How to use email marketing to connect with customers and grow your SME business

Email marketing remains a cornerstone of digital communication, providing an intimate avenue to your customers’ inboxes. However, with inboxes becoming increasingly crowded, it’s vital to stand out. Here are some top tips to ensure your email marketing campaigns hit the mark and fosters lasting, profitable relationships with your customers.

Understanding Your Audience

  • Segmentation. Tailor your content to different your different audiences based on their interests, behaviors, and interactions. Many email systems allow you to do this within the platform. For very specialised differentiation you may need to create separate lists.
  • Personalisation. Everyone likes to receive addressed mail so use the built-in facilities in your email system to insert customers names into the email. If you’ve collected other kinds of data think about how you can incorporate that into your messages in a way that will delight your audience.

Crafting Your Message

  • Subject lines. The first impression is crucial. Craft subject lines that pique interest without misleading. You can use AI to help you start brainstorming these but remember to ensure they are accurate and written in your brand tone of voice.
  • Content value. Provide content that educates, entertains, or offers something of value to your readers. There are many different styles of marketing email, they could be magazine style and pull in lots of information or be shorter and more like a one-to-one email. Think about what your audience would most like and what aligns most with your goals.
  • Call to action. Make it clear what you want the recipient to do next with a compelling call to action. Make it obvious and easy to understand – call us to book a demo, click here to book a meeting, etc.

Designing your emails

  • Responsive design. Ensure your emails look great on all devices, especially mobiles, where a majority of users read their emails. The easiest way to do this is to use a professional email marketing platform. There are many out there, with Mailchimp being the market leader.
  • Visual appeal. Use images and layouts that align with your brand and enhance the readability of your content. Refer to your brand guidelines and run the design past your brand guardians if you are unsure. If in doubt, keep it simple with your logo neatly at the top and the correct brand colours for any boxes or links.
  • Accessibility. Consider all users by making sure your emails pass accessibility, with alt text for images, good colour contrast between the text colour and background colour, and readable typefaces set at a large enough size so reading on a phone doesn’t cause issues. Your brand guidelines may contain information about pairings of text and background colours, if not then use an online colour checker like Colour Contrast Checker to avoid combinations without the required difference in tone.

Timing and frequency

  • Consistency. Send emails consistently, but don’t bombard inboxes. Find the right balance for your audience and this will likely be something you’ll learn through trial and error. A good frequency to start with might be 1 or 2 times a month and build up from there if you think it will work and you can generate enough good quality content to support that.
  • Best time to send. To identify the best time send your email newsletters, conduct test by sending out emails at various times and days to different segments of your audience and analysing the engagement rates. Over time, you’ll see trends in open and click-through rates, allowing you to hone in on the time slots when your subscribers are most receptive.

Testing and optimizing

  • A/B testing. Regularly test different elements of your emails, like subject lines and calls to action, to see what resonates best. Keep good notes and data about what works and what doesn’t and ensure you share this with any teams you are working with.
  • Analytics. Use analytics to track opens, clicks, and conversions to understand where your leads are coming from and if your approach to email marketing is working. Understand what works and refine your strategy accordingly.

Building and maintaining your list

  • Grow your subscriber numbers. Offer incentives for signing up, like discounts or valuable resources. Think about creating a lead magnet or two – this is a digital product that you can give away to customers in exchange for them signing up to your email list. Typically they are things such as ebooks, surveys, reports or other digital assets of use to your target audience. You can sign up for our lead magnet, The Ten Enormously Awesome Question to Drive your Marketing Forward Workbook to the bottom of this page.
  • Maintain your lists. Regularly clean your list to remove inactive subscribers and keep your engagement rates high. Ensure you have a way of unsubscribing in each of your newsletters and don’t take unsubscribes personally. If someone isn’t interested in your product or services then you don’t want them on your list.

Staying Compliant

  • Privacy laws. Ensure you adhere to GDPR and other privacy laws by obtaining consent and providing a clear unsubscribe option. Stay up to date on any changes to these laws as they may alter how you need to look after people’s information and as the Data Keeper this is your responsibility.

Effective email marketing is less about selling and more about building relationships, in this way it is a bit like social media. By providing value, respecting your audience’s time and privacy, and optimising your approach, you’ll create a tribe of loyal customers and advocates. Think of it as building a strong community of engaged readers who know and trust your brand.

If you need any help with your email marketing give us a call on 01844 215296 or email us to get the ball rolling.