The new year is always about a fresh start, turning a new leaf, and starting something new.
Does your small business want to get better acquainted with your customers?
Do you want to add email marketing to your outreach strategy in 2016? With all the noise that consumers deal with on a daily basis,
adding to their email inboxes may seem counterproductive, but the opposite is true.
Email marketing is a powerful tool your small business can use to reach your customers where they already are — their email inbox.
There are a number of email services out there to help you connect with your customers.
Sites like Mailchimp, Constant Contact and AWeber all have tools and templates to create email campaigns that
look great and are easy to send. If you want a professional-looking email with easy client management tools,
a platform like these may be the way to go. That being said, you can also send emails to your list straight from your email
service, but it can be more time-intensive and may not look the way you envision.
Make It Easy
In order for your email marketing efforts to succeed, you need a list of people (emails) to market to! Make it easy
for people to subscribe to your e-newsletter by putting a simple link or entry form on your website in an easy-to-find spot.
After someone subscribes to your email list, send them a short “welcome” email and tell them what they can expect from your
email communications. This is another reason to choose an email marketing platform over doing it all yourself, as there are
auto-emails that can be created and sent on your behalf whenever a new email address is added to your subscriber list.
This is the most important tip we can give you about email marketing. People’s inboxes are already stuffed with emails that they
don’t read, so make sure your messages don’t get lost in the shuffle. Make your emails something they actually want to open and
read by adding value to their lives. Clue your customers in on new products and services, any specials that may be coming down the
road, how you’re involved in your community and how your customers can reach you if they have questions. Email marketing can
also help you grow your social presence, so invite your email subscribers to like and follow your social pages. You can also encourage
your social fans to become email subscribers by providing the email opt-in link. Be mindful of SPAM rules
(you can read more about the CAN-SPAM act here) so that your emails don’t get sucked into the wrong folders.
A Calendar Helps
Be aware of how often you email your list. You don’t want to annoy them and make them want to unsubscribe, but you also don’t
want them to forget about you. Balance is key, so only write if you have something to say. A production schedule or publishing calendar
can help you decide when is the right time to send an email. A calendar can also help you craft and schedule some emails ahead of time
so you don’t have to remember when your ‘Summer Clearance Event’ message is going to go out. Pay attention to your list size as well,
and if using an email service, your open and click rates. If you find that certain types of emails are getting opened more than others, that
information can help you create more emails that are interesting to your readers. If you send an email and find that you had a large number
Email is anything but dead. It’s a vital part of any marketing plan, allowing you to reach readers easily at any time. But with all the inbox
competition that emails face each day, how can you make your emails stand out? And if you’re new to email marketing, where should you begin?
Here are 10 tips for making your email program shine.
1.Craft engaging subject lines. Once readers have opted in, you still need to stand out among a sea of emails in their crowded inboxes to get your
message opened. Attention-grabbing subject lines are key to successful open rates, so don’t make the mistake of rushing through this important step.
The subject line is the first creative aspect of your email that a subscriber will see, so take the time to craft your subject line.
2. Collect email addresses — all the time! The first step to any successful email program is allowing fans to sign up to receive your emails.
Without a list, you won’t be able to build a successful email program. Add a subscription form to your website and Facebook page, allowing
readers to opt in to your email list. Also collect email addresses at events such as book signings and conventions. Remember to make it clear to
readers that by submitting their addresses, they’re consenting to receive email.
3. Use an email service provider. We recommend using an email service provider (ESP) to deploy your email blasts. An ESP is a system that allows you
to manage your address list, create designed emails, manage unsubscribe requests, and view performance records (open rates, click rates, etc.).
An email service provider also gives you an array of prebuilt templates, so you don’t need to have coding skills to design an email. Popular ESPs for
authors and small businesses include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor.
4.Optimize for mobile. According to Litmus, approximately 50 percent of subscribers open email on a mobile device. That means your mobile
audience should be kept in mind when you’re designing (or choosing) an email template. When looking for a template to use through an ESP,
choose a mobile-friendly design (most ESPs will specify whether or not a template is optimized for mobile use). If you’re working with an agency
to have a customized email template built for you, request that the template be coded as mobile-friendly (or responsive).
5. Promote your brand, but don’t worry about selling. Email doesn’t have to be about selling your book. It can also be a great way to promote yourself
as a brand and establish a relationship with readers. Use email to share news and links that your readers will find interesting. A balance
of informative and promotional content will help build a loyal and trusting subscriber base.
6. Check your email before sending. Your emails may render differently across devices, email clients, and browsers. For example, your email may
look fine in AOL, but then appear strangely formatted in Gmail. In order to see how your email renders in different spots, we recommend creating
test accounts with the top email clients (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook.com). Before each deployment, send your testing addresses a copy of
your email and check the rendering using several different browsers and devices.
7. Monitor the spam filter. Email delivery can be tricky. From time to time, messages end up in your spam filter instead of your inbox. This is a normal
part of email marketing. We recommend subscribing to your newsletter on a few different email platforms, with either your personal email address
or ones created just for testing. Check the inboxes after each deploy. If you start to notice that your emails are always delivered to your spam folder,
this may indicate a larger problem. Speak with your ESP’s service desk if you notice such a problem. Examining your subscriber list and removing people
who have not opened an email in a long time is typically the first step to resolving a spam issue.
8. Test, test, test. Email senders often ask questions like the following: What is the best time to send an email? What is the best day of the week to send
an email? Are subscribers more likely to open an email if I include my name in the subject line? The way to answer all of these questions is testing.
There is no general best time of day, or day of the week, to send an email. These variables will change from subscriber base to subscriber base,
so the only way to determine what works for your audience is to test different combinations and compare the results to see what leads to higher
open and click rates. Don’t be afraid to test different content to see what leads to better results.
9. Stay compliant with email laws. As an email sender, you’re responsible for complying with the law, so it’s important to know what’s legally required.
In the U.S., the FTC enforces the CAN-SPAM Act. In Canada, the government is passing a new law in 2014, referred to as
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (or CASL). For a list of CAN-SPAM requirements, visit the , and for information on Canada’s anti-spam law,
visit Canada’s anti-spam webpage.
10. Send email regularly. In order to maintain healthy email delivery rates, aim to send messages on a consistent basis. You don’t have to send
something daily, but if you’re launching an email program, send at least one email a month to keep your audience engaged and to preserve your
of people unsubscribe from your list, that can be a clue as well as to what kind of content is resonating with your customers.
Use Your Captive Audience
In addition to sending messages that add value, use your emails to gather other information from your email list. A quick poll email asking
about what products customers would like to see or what improvements they wish you’d implement can be a fast and inexpensive way to
do some research. Making your emails shareable can also expand your reach, in addition to creating the potential for new subscribers if your
customers are forwarding your company emails to their friends and family. The better the content, the more often your emails will be shared!