There are many ways to promote a business online, ranging from pay-per-click (PPC) and banner buys, to search engine optimization (SEO) and social media networking.
But, even with all of these powerful marketing platforms, email remains one of the most effective for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Why You Should Embrace Email Marketing
Your small or medium-sized business can benefit from email marketing in several different ways. Email has been proven one of the most cost-effective ways to promote a product or service because:
- It offers near-instant results.
- There’s plenty of metrics and analytical data available to further optimize your campaigns.
- It increases brand awareness.
- It is easy to share.
Of course, there are just as few of the many benefits associated with email marketing. If you take the plunge into email marketing, you’ll probably discover other benefits I haven’t listed here.
The Scoop on Email Newsletters
If you’re going to use email marketing, it’s recommended that you create a newsletter. A newsletter is a subscription-based delivery model in which users sign up to receive emails from a website or business.
You’ve probably seen newsletter signups on other websites. Many websites and blogs contain these newsletter signup forms. The user enters their name and email address to receive emails.
But it takes more than just a generic signup form and a couple of promotional emails to create a successful newsletter. If users aren’t interested in your emails, they’ll unsubscribe, at which point you can no longer send additional emails to the user.
As per the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, email newsletters must feature a visible “unsubscribe” link in their message, giving recipients the option to stop receiving emails at any time they choose. So, what steps can you take to optimize your email newsletter for a stronger reaction and more sales/conversions while still complying with the CAN-SPAM Act?
Speaking of SPAM Act, click here to read my post on SPAM laws. The more you know, the more power you have to optimize your newsletter!
Create Engaging Subject Lines
Arguably, one of the most important elements in an email newsletter is the subject line. This element is the first thing a recipient sees when checking his or her inbox, meaning it can make or break your open rates.
Using a general subject line like “July Newsletter” isn’t going to yield a high response, nor will it produce conversions. Subject lines should be relevant, eye-catching, clear and concise, telling the recipient why they need to open the email.
Don’t overlook the character count of your email subject lines, either. According to HubSpot, keeping subject lines under 50 characters will maximize its visibility on desktop computers. But if you intend on reaching mobile users with your email newsletter (and you should), you should keep subject lines under 20 characters.
Test Different ‘From’ Names
One of the most overlooked elements of an email newsletter is the from name. As the name suggests, this indicates who sent the email.
Unfortunately, there’s no single best type of from name. What works best for one business may yield poor results for another business. So, how do you know what works and what doesn’t? Simply by split-testing two or more different from names.
Experiment by using a variety of different from names, such as your business’s name, personal name, team, customer service, etc. As long as you keep the remaining elements the same, split-testing different from names will give you a better idea the variant that works best. Never split tested before? No problem. Click here for more information!
Test Different Frequencies
In addition to using different from names, you should also test different frequencies for your email newsletter. Sending too many emails in a short period may result in some of them getting marketing spam.
On the other hand, not sending enough emails will limit the effectiveness of your newsletter as a marketing tool. The only way you’ll know how many emails to send is by testing different frequencies.
Start by sending one email per month, and after a couple of months, increase the frequency to two emails per month.
As long as your subscriber rates look good, go ahead and increase the frequency to once per week and then twice per week. Generally speaking, though, it’s best to send no more than two emails per week in a newsletter campaign.
Send Both Commercial and Non-Commercial Emails
When someone signs up for an email newsletter, they typically don’t expect to receive a ton of commercialized advertisements. This thought doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t send subscribers advertisements, but you should use a combination of both commercial and non-commercial emails.
In other words, mix things up by sending one commercial email for every three non-commercial emails. If you send subscribers an email advertising a new product or service, wait a while before sending a similar commercial-driven email.
If all of the emails in your newsletter are nothing more than ads, you may find subscribers clicking the dreaded “unsubscribe” button.
Internet users today are often reluctant to hand out their emails, fearing you will bombard them with spam! You can encourage them to sign up, however, by offering some incentive.
This incentive doesn’t have to be a gift card or some other item of monetary value, as free incentives often work the best. For instance, you could give users a free guide or report in exchange for signing up. Or you could give them access to a special members-only area on your website.
Do you check your emails on a smartphone or tablet? Well, you aren’t alone. The mobile revolution is here, with more people now accessing the Internet on mobile devices than desktops.
Failure to create and use mobile-friendly emails in your newsletter could result in compatibility and other problems. The bottom line is that you need to make sure your emails are fully functional on both desktop and mobile devices.
Have any other newsletter optimization tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!
How to Optimize Your Email Newsletter
There are many ways to promote a business online. But even with all of these powerful marketing platforms, email remains one of the most effective for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).