Email marketing is essential for any small business that wants to keep its customers engaged, and with the number of email accounts expected to rise to 4.48 billion by 2024, it is a critical communication tool that can support growth. Globally, nearly four in five marketers have seen a rise in email engagement in the last 12 months, showing just how valuable emails are for your business when you get it right.
In this article, we share a step-by-step guide on how to set up an effective email campaign:
1. Establish your goals
The first thing you need to do is establish what you want to achieve from your communications and set some goals to measure the performance.
You need to think about who you want to target with your emails, and what actions you hope they will take as a result. Thinking deeply about your audience, who they are and what they care about will help you develop emotional and human connections with your content. Then use the SMART process – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely – to determine your aims.
2. Build an email list
If you have a database of existing customers who have explicitly opted in to receive marketing communications from your business, you can import the list into your chosen email marketing platform.
If not, then you will need to start building a list. The best way to do this is to put a sign-up form on your website. To ensure the greatest number of sign-ups, these forms should be streamlined and have four or fewer fields.
If you're in the UK, make sure that everything is done in a GDPR-compliant manner. You also need to ensure that it’s clear what your subscriber is signing up for and include opt-in boxes to manage their consent.
3. Choose your email platform
There are lots of email platforms out there to help you build and deploy your emails, such as sendinblue. Think carefully about what platform is best for you and your needs. For example, most will allow a certain amount of emails to be sent for free each month, which is important for the budget-conscious.
Others can be more sophisticated when it comes to the analytics, telling you who opened which email and what part of the email they interacted with. The more data you can extract about your customers, the better.
4. What sort of communication do you want to send?
Once your list is imported, it’s important to plan the overarching campaign topic you want to deliver and align this with your goals.
Are you sending a newsletter? Announcing an upcoming event? Decide on your communication type. One of the best ways to encourage engagement through your email campaigns is to give customers an offer, such as a 10% off coupon code for subscribing to the newsletter.
5. Create your campaign
Now you can create and design your email communication. You will need to:
- Make the subject line personalised, snappy and relevant to boost opens – 41 characters or seven words is usually the sweet-spot for length.
- Strategically schedule your email. For example, it’s reported that the best time to send a promotional email is on a Thursday.
- Optimise your email for mobile – nearly half of all emails in 2019 were opened on a mobile device, according to HubSpot.
- Make sure your email is on brand, with high-quality imagery and the copy is succinct and uncluttered.
- Personalise your communications where possible to make your audience feel less like they’re in a mass communication engine.
- Include a clear call to action, such as “learn more” or “buy more”.
- Finally, send a test email to make sure everything works as intended.
6. Send, analyse, optimise
Once you’re happy, take a deep breath and send. Your email marketing platform will start tracking the performance of your campaign and you’ll be able to assess how it’s performing by measuring engagements in your dashboard.
If engagement is lower than expected, then optimise and reconfigure your email content to try a different approach. A/B testing involves sending one version of an email to one set of your database and another different version to a second set of customers.
This enables you to see which variation provides you with the best results and you can take these learnings into future campaigns. Campaign Monitor tried and tested this approach and was able to see a 127% increase in click-throughs as a result.
If you're looking for more tips like this, watch our bite-sized video tutorials created for small businesses, which covers everything from social media marketing tips to building a website for small businesses.