Our little Secret! This campaign had a 43 percent open rate and a 10 percent click-through rate! So get creative and come up with some valuable content that you could share with your customers and target market to increase sales and conversion!