Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, but it’s still one of the most effective. Not only can email marketing be measured, tested, and tweaked, but the messages can be personalized and targeted to help build lasting relationships with customers. On top of that, it’s proven to be an inexpensive form of marketing. However, using email effectively can take some practice. Start with these tips for small businesses to maximize your email marketing efforts.

Personalize Your Message

Email marketing is such an effective tactic because it allows for more personalization than traditional forms of marketing. Not only can you address each subscriber by name, but you can segment them into different areas of your list based on their demographics, geographical location, purchase behavior, and more. That allows you to tailor each message for the individual and improve the quality of your content.

The email marketing service you work with should feature built-in segmenting tools. It can take some time to categorize your subscribers, but the effort is well worth it. Once you have a better idea of who your subscribers are, you can plan your newsletter content around these segments for a more personalized approach that speaks to each person’s preferences and lifestyle.

Create Meaningful Content

Email marketing isn’t all about selling something in people’s inboxes. Rather, it’s an avenue for creating real connections, which is why personalizing the messages as much as you can is so important. Emails should be sent when you have something valuable to share with your subscribers. That doesn’t only involve when you want something from them. You’ll also want to work in helpful tips and generous offers. It rewards them for reading and keeps them opening emails from you in the future. Examples of meaningful email content that can help boost engagement include:

  • Helpful tips and advice. This might link out to blog posts or YouTube videos created by your company.
  • Free resources. For example, Mark Monciardini of Covervault frequently sends subscribers free Photoshop templates.
  • Deals or discounts. Give subscribers a reason to open your emails with sale offers or coupon codes.
  • Use Your Name

As mentioned, email marketing is largely about developing relationships with your customers. One way to do this is to deliver emails from a real person rather than your business as a whole. The emails might come from the business owner or from your team’s content manager or public relations coordinator.
The key is to designate someone on your team to send the emails and to use their real name and title in the from address and in the email signature. This adds a human element to your emails and better establishes that personal connection you’re aiming for.

Test When to Send Your Emails

There is no defined number for how often you should send out emails. This can change depending on your industry, the season, and your subscribers. The best approach is to create email segments based on how engaged your subscribers are. Then, perform tests to see how each group responds. Through this method, you’ll be able to fine-tune your strategies for your list and improve overall engagement.

In addition to testing email frequency, also test sending out your emails on different days of the week or at different times during the day.

Test Your Subject Lines

Email subject lines aren’t as simple as they sound, and you should never take the task of writing your subject line lightly. It’s the first thing people will see in their inbox and will determine whether or not they open the email. Just some basic tips to start with include:

  • Communicate the benefit or value inside the email.
  • Don’t give too much away in the subject line; use it to pique curiosity.
  • Use emotional words to attract attention.
  • Use a number in the subject line (when it works).
  • Analyze what other companies are doing—especially if you’re regularly drawn to their subject lines.

Most of all, you’ll want to test what works for you. For example, you might hear advice on how long or short your subject line should be, but MailChimp has shown that subject line length doesn’t really matter. What does matter is your audience, and they may very well respond differently than someone else’s. Most email service providers feature A/B testing options so you can get a feel for what types of headlines perform best with your list.

Optimize For Mobile
According to reports, over half of customers, open emails on their smartphones and approximately one-quarter of emails are opened on a desktop computer. Small businesses should be focusing on all screen sizes to ensure users can easily read and interact with the emails on any device. This starts with the right email service provider that delivers the tools for mobile optimization, such as responsive email layouts. It also means going easy on images, breaking text up into smaller chunks, and using buttons for calls-to-action to make clicking on small screens easier.

It’s easy to ignore email marketing for your small business, but if done right, it can be a cost-effective strategy that has long-lasting effects. What will you do to take your email marketing to the next level?