5 Ways to Improve Email Marketing for Small Business

As we are about to explore together, email marketing for small business is not only cost-effective, but it can be incredibly powerful.

In recent years, some online marketers have proclaimed email to be dead – but stop to consider that more than 100 billion emails are still sent and received worldwide daily.

The issue is not whether or not email is a viable marketing solution, but whether or not you are optimizing your email marketing for small business success.

In this guide, we will explore five different strategies you can use to instantly boost your email marketing results. These strategies include both collecting more emails, and then getting more action from the emails you send.

First, let’s review why an effective email marketing strategy is so important for your business.

Email Marketing for Small Business – Why Does It Matter?

It’s estimated that a return of $44.25 is made on every dollar spent on email marketing. Compared against other digital strategies, this is very promising.

After all, once you have added a subscriber to your mailing list, you do not need to pay to acquire that user again. You have the ability to market to him or her repeatedly – so long as you do your due diligence to cultivate a positive relationship along the way.

Takeaway #1 – Email Marketing is Cost-Effective

Additionally, thanks to any number of business email solutions, marketing to your customers by email can be almost entirely automated.

This reduces the time and resources you need to spend away from running your business.

Takeaway #2 – Email Marketing Saves Time

Thanks to the aforementioned business email solutions, your results are easily measurable – from open rates to clicks, from conversions to sales, virtually any metric in your digital marketing campaign can be easily tested, tweaked, and tracked.

For a serious marketer, this type of data is crucial to make intelligent choices for future campaigns.

Takeaway #3 – Email Marketing is Scalable

Finally, since the first days of the internet, right up to the present, email has been a mainstay in terms of how we communicate globally.

Unlike Myspace and other technologies that came and passed, global email usage continues to rise and remains extremely relevant.

It is worth noting that investing time, money, and energy into building a powerful email marketing campaign is likely to have more residual benefits than other platforms.

At the push of a button, you instantly have a non-intrusive way to stay top of mind with your prospects and clients alike. Some companies spend millions to generate awareness, while properly structuring email marketing for small business can achieve the same result.

Takeaway #4 – Email Marketing Is Relevant

All of this leads us to how to do it better:

Email Marketing for Small Business – How to Do It Better

1. Free Giveaways

Numerous platforms – including KingSumo and Rafflecopter – have made it easier than ever to host a giveaway on your blog or website.

In order to enter, a participant must provide his or her email address. He or she can then get additional entries by helping to spread the word about your giveaway.

Powerful stuff, right?

The challenge becomes – how do you only attract targeted email subscribers to your giveaway? If your grand prize is $10,000 in cash, surely people would enter your giveaway indiscriminately.

The key to an effective giveaway is ensuring that your prize is something that only your ideal email subscriber would want. For example, Bryan Harris collected 2,239 emails in 10 days through a giveaway by offering a free 10-year subscription to LeadPages – a prize worth more than $3,000 but one that only online marketers would have any interest in.

2. Offer Incentives

A simple way to collect more email addresses from your visitors is by offering a free digital product in exchange for their contact details.

This could be something as simple as an eBook, a video training course, software, or an exclusive WordPress plugin. The key here is to offer something with a high perceived value that your best target subscribers would find interesting.

Next, a best practice of email marketing for small business is to brand all of your capture forms to notify visitors of your free incentive. This includes forms in your signup bar, feature box, footer, and popups.

Finally, if you really want to see an increase in your results, offer post-specific upgrades in exchange for an email address.

Write an incredibly high quality and detailed blog post that would be of interest to your best target email subscriber. Offer an incredible amount of valuable and free content in the post, and then present the option to upgrade to see the rest.

This takes a lot of time, but one case study found that this strategy resulted in a 785% increase to email subscriptions.

3. Referral Bonuses

The term ‘growth hack’ if often overused; however, referral bonuses are one of the quickest ways to growth hack email marketing for small business.

For instance, offering users a voucher to spend on their next purchase when they refer a friend is a great way to collect emails. Also make sure to offer that same voucher to the friend that gets referred.

A voucher – say for $20 – has a high perceived value; in reality, it costs you nothing. It has no value unless a purchase is made, which makes this strategy a win-win for your business.

In practice, users want that voucher, and as those referred learn about the program, they will refer some of their friends, as well.

Referral bonuses serve as a self-perpetuating incentive – and they cost you nothing to offer.

This type of strategy played a big part in new user acquisition for Dropbox. The online storage company struggled in its early days to acquire new users at a reasonable price – until they began offering free additional storage for referring a friend.

The rest, as they say, is history.

4. Social Sharing

We have spent plenty of time reviewing how to collect more email addresses. Let’s shift gears a little bit and discuss how to optimize the results you get from each email you send.

For starters, we all understand that not every email sent will be opened, read, or clicked. In fact, a clickthrough rate of 2-3% is generally considered average.

What GetResponse found, however, was that adding social sharing buttons to bulk emails drastically increased the reach of featured content – by more than 150%!

Even if your email subscriber does not have an interest in what you sent, or he or she does not have time to click the link and read it, he or she may still share it. This is especially true if you have a reputation for only sending high quality, actionable, fluff-free content.

You will need to test the results with your own list, but try adding social sharing buttons to your next email broadcast. Those additional social shares may result in hundreds – if not thousands – more clicks to your featured content.

5. Remember Mobile

One study found that more than half of all emails are opened on a mobile device or tablet.

Unfortunately, many email marketers still haven’t caught on to the idea of using mobile responsive email templates. If an email cannot be quickly and easily read, the odds of a link being clicked are not very good.

Ensuring that your email content is optimized for mobile devices really takes no additional effort, and can exponentially increase the action each email generates.

How Do You Optimize Email Marketing for Small Business?

Do you have a preferred strategy to collect more emails, or to boost open rates and clicks?

Is there a reason why your organization favors email marketing above other strategies, or rejects it?

Let’s get a conversation going in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Showing 6 comments
  • Guy Cook

    2 words “Mail Chimp”

    • Rick Ramos

      I love Mail Chimp as well

  • Sporty

    DirectIQ.com has also got it going on – super intuitive email marketing platform

  • Alex Rinsky

    Great article Rick! especially liked the following: “adding social sharing buttons to bulk emails drastically increased the reach of featured content – by more than 150%!” Have already added SNW buttons to my emails 🙂

    • Rick Ramos

      Hey Alex, good to hear you’re adding sharing button to emails, it really works! I checked out your site, when are you launching? I actually almost got involved advising a similar company (couldn’t come to terms.)

      • Alex Rinsky

        Hey Rick just sent you a DM

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