12 Critical Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing can be time consuming and overwhelming. Many small businesses try to copy what everyone else is doing so they don’t have to start from scratch in terms of their strategies and processes. While it is great to learn from what other successful companies are doing, your email messages should be unique to your organization. Don’t be afraid to get personal and speak in your own voice. Also, make sure to include the perspectives of people throughout your organization. Messages can originate from all departments, not just your marketing and sales team. Here are a few tips:

  1. Be Authentic

Communicate in your own voice. Think about what your brand stands for and develop a tone that corresponds.


  1. Be Brief

One or two short paragraphs (2-3 sentences each) should be enough to get your point across.


  1. Variety is Key

Brainstorm emotional and rational reasons for your audiences to engage with your organization and products. Emotional appeals highlight the results and feelings that your customers will get by doing business with you. Rational reasons include things like product features, competitive comparisons, research and statistics. Rotate through various categories of information that can resonate with your target audiences.

  • Providing Added Value (knowledge, whitepapers, guides, etc.)
  • Establishing Trust (reviews, sharing experience or history, describing partnerships, awards)
  • Presenting Product Information (promotions, financing, competitive comparisons, features)
  • Creating Pleasure or Avoiding Pain (Identify unique consumer experiences and challenges).


  1. Showcase Your Expertise

Your customers should learn something they don’t know when they hear from you, aside from your product information. Try communicating industry news to pique their interest.

Share personal experiences. Customers appreciate knowing about your skills and achievements in addition to how your business, products and services stand out in the market.

Don’t forget to include information about partners and vendors (and links to their websites) when you are communicating what you know. Ask vendors to share insights that you can pass on to your customers.


  1. Customize Messaging

Don’t send the same message to all types of audiences. Each customer persona at each stage in the sales cycle might require different messaging. Learn your target customer’s challenges at different points in time and speak specifically to them.


  1. Give More Than You Request

Figure out consistent ways to help your leads and customers beyond asking them to buy, respond to promotions or write reviews. Include downloads to videos, checklists, guides and whitepapers. You can also give appreciation, recommendations, free consultations and guarantees. Give twice as often as you request.


  1. Value Visuals

Great design, images, graphs and charts can compel users to engage with your business. Survey your team to brainstorm images that can work for your business, and feel free to re-use the ones that really hit the mark by editing them in different ways.


  1. Include a Call to Action (CTA)

Know exactly what you want prospects and customers to do when they get your email and incorporate a CTA to facilitate that. One CTA is best. Two can be okay. More than that creates confusion.


  1. Use Specific Taglines

Help your audience save time with specific taglines. If you can’t sum up the reason for the email in a short tagline, then your email might have too much content. If your taglines seem repetitive it is because your content is repetitive. Also, specific taglines mean your emails are more likely to be found in a future email folder search.


  1. Provide Examples

It is always better to show rather than tell. When possible, provide video, data, graphs, case studies, stories and interviews to demonstrate what you want to convey.


  1. Try Video

Even though a lot of business owners are starting to create video, I see few examples of effective video produced by small businesses. Video mistakes are rampant particularly when businesses don’t use a professional videographer. The most common mistakes I see include: excessive length, inadequate focus, lackluster content or poor audio. Calls to action (CTA’s) are also often missing in video.


  1. Track Performance

Know how your emails perform based on open, click and conversion rates. Do A/B testing and track everything. You should also enable and track email address capture rates across your communications platforms including in-store capture, trade shows and phone calls.

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