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Small Business Tips

Email marketing tips for small business

Manasa Reddigari

Not getting the results you expected from your email marketing program? You might be wondering what it takes to get casual web visitors to care enough about your brand to hit "Subscribe" and then open and read your digital blasts week after week.

Unsure of how to successfully incorporate email into your brand strategy? Keep reading for a list of the most effective email marketing tips for small businesses.

Simplify subscription and unsubscription

One of the most important email marketing tips for small businesses is to make it easy to join an email marketing list. Include a clearly labeled subscription form in a prominent place on your business website where visitors can't miss it (e.g., a pop-up that appears when visitors land on the home page).

Long subscription forms that require users to divulge sensitive data are a turn-off. Minimize the form fields to the data you need to deliver an email blast, e.g., Name, Email, and Zip Code. From here, subscribing should be as simple as clicking a Subscribe button and confirming one's email address.

Likewise, include a button or a clear link at the bottom of email marketing blasts that allows readers to opt out. The Unsubscribe button or link should ideally take your users to a web page where they can unsubscribe in a single click rather than have to sign in to an account and hunt for an unsubscribe option in a sea of other account options.

Incentivize subscription

No matter how easy it is to sign up for email updates, tech-savvy web users will not hand out their email addresses to unknown brands willy-nilly. Successful email marketing subscription forms often give visitors something in exchange for their subscription. You can do this by teasing visitors with the answer to a question or a pro tip related to your business niche that the visitor can only receive if he signs up.

Alternatively, offer a coupon or discount for products or services at your business as a reward for the subscription. The promise of a freebie makes the prospect of joining an email list all the more enticing.

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Mind the 3 R's

When planning the content for your email blasts, you should mind the three 3 R's: relevant, readable and rich text.

Relevant means that the email design template, topic and the specific text and images in each email update should align with your business niche, brand image and the interests of your target audience.

Readable means that the content in each email update is structured in a way that is easily digestible. Use elementary language and several short paragraphs instead of a few long blocks of text.

Likewise, use images to illustrate points that are too complex to express succinctly in words, but not too many. A HubSpot study found that click-through rates decline as the number of images in an email increases.

The same HubSpot study found that 64 percent of users prefer rich text emails. This is reason enough to send your subscribers rich text emails. Rich text emails with formatting applied to the text are much more engaging plain text emails.

Be mobile-friendly

Optimizing email blasts for mobile users is a must at a time when over three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone. In fact, Adestra found that users have a tendency to delete emails that don't render correctly on their phones within three seconds.

Use a mobile responsive email template to keep your emails out of the virtual trash bin. A responsive template automatically adapts to the size of the screens on which different users will be viewing your emails.

Use segmentation to avoid spam

Nothing will send an email subscriber to the Unsubscription button faster than an overabundance of email blasts. One of the most overlooked email marketing tips for small businesses with a sizable subscription list is to employ segmentation. Subscription is the use of targeted email campaigns that you direct to only one specific segment of your email list rather than everyone on the list.

For example, let's say you run a business chain and need to generate publicity for an upcoming sale at your San Francisco storefront. Taking a segmented approach, you would send an email blast about the sale only to subscribers inside the San Francisco market. Those outside the San Francisco market will never get the email or get the impression that they have been spammed.

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