Despite what you may have heard, email is still an extremely effective component of modern online marketing campaigns. You may assume that all emails automatically go into the recipient’s spam filter, and that the chances of someone actually seeing and opening your email are remote, but studies continue to show that this can be one of the more profitable marketing activities for your company.
Email marketing is not about how many emails you send out there. This is why, as a small business, you can still compete with the larger companies in this channel. There are plenty of tools and email lists out there that allow you to reach out to thousands upon thousands of people – but that won’t determine your success.
Instead, it’s the message you present, when you send it, and who you target that will make the difference between a strong outreach program and another spam-filled inbox.
The 3 Components of a Successful Email
Putting together an effective email is a little art and a little science. If you focus on these three elements, though, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting noticed, opened, and clicked.
It all starts with the first line. The subject line.
1. The Subject Line
These are the most crucial few words you will write. It won’t matter how prolific and poetical the content of your email is if no one sees it. It also won’t matter if you just create a subject line that is over-the-top crazy and doesn’t actually hint at any value.
The key to writing a subject line is to sell something. You’re not selling the product, though. You’re just selling the click. You have to give them a reason to click on the email and see what else you offer.
How good is your subject line? Here’s a quick checklist:
- Is it clear, precise, and simple?
- Is it relevant?
- Is it appealing?
- Is there a sense of urgency or importance?
- Is it credible or does it promise the impossible?
2. The Message
You’ve sold them on the click. Now you need to give them a reason to click something else inside the email.
A lot of companies go wrong with email marketing because they try to turn the actual email into a sort of landing page. You should not be trying to sell your product or service on the email. You have a perfectly good landing page on your website for that. Use it. You’ll find that emails sell clicks a lot more effectively than they sell products.
The content or message in your email, then, should be all about why it is worth their time to click on the link and go to your landing page. This is a great place to highlight your unique value proposition and prepare them for what they will find once they arrive.
3. The Call to Action
You may not be selling a product in your email, but you do need the reader to take some kind of action. Use a single, direct, and clear call to action. Make it clear what you want them to do. By now, you should have already given them a reason to do it, so the only thing left is to make it as easy as possible for them to take that action.
Don’t confuse the matter with a lot of options, and don’t let the call to action get buried underneath a lot of extraneous content and images. Be upfront and make it easy to do, and your recipients will be more likely to click through to your site.
Small Business Emails
Is there really an advantage for small businesses here? The simple answer is: yes.
It comes down to the people you target with each email. You could, for example, send out 30,000 emails, just like the big companies, and intrude on 30,000 inboxes, just like the big companies. Or, you could use your emails to address specific pain points that you know your customers are having. You can also limit your sends to the customers who have already given you permission to contact them. Your list of recipients may be a little smaller, but they will be far more responsive. And that is when your efforts will really start to pay off.
I hope this series has helped you catch a glimpse of the internet marketing possibilities available to small businesses. While you may not have a large budget, you can be agile and respond directly to customers’ needs.
Share your thoughts with us—what’s your focus moving forward? How do you measure and stay responsive to customers?
This mini-series is based off of this e-book, Internet Marketing 101: How Small Businesses Can Compete With the Big Guys, written by Rapid Advance. Interested in writing a mini-series for Firmology? Get in touch with the editor!