The task of improving an email newsletter seems to many small business owners and managers to be an overwhelmingly complex, multi-headed Hydra. It makes sense: between your sales content and the size of your email, there are a lot of different ways to tweak your campaigns and make them better.
The good news is, great improvements will improve your open rates, better engage your customers, and of course, increase conversions. Here are 5 easy ways to give your emails the kick they need to bring them to the next level:
Provide outstanding value
The first step has to be to identify and comprehend in which perspective your small business’ online presence is viewed by your readers and the level of value that you’re providing for them. Much of this disengagement can be driven by your email newsletter itself.
If you were previously setting the online world on fire by providing unique, high-value, and irresistibly buzzworthy content but lately reading your newsletter has been as exciting as watching grass grow… then you know that it’s not the email campaign that’s at fault. If you can’t keep your customers glued to your newsletter through outstanding content you may want to consider another endeavor. Have you perhaps considered a career in repeating “would you like fries with that?”
Make sure they can see it
Ah, for the good ol’ days when most email subscribers would read their newsletters on 800 x 600 pixel screens or maybe even have gigantic 1024 x 768! Today your email might be read on a screen barely 300 pixels wide or all the way up to 2560! Your email newsletter template has to be dynamic enough to accommodate this mind-boggling variety of resolutions.
The better email service providers can offer templates that will suit the smallest smartphone or the widest gaming monitor. You could develop these templates by yourself: All it would take is a few months of paying four figures to a high-priced web designer. You’ll find it’s much easier and faster to just rely on the email service professionals for just a few bucks a month.
Don’t be illetirat… iliterait… er… you know…
Nothing can shoot down the response rate to a small business’ newsletter faster and more thoroughly than coming off to your customers as a bunch of kindergarten dropouts. Don’t assume that just because you can’t spell worth a darn no one will notice. Spelling and grammar do count, so if you were too busy gazing out the window during English high school class, hire someone who has impeccable writing skills to compose or at least proofread every single sentence before it goes out to your email subscribers.
You’re seeking responses, so reply!
It may seem like a joke, but there are still major email marketers with subscription lists in the millions who still send out emails with absolutely no way to reply to the missive or query them. Providing your email subscribers with noreply@ addresses is the equivalent of spending huge bucks to promote your toll free number and then have it disconnected.
Your email newsletter should facilitate not hinder two way conversation, so ensure that the email addresses featured in your campaign are live and that they are promptly and thoroughly answered by your best customer service personnel.
There’s no such thing as too much testing
Some small businesses managers and owners simply don’t have a clue when it comes to testing their campaigns. Failing to conduct ongoing and comprehensive testing on every primary element of your newsletter from subject lines to Call To Actions is a leading reason why small business email campaigns fail.
These companies can’t really be blamed too much as unless you are the type that critiques the equations on the white boards during The Big Bang Theory, it’s easy to have your eyes roll back in your head at the first sign of a Toguchi multivariate procedure.
As a small business you don’t need to engage in massively complex testing and can simply rely on the basic A/B split: Send out half your emails with one subject line and the other half with the other, then see which one converts better. Then keep testing every major element from preheader to hero shot. It’s not that difficult when you look at it this way!
Improving your email campaign is not rocket science but just good, solid business sense. Make 2012 a fresh start for your email campaigns, and you’ll definitely see better results and better ROI.
About the Author: Denise Keller is COO and Co-Founder of Benchmark Email, a global email marketing service that gives free email marketing accounts to small businesses. She writes for Business Insider, American Express OPEN Forum, and other major Websites.