Choosing a marketing strategy can be a real head-scratcher for small business owners. There are a ton of options these days, from social media marketing and blogging to video marketing, sharing on video platforms, and digital advertising.
But amid all this marketing chaos, don’t underestimate the good old email. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to boost your business, delivering the highest return on investment (ROI) than any other channel.
But email marketing is a competitive channel, with 392.5 billion emails zipping around every single day. When you think about it, there are only around 8 billion people on this planet, so that’s a whole lot of emails.
To ensure your marketing message doesn’t disappear into the abyss and actually catches the eye of your audience, here are some email marketing growth tips you should stick to:
Optimize Your Email List
Email list optimization is culling those email addresses from your contact list that last engaged with you quite a while ago and deleting those who’ve opted out of the subscription.
To really make the most of your marketing efforts and the sweat you’ve put into growing your list, you have to give it a trim every now and then.
Get rid of those unresponsive recipients, the ones who’ve not engaged with you in any way, those who’ve marked your content as spam, and the email addresses to which your email gets bounced to optimize your list.
That’ll improve your sender’s reputation, make sure your emails don’t end up in the bin, and help you grow in the long run.
Offer Something of True Value
If you consistently give your subscribers a fair reason to open and read your emails, they’re more likely to keep an eye out for your messages in their inbox.
Start by thinking like your customers do and consider what they’re after from you. Say you run an online clothing store, and your customers consider it a pain not being able to try on your gear before buying. Your email marketing process should tackle this issue head-on..
In your email newsletters or content blasts, you could dish out advice on online clothes shopping. You could also whip up a custom size finder instead of a generic size guide and give your subscribers a link to it in your emails.
That kind of email content is what we mean by “giving value” to your subscribers. Sure, deals and new product info are great, but people expect that kind of thing regularly. To stand out, you have to go the extra mile.
And if you don’t want to take a wild guess at what your subscribers want, just ask them:
- Let new subscribers pick what kind of content they want when they join your email list.
- Survey your existing customers to find out their desires and monitor any changes.
- Encourage your subscribers to hit you up with their ideas and opinions by replying to your emails.
Speaking of giving value to your subscribers, you have to consider the accessibility factor, too. Your audience won’t see the value in your emails if they can’t actually read them. There are two main things to consider:
- Your emails should be mobile-friendly so they look good on different devices (computers, phones, tablets).
- Ensure your emails can be understood by people who use screen readers. Add descriptive alt-text to images and use a font that’s easy to read, especially for those who are visually impaired.
Optimize Your Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
Your calls-to-action (CTAs) can have a massive impact on how many people actually click on your emails. And that affects your chances of making sales.
If your CTA is a bit wishy-washy, you’ll end up with fewer people clicking and, in the end, fewer sales. So, put in some effort to beef up your CTAs and make sure they really hit the mark.
Try using both buttons and text CTAs, and focus on using words that really grab your subscribers’ attention.
Here are some top email marketing tips to improve your CTAs:
- Start off with a strong action word, like “shop,” “get,” or “download.”
- Get your subscribers feeling something—stir up some emotions.
- Give them a good reason to click, like “buy now and score 35% off.”
- Play on the fear of missing out (FOMO)—try “grab your seat – only 3 spots left!”
Another great move is to use specific language—you want to give your subscribers a clear idea of where they’re headed, especially for your major CTAs.
For example, if you’re showing off a new batch of gear, your CTA could say, “Check out our winter collection,” and when they click, it should take them straight to that part of your website.
Write Compelling Email Subject Lines
The subject line is the very first thing your subscribers will lay eyes on, and if it isn’t catchy, they won’t be clicking through.
Invest some time in your subject lines — it can be the difference between tons of click-throughs and none at all.
The competition in email inboxes these days is as fierce as it gets. People are drowning in a flood of marketing emails every week. Your job is to make yours stand out without going overboard on the sales pitch.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Keep your subject line short and sweet, around 50–60 characters, so it’s easy to read.
- Use strong action words to give to entice them into opening the email.
- Give a sneak peek of what’s inside the email—set expectations.
- If you can, throw in your subscriber’s name in the subject line to make it feel more personal.
Protect Your Data from Cybersecurity Threats and Leaks
Email marketing campaigns have proven to be a great way for businesses to grow with a return on investment that leaves most other forms of advertising in the dust.
But email is also cybercriminals’ top choice for getting into people’s computers, snatching private info, and raiding bank accounts. In fact, 75% of all malware comes from dodgy emails.
Scammers pretend to represent you and trick your customers with dodgy links and malware. With phishing scams, they deceive you into sharing private data, like financial info, by pretending to be trusted sources.
So, you need to educate your customers and team members about these popular methods scammers use.
The top defense against your mail getting snooped on or infected is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts all your data, making it gibberish to anyone except the sender and receiver. Here’s what a VPN can do for you:
- Your emails are encrypted while they’re on the way to their recipients, thanks to end-to-end encryption. Only the people sending and receiving the messages can decode them.
- No one can play tricks with your messages because hackers can’t mess with what’s inside. That means cybercriminals can’t pretend to be you.
- It locks down your email domain to the IP addresses you use. If some shady IP address tries to send emails using your domain, they’ll hit a brick wall.
Execute Targeted Campaigns Based on Triggers
Trigger-based campaigns are a set of marketing messages that get sent out to your contacts based on specific actions they take.
For instance, if someone clicks a link in one email, that can trigger two follow-up emails that only go out to those who opened the link. It can work the other way around, too.
If you send an email and someone doesn’t click the link, you might send another email with a question or some content they might be keen on instead.
These trigger-based campaigns are a great way to keep the conversation rolling with your subscribers.
Instead of hitting everyone with the same old monthly newsletter and weekly sales pitch, you stay connected with your audience based on how they get along with your business.
Marketing automation does all the heavy lifting by sending out those emails. You just need to set up the triggers.
You can set up three different types of automated emails like this:
- Behavior-based triggers—for example, when a contact checks out a landing page on your website, clicks a link in your email, or makes a purchase, they’ll get a follow-up email.
- Demographic-based triggers—these are handy for sending birthday wishes to your audience.
- Time-based triggers – perfect for giving your customers a nudge when their subscription is about to run out, it’s time to reorder, or for re-engagement campaigns.
Email marketing still works—it continues to deliver. But it’s not just about shooting out the same email to everyone anymore.
Now, you have to fire off spot-on messages to your target audience. Messages that feel like they were crafted just for them, and they have to look good on all kinds of devices.
And don’t forget to test the waters with some new stuff. Trends in digital marketing change very fast, and what was a winner a year ago might not cut it today. Be ready to experiment. And once you figure out what works, find ways to make it all happen on autopilot with triggered emails.