Want to know the secret to a successful email marketing campaign? While there isn't a magical formula for overnight success, it's all about having the right strategy for your particular type of business and the products or services it has to offer.
This is because email marketing isn't just about selling — it's about creating a relationship with consumers. Sure, a successful email marketing campaign can increase sales, lead conversion and brand awareness, but at the foundation of these results is an established, trust-based connection between a business and its customers. To establish this connection, email marketing campaigns need to achieve a delicate balance between having a voice, creating eye-catching presentations and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and consumer tastes.
"Like most things in life, there isn't one correct way to do email marketing," said Andy Shore, content and social-networking manager at Benchmark Email, an email marketing services company. [10 Email Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
If the question is whether there is a right or wrong way to launch and execute an email marketing campaign, the real answer is often "it depends," Shore said. "However, there's generally a set of guidelines that will at least steer you in the right direction. An email marketing GPS, if you will," he added.
To help you make the most of email marketing campaigns, Shore shared the following best practices on how to use email marketing as a small business.
1. Focus on relevance.
Segment your lists to make sure your subscribers are getting the most relevant content possible. One way to do that is by geographic location. Even though it may be warm enough in February in sunny Southern California for beachwear, your frozen Midwest subscribers will just think you're teasing them. Talk about an abuse report!
2. Stop trying to sell.
Think about when you walk into a store and the salesperson asks if you need help. If you're like me, your default response is, "No thanks ... I'm just looking." You probably went into the store because you needed something, but you don't want to feel like you're going to have something pushed on you. Just be helpful and informative and build trust with your subscribers and they'll purchase when they're ready.
3. Bring your personality.
There's more clutter in the inbox today than ever before. You need to stand out. Give a voice to your email campaigns. Inserting a bit of personality will help separate you from the crowd and humanize your emails a bit.
[For a side-by-side comparison of the best email marketing services, visit our sister site Business.com.]
4. Learn from your reports.
Your reports can help shape your content, let you know when and what day to send and so much more. If you're getting a lot of clicks on one type of post and less on the other, maybe focus on the more popular content the next time around.
5. Don't forget landing pages.
Email marketing is just the start. Even if you do everything right with your email campaign, it can all be for naught if your landing pages can't finish the job. The best call to action in your email will be wasted if your potential customers click through to a jumbled or confusing landing page.