The options for marketing your small business continue to grow, but realistically, it’s hard for any one of them to be more effective than email marketing.
Looking at studies reported by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping you secure buying customers.
Not only that, but the average order placed in direct response to your email is 17 percent higher.
In measurable teams, you can expect that each dollar you spend on email marketing generates roughly $44 in revenue.
Consumers consistently admit that they like personalized promotions coming to them from companies they do business with. An astonishing 91 percent of adults surveyed in the United States alone said they preferred this kind of advertising and were responsive to it.
But how do you compete with huge corporations with larger budgets to create effective email marketing campaigns and grab your desired share of clients interested in your product or service offering?
What can you do the same as they do or better?
There are three ways to compete and level the playing field when it comes to email marketing.
You can gather the most relevant data to make your email campaign effective
Big corporations engage artificial intelligence (AI) technology to lay the foundation for effective email marketing and there’s no reason you can’t either. Garner has predicted AI will be among the top five technologies in use by companies by 2020.
Think Chatbots, IMB’s Watson, and apps with AI integrated into them such as My Starbucks Barista.
How do you use AI to build a better email marketing campaigns?
Most of the popular email marketing management tools – think MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber – will give you the ability to track all of this information.
You can use it to gather data on your customer’s purchasing patterns, the words and images that they most likely click on, and even the time of the day when they are most responsive to opening and reading email messages instead of just deleting them.
You will find some people take time each morning to look at your emails while others are more responsive in the evening when they check their emails just after their children are tucked into bed.
We all have patterns in our behavior, and knowing more about how your potential buyers work and live and what they are interested in is a huge advantage in crafting the best marketing approach to them.
Does this really make a difference? If you have any doubts, consider your own buying patterns.
Think about the last time you bought a book from www.Amazon.ca. Did you consciously seek it out, or did you respond to a personalized email reminding you that you had purchased books from this author before and now they have a new one that you could order with just one click?
Chances are it was the latter. According to McKinsey & Company, 35 percent of the people who receive that kind of email make a purchase.
Artificial Intelligence can also help you determine which content prompts the best responses in an email marketing campaign by looking at split-test campaigns. It can tell you what images, what subject lines and what body content strikes home with the most readers.
Personalize your messages
The second way to compete with the bigger players in your field is to ensure that your email marketing campaign is highly personalized.
This is one key area where your small business can do something better than a big corporation. You get to know your clients really well. You likely know what they like to do in their spare time, whether or not they have pets, and where they want to travel.
You may even be close enough to them to learn when they take steps to grow their business, when they set new goals, acquire new companies or accomplish things that could be enhanced with your products or service.
Personalization works best when you really pay attention to your customers. You need to take time each day to stay on top of their industry and review anything that has been published about them. Know that they were just in the news, for example, could be just the opening that you need to send an email reminding them of your services and personalizing your message to congratulate them and point out one specific way you could support them.
If your customer base is growing to the extent that you don’t personally know them that thoroughly, encourage their feedback by including short polls in your emails that allow you to glean more knowledge about their individual preferences.
With the barrage of information we receive today, personalization can help to separate you from the crowd.
Even if your campaign is smaller than your competitor’s, do it better
Being mindful of the basics goes a long way to success in your email marketing campaign and that has nothing to do with the size of your company or the reach of your campaign. It is all about professionalism.
Start by ensuring you select an email marketing platform that will ensure you can reach all of your customers effectively. What this costs and what you need depends completely on the size of your business and your email list.
Create a professional, clean and consistent look for your brand emails so that your customers can immediately recognize them. All of the companies mentioned earlier in this post allow you to do this through the use of professionally designed templates.
Use the automation offered by these and other platforms to carry out key actions. For example, when people sign up for your emails, make sure they receive an automatic email response to welcome and thank them.
Refine this further so you can send your clients a birthday message or congratulations on their wedding anniversary or acknowledgment when their pride and joy graduates from university. Have a special feature that marks this occasions that is unique to them on those days.
Spend sufficient time to ensure that your subject line catches the consumer’s eye and craft good content that lets the reader know quickly what your offer is and how it benefits them. Be sure to include a professional image rather than just sending a block of type – remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
You may need to segment your customers into different categories to ensure that your email marketing campaign is relevant to them.
Automation is being used effectively by large corporations to stay aware of their customer base and their preferences and there is no reason it can’t also benefit your smaller business.
The foundation of effective email marketing campaigns, no matter what tools you use, is listening to and learning about your clients and their problems so you can offer them the appropriate services and products to solve them.
Thank you for reading. Until next time. Take care.
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