Finding the right marketing tools that are not only effective, but also affordable can be a challenge for marketers. And once found, ensuring that tools are used effectively to drive dollars to the bottom line should be a key imperative for the small business owner.
Over the years, as new online advertising tools are popping up regularly, email continues to be an affordable option for small business. Email marketing tools are not only evolving and becoming more innovative, they are also proven to drive higher click-through rates and conversion.
Below are five tips that small business owners should consider as they start to build out an email marketing program.
Develop a Relationship With a Known ESP
Your reputation is everything when it comes to email marketing. Be sure to develop a relationship with a trusted Email Service Provider (ESP). They will not only ensure that your email is delivered, but also keep you on track and provide suggestions for keeping your lists clean and up to date. Many ESPs also offer other services such as access to email templates, opt-in advertising programs paid for on a cost-per-lead basis, and access to experts to help you create stronger campaigns that deliver results.
A Less is More Approach Drives Higher Open Rates
Looking across our network we have pulled data on character counts in email subject lines and have found that less is definitely more when it comes to driving higher open rates. Our research tells us that the best subject line has between 10 and 30 characters while anything over 50 drives the open rates down significantly.
- 10-30 characters: 39%
- 30-40 characters: 34%
- 40-50 characters: 32%
- 50-60 characters: 24%
These numbers are telling; be sure to adopt a less is more strategy when creating subject lines for email campaigns.
Marry Images With Text For Maximum Impact
If you are using images to explain important details, be sure to also reiterate those details with text. Certain email clients will block images that are included in an HTML email. It’s important to have a back-up. So be sure to offer up descriptive text with images that you place in your email and tie them back to your call-to-action for maximum impact.
Make The Call-to-Action Clear and Leverage HTML Buttons
The goal with email marketing is to drive conversions. To help ensure your customers click through and convert from browsers to buyers, a clear call to action is of the utmost importance. How do you make this happen?
If your goal is to drive traffic to your site or to a particular product, use a button built out of pure HTML with a clear call to action (e.g., Click To Buy Now, Click For More Details, etc.,) to attract the user’s attention. HTML buttons are better because they will always be displayed and customers are conditioned and understand how to “click” for more details and/or “click” to buy.
As mentioned above, images may be hidden by certain mail clients so HTML is a great solution to bypass an image that may be missing.
Vary Email Design and Conduct A/B Testing
With messages and images bombarding the consumer’s visual periphery at every moment of the day, variation should be built into your design strategy.
Try to shy away from using the same template for every email. Users will become resistant to interacting with messages that appear similar, even if the content is considerably different. Play around with different column configurations, image locations, HTML buttons, call to actions and overall copy.
You should also use A/B testing to see what works best. This is when the same campaign is delivered to segments of your email list, but in a different format and with varying images and text. Using A/B testing will help you better determine what works and then you can adjust your campaigns using what drives the best click throughs and conversions.
Will is the Director of Product at Opt-Intelligence, a company that helps
businesses of all sizes easily generate new email subscribers with
pioneering ad technology. Prior to joining Opt-Intelligence in 2009, Will
managed innovative customer programs for his favorite NFL franchise, the Buffalo Bills. Will received a BS in Economics from Bentley College. He also studied marketing at the Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark.