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How to Improve Your Small Business’s Email Marketing

July 27th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

All the attention social media gets in the marketing world might be convincing you that email is dead. Far from it. Email marketing volume hit record-setting levels during June  2012, and total email volume growth for this year is expected to surpass that of 2011, according to a study by email marketing company Responsys Inc. reported by BtoB Online.

Responsys projects email volume will grow by some 20 percent this year, compared to 16 percent growth last year. The company attributes it to several factors, including businesses shifting from direct mail and print to email; the greater ROI of email compared to other marketing channels; and the fact that many people prefer to get marketing messages by email.

  • Keep your lists clean. List hygiene is crucial to good ROI. Regularly update your lists and use opt-in email to ensure you aren’t accused of spamming.
  • Provide something of value. Depending on your industry, “value” may be useful content, important information or limited-time discounts and deals. Make sure your emails don’t come across as solely self-promotional and that there’s something in it for the recipient.
  • Target. Segment your email lists by factors that matter to you such as gender, age, business size or shopping habits. Then you can send targeted emails to users tailored for their interests and needs.
  • Use triggered emails. Emails triggered by customer behaviors or time frames are a great way to motivate actions. Consider sending triggered emails if customers leave items in a shopping cart on your ecommerce site, if they haven’t purchased from you in a while or to follow up on a recent purchase.
  • Use analytics. Your email service probably offers tools to help you monitor what recipients do with your emails, including open rates, forwards and what links they click on. By drilling down and tailoring future emails to recipients based on past actions, you can reap big rewards.
  • Test. If your emails aren’t getting opened enough, use regular testing to improve your success rate. You can test many elements, including time of day, day of week, subject lines and email length and content to see what gets results. By regularly testing, you’ll be able to learn what works and fine-tune your email marketing efforts accordingly.

Image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Tags: ,
Posted in Email Marketing, Marketing, Small Business, small business | 9 Comments »

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306684947 Josie Veloz

    What are some your favorite Direct e-mail marketing service provider?

    • Anonymous

      I like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and Mail Chimp.  iContact is also supposed to be good, but I’ve never used them.

      • bambooecotours

        which one of these would you recommend for a tour and travel business?

        • Anonymous

          They’re all great, to be honest; doesn’t matter what your industry is, it’s just which interface you prefer to use. I have found they’re equally easy to work with.

  • David Turgeon

    What are your thoughts on Campaign Monitor?

    • Anonymous

       I have never used Campaign Monitor, but it looks like a pretty cool web app.  Do you have experience with it? 

  • Melissa Meyer

    Excellent example of how customer service makes or breaks a company. Thank you for sharing!

    • Anonymous

       You’re welcome Melissa!  Glad you found it useful!

  • http://twitter.com/mbongisani1 mbongisani

    Im willing to go far with my business of selling cakes, please give me advice on how i should go about using he internet marketing strategy that you have posted.