Email Marketing Strategy and Best Practices for Small Businesses

Creating an email marketing strategy is essential for the success of your small business. Many consumers shop online now, which means that you have to have a strong online presence. A Web site is only as good as the number of quality visitors you get, and email marketing is a great way to drive customers to your destination. Learning about email marketing best practices can help you interact with customers on a mailing list in a way that will compel them to click.

Email Marketing 101

Before creating an email marketing strategy, small business owners need to know the facts behind this kind of marketing. For example, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 instituted strict regulations for email marketing. You have to have permission to email people or you face a potential fine. You may also find all of your emails blocked by Internet service providers if you receive too many spam complaints. To avoid this, make sure you get explicit permission from customers to be put on your mailing list or work only with companies that understand every detail of these email marketing best practices. Insist that every email communication has a link to unsubscribe from the list and a reminder of how the recipient got on the list in the first place to avoid any misunderstandings. You do not want to risk your business’s reputation.

Creating an Email Marketing Plan

To maximize the benefits of your email marketing strategy, create a targeted list of individuals who will be interested in your business. Have signup forms on your Web site to offer visitors the chance to subscribe to your list and partner up with other businesses to piggyback on their mailings. If you choose to work with a data merchant in your industry, ask for references and do your research to see if you can uncover complaints of spamming. After you have an idea of whom you’ll be emailing, it's time to start creating your messaging. Plan your emails ahead of time so you never have to scramble last minute and send out emails that are lackluster or boring.

Email Marketing Tips

To get the most out of email marketing, your strategy should contain a plan for offering the customers on your list more than just an advertisement. Include weekly tips or other free information that would be interesting to those who signed up for your mailings. Use graphic design products, such as Adobe Photoshop, for lively visuals to grab your customers' attention. Provide links in the emails to videos, photos and other elements of your Web site that will keep visitors interested once they click over to it. Create how-to videos that offer your customers knowledge. Keeping the members of your list engaged and always looking forward to gaining something from your emails is key to an effective email marketing strategy.

A good email marketing strategy follows the applicable laws as well as garners your potential customers’ trust. To grow your small business, the relationship with your online customers should feel as personable as the relationship you have with those who visit your physical location.

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