Connecting with a potential client through email is like having a new neighbor over for dinner. You want to make a good first impression and be a trusted source, so they rely on you when they need a cup of milk or a favor when they’re away. However, if you show up for dinner and talk non-stop about yourself, there’s a high chance you won’t get invited back.

In business, much like a friendly dinner invite, sending emails to your customers is also a chance to be a trusted source. But much like the dinner conversation, if you’re only trying to sell yourself instead of providing value, you may find readers hitting unsubscribe.

When done right, email marketing is one of the most effective tools because of the intimate connection it creates between a business and a consumer. And the icing on the cake? You own your email list and the campaigns. You control your messaging, who you send them to, the frequency…everything.

Guess what you don’t own? Social media followers. So, if a channel goes away, so do your followers (and potential clients). A well-formed marketing plan revolves around the things you can fully control (email) and gets support from the things you don’t (social media).

Don’t just take our word for it. Campaign Monitor rounded up a few experts to explain the importance of building a list to help your small business thrive. Here are a few of those explanations.

Unbounce’s email list is the biggest asset we have for driving new acquisitions.  Why? Email marketing consistently generates 80-90% of our landing page traffic when we launch a new campaign, piece of content, or product feature. Email allows us to engage our audience in a creative, personalized way that blog posts or tweets can’t.”

– Corey Dilly, Marketing Manager at Unbounce

“Building an email list is crucial because it’s the best way to build a relationship with potential customers in an intimate way. You’re not just a status update that’s there and gone; you’re right in someone’s inbox, where they receive other important communication from their work, family, and friends.”

-Natalie Lussier, Digital Strategist at AccessAlly

Email Service Providers for Small Business

First things first, where do you begin with email marketing? Several well-established tools can help you streamline your email marketing plan. Your first move is to decide what information will benefit your customers. How can you use it to complement your relationship-building efforts and add value to your customers’ inbox?

A hint – it’s not flooding their inbox with gimmicks or overselling. More on this later, let’s jump into a few different email service providers and their features:

  • MooSend– Features include a drag-and-drop campaign editor, real-time analytics, advanced list segmentation. and more. Small businesses can benefit from the “Forever Free” plan for the first 1000 subscribers. After a thousand, the paid subscription plans starting at $10 per month. Pricing details here.
  • Active Campaign– Your all-in-one marketing tool that features app integration, drag-and-drop designer email templates, simple split-testing, advanced analytics, and so much more. Subscription plans start at $15 per month. See pricing details here.
  • Drip– Create better experiences for your e-commerce customers. This provider offers consumer data collection, behavior-based automation, an insights dashboard for automation, and more. The basic plan starts at $49 a month. More on their pricing details here. 
  • MailChimp– This email provider is one of the top dogs and has a free version that covers start-ups who just need the basics. In the free plan, you have 1 audience with 2000 contacts as well as other features like basic templates, social media integration, and smart recommendation reporting. Find out more on their pricing details here.

These are just a few of the overwhelming number of email service providers. Check out Hosting Facts for a comprehensive look into a few more.

It’s important to do your research ahead of time before your email list becomes too much to manage. Here are a few points you can keep in mind before committing to a provider:

  • Keep your business goals in mind to find the features that would be most useful to you whether it’s list segmentation, design templates, ease of use, and so on.
  • Understand how much you can afford to invest. There will most likely be a monthly or yearly billing option for all providers. One thing to keep in mind is price creep. As a small business, having fewer than 1000 subscribers can keep things inexpensive, but the more you grow, the higher the pricing can get.
  • Analytics is another essential element. Having access to the right results will help you improve your email campaigns and get you to higher open rates.
  • Is customer support important to you? Many providers have a call center or even 24/7 chat services, so just double check on what’s offered.

Crush Email Marketing with These Tips

Like all aspects of business and marketing, email is all about the user experience. If you’re abusing the privilege or sending irrelevant information, then consumers will probably leave you behind.

However, when you understand your audience and their needs, you’ll be able to provide value to them. Here are a few quick tips to get you started in the right direction.

  • This first one is a bit obvious. Know thy customer! Learn their problems and become their solution. We’ve repeated this a lot in this article, we know. It’s only because many business owners don’t take the time to actually understand who is buying their products, or services
  • Build credibility for your business by sending emails that add real value to your customer’s pain points. That doesn’t always mean a coupon for 20% off your products. If you sell unique home decor, write about how to create a warm atmosphere in their home without breaking the bank. If you’re a commercial cleaner, offer some tips on how to keep the office kitchen clean and germ free.
  • As for the overall look of an email campaign, be sure there is plenty of white space and keep your messaging short and easily digestible. Also, keep tabs on image file sizes. Images should be below 200 kb. The bigger the image the more likely it won’t load correctly for the receiver and may end up in spam. Use tools like Squoosh to minimize image file size before uploading them to your email template.
  • Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly! Most people are checking their emails using their smartphones, so design your emails with that in mind. Many email marketing services have this feature. To the same tune, your website should be mobile friendly as well. To check your website use free Google’s Mobile-Friendly test!
  • Be prepared to handle the response of sending out emails. If you promote a sale or prompt customers to call your store, be ready to answer those calls. All advertising mediums work best when you can react.

The Round-Up

Email is hands-down one of the best ways to provide value and create and maintain a relationship with your customers. These tips will help you build better email campaigns from start to finish. And regardless of your tech skills or design talent, there is a multitude of service providers available to help small business owners generate useful email communication to help move your brand forward.

Need an email marketing review. Our team can help. Contact us today for a complimentary strategy session.

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