Today’s digital landscape is a competitive one, with brands vying for their customers’ (ever-shortening) attention spans.
That’s why we’re hitting you with this truth bomb: there’s no point running any old small business email marketing campaign. Email marketing campaigns need to stand out in a cluttered inbox.
So, how do you create a successful email marketing campaign?
An email campaign is a targeted series of emails sent to a group of people to promote a product, service, or brand. It’s a strategic approach to building relationships, engaging your audience, and encouraging them to take specific actions, such as making a purchase, reading a blog post, downloading a lead magnet, or signing up for an event.
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The success of a marketing email lies in its ability to capture and retain the recipient’s attention. In a world of distractions, your email must stand out, provide value, and drive action. Fail to do so, and you could find your email deleted, ignored, or—even worse—sent to the dreaded spam folder.
Email campaigns are not just a thing we do we do for the sake of getting something out there—every campaign, email marketing theme, and email marketing topic should be backed by strategy and guided by specific goals. What do you want the recipient to do after reading your message?
Typical campaign goals could include:
The goal of your campaign will impact everything from the content to the timing and key performance indicators (KPIs) you choose to measure.
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The best email marketing campaign is one that’s targeted. Remember, if your message is for everybody, it’s for nobody—and most likely heading for the junk folder. Customers today have come to expect that brands send personalized communications with highly relevant content, so use your data to customize content for specific segments of your subscriber list.
There are two main elements to creating customized content:
The key to creating content that converts is thinking about what you can do for your audience instead of what you want them to do for you.
Our top tip for how to write an email marketing campaign in one sentence: write concise, engaging copy with a clear CTA that encourages action.
Here are some common sections to include when writing an email marketing campaign:
See our email promoting our SEO eBook as an example:
Other content to consider for your email copy:
If you’ve ever received a poorly designed email, you know how off-putting it can be, even if the content is decent. If your emails look awful, that reflects poorly on your brand and can make people stop reading or delete them immediately.
Here are some quick tips for an appealing email design.
Part of running our email marketing campaign may include setting up automated workflows to ensure timely communication without the manual effort. Nurturing your audience at certain critical moments during the customer journey helps you build strong relationships with them and can win you more business. Common automations include workflows for onboarding new customers, reaching out to those with abandoned carts, and re-engagement campaigns.
When someone clicks ‘Send My Guide’, they are automatically emailed a link to access the guide.
A few days after receiving the guide, they are sent an automated email to ask if they have any questions Blueline can help with, along with other resources they might enjoy. This nurturing sequence keeps Blueline top-of-mind and might encourage the recipient to one day become a client.
Don’t be like the U.S. military, which accidentally sent sensitive information to a company that manages Mali’s internet domain for years thanks to a simple typo (caused by the similarity between the .MIL and .ML domains, which are used for US military and Malian email addresses, respectively).
Proofreading and previewing your emails before sending them is a basic aspect of running a small business email marketing campaign, but it’s often overlooked. You can have a beautiful design, catchy subject line, and the best email service provider, but if there is a typo, poor choice of words, or a broken link, you’ll lose credibility with your subscribers. Before hitting the big SEND or SCHEDULE button, send a test email to your company’s most eagle-eyed employees to thoroughly check that all links are working, no grammar gremlins have slipped in, and the design is working as it should.
You’ve got your goal, segmented your list, created and tested your message, and set up automations. It’s finally time to unleash your hard work to the world (or, at least, your carefully-curated target list). But if you’ve only finished doing all of the above by 1 am, it’s probably best to schedule rather than send it straight away.
Much analysis (sometimes conflicting) has gone into the best times and days of the week to send marketing emails. But every business is different, and we think it’s best to use your common sense based on what you know about your specific target audience. For example, if you’re targeting people who work a night shift, then 1 am may well be a good time to send an email! The beauty of email marketing is that you can experiment with different times and determine what works best for you. Sometimes, sending at off times can lead to higher open rates simply because so many other senders are following the conventional wisdom.
Emailing is just the first step in achieving small business email marketing success. Email marketing provides a wealth of data you can analyze and use to refine your strategy and improve future campaigns. It’s always exciting (and hopefully a positive experience) to check your email stats after a campaign to monitor click-through rates, conversion rates, and other metrics to measure campaign effectiveness.
CAUTION: Some metrics are more reliable than others, and there are a couple of red herrings out there. We recommend focusing on the metrics that matter, like conversions and ROI.
Testing is the secret sauce for successful email marketing. From design to copy, subject lines, send times, segments and calls to action, you can test virtually any aspect of your email campaigns. The key is to pick one at a time, aka A/B testing. A/B testing involves selecting one element to change in an email, such as a subject line.
Here’s how A/B testing works:
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Running a successful email marketing campaign for your small business requires a strategic approach that considers your audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviors. Remember, the key is to provide value, foster relationships, and deliver content that means something and adds value to your subscribers.
Need a partner in small business email marketing?
If you need help creating and executing an email marketing strategy for your small business, our team would love to hear from you. We can provide strategic guidance or take the whole project off your plate.
Brighter Messaging is a digital marketing strategy company that specializes in supporting small, service-based businesses in their digital marketing efforts.
Fill in the form to schedule a free consultation today.