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15 October 2013

10 Email Marketing Tips for SMEs

Posted By: AIB Business

For SMEs, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing tools available – allowing businesses to segment their audiences, build loyalty and drive sales.

Surveys released this year by the DMA UK, Marketing Institute and EConsultancy all report that email remains one of the most effective channels for marketing. Used correctly, SMEs can send timely, targeted and relevant emails that result in a measureable return on investment (ROI) and increased customer retention and sales.

Review these 10 tips for your email strategy to ensure the most efficient and maximum results from your campaigns.

1. Set goals

If you don't have a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve, then it will be impossible to identify conversions and measure overall success. Define why you are sending a campaign. Is it to retain customers, drive sales, gain new leads, raise brand awareness or drive traffic to the website?


2. Have a compelling sign-up form

The best way to build a database of valuable leads that want to hear from you is to have them opt-in to your mailing list. Only ask for data that will be used to personalise your emails. Include a description of what they will receive – and how often. Include the sign up form in your newsletters, your website and on social networks.


3. Personalisation is powerful

Any personalisation in emails can increase clicks by 37%. Why? People respond to information that is relevant to them. There are multiple elements within an email that can be personalised, such as the subject line, offer, salutation and contact points.


4. Who is it from?

In today's inbox, it's all about instant recognition. Often people will open based on just that one factor – who it is from. What will get the most traction in your email’s “from” field – your company name, someone from the company, your brand?


5. Think beyond the written word

In today’s inbox, we like to choose how we’re going to consume content – read it, listen to it or watch it. Use a variety of content in your communications to tell your story – include visuals and rich media, such as podcasts, webcasts, presentations, photos and videos.


6. Look good everywhere

Smartphone usage is on the rise, so ensure your email design looks good on all devices – from laptop, desktop, tablet and mobile.


7. Be social

Social networks are built on the concept of a two-way conversation. Bring these elements to your emails and offer readers the ability to provide feedback and share through features that let them rate, like and share content from your emails with their own social networks.


8. Test to increase results

MarketingSherpa reports that testing elements of your email marketing can increase your results by 67%. If you do no other testing in your emails, test your subject line for an easy-win path to increased opens and clicks.


9. Provide clear calls to action

The conversion, or Call To Action (CTA), is the reason you are sending your emails. Craft CTAs using active language. For example, instead of "learn how" use "learn now". The action links should be highly visible and placed near the relevant copy.


10. Measure, benchmark and improve

One of the most powerful aspects of email marketing is the measurement available to you after your sends.  Along with opens and clicks, look at other business intelligence from your subscriber activities such as most popular articles, most and least clicked links, and what was shared on social media. Use this information to further personalise your campaigns and future sends.

Author: Denise Cox
Denise Cox is lead communications consultant for Newsweaver
  – Europe's leading email marketing software company.

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