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As customer data multiplies at your growing company, email marketing software becomes a cost-effective solution that positions you for future growth.
The right campaign email marketing solution gives you the power to:
Investing in email software is a big decision. Here are five things to consider before you take the plunge.
Do you want the best email newsletter software? Or perhaps the premier tool for one-to-one communications by your sales team? Or a little bit of everything? Before you decide on the best email marketing software for your small business, it’s important to have a clear idea of your goals.
You may have short-term goals like these:
Or you may have longer-term goals like these:
Not every campaign email marketing solution has the same capabilities, so choose one that fits your goals. Look for a package with built-in metrics and analytics that will help you measure progress toward your goals.
If you're doing email marketing for small business, naturally you'll need to think about how much you can spend. If you're very small, perhaps a relatively simple platform is what you need. But, of course, you also want to be able to scale up as your business grows—helped along by your new email marketing tools.
Be sure to look to the cloud. Cloud-based email marketing software helps you stay up to date with upgrades, keeps your data backed up and usually has routine maintenance built in. Unless you've got your own IT team, the cloud is your friend here.
Consider which email marketing tools and features you may need:
Designing a professional-looking email isn't easy. Many email marketing systems offer templates that help users create beautiful email messages. It's easy to add your logo, colors, or other elements to these templates so the brand look is clearly yours. About half of all email opens now happen on mobile devices, and templates are an especially helpful way to make sure your email looks great on any kind of device.
Nobody likes spam. Everyone prefers emails on topics that match their interests. So you'll get the best results if you segment your email lists into smaller groups and then send emails tailored to each group. You may use different subject lines, different headlines, or different everything. That kind of targeted messaging leads to higher open and click-through rates, more orders, and fewer opt-outs. The result: happier customers all around.
An important side note: The best email newsletter software providers will monitor opt-in and opt-out information, reducing the risk that you inadvertently violate the federal government's CAN-SPAM Act that regulates commercial emails.
Good measurement helps you spend your marketing resources on campaigns that bring you the best results. What matters most to your business: Sales? Website visits? Subscriptions? Your email marketing strategy should match those ends. Look for software with predefined metrics, simple analytics, and scorecards that show results at a glance so you can make changes quickly and easily.
You know this part already: social media drives traffic, increases followers, and creates brand awareness. But you may not know that one secret to doing it right is to find email marketing software where integration with social media is built right in. The average internet has seven social media accounts; that's a lot of opportunity to reach your loyal customers (and future loyal customers).
Most email marketing tools are user-friendly, even for small business users without a lot of experience. But it's also nice to have a team of experts on call to walk you through new processes, or to ask for advice if you want to try a particular custom approach for your business. So look for a provider with support experts you can consult with if necessary.
Email marketing software is available in all price ranges and models. On-premise licensed software is popular with major businesses, but usually requires a large upfront capital investment that’s cost-prohibitive for small businesses.
Cloud providers offer services on a monthly or quarterly basis, so no massive upfront investment is needed. Typically you pay for just the services and capabilities you need, so you can decide what fits your budget and what will get you the most bang for your buck.
In the end, of course, it's all about the return. And effective email marketing for small businesses really can create more engaged customers and higher sales.
But be ready to measure whatever matters to you most. If you're a personal trainer, your biggest goal might be getting people to take a 30-minute free trial lesson. If you're an emergency plumber, your biggest goal might be to get people to remember your 24-hour phone number or Twitter handle. Make sure you know your email marketing strategy and then measure for it.
It's particularly important to measure opens and clicks: that is, the number of email recipients who open a given message, and then the number of those readers who click the call-to-action link in your email. The best email newsletter software also makes it easy to measure whether people forward your emails to friends, which is another important metric.
Once you're ready to get started, take a baseline measurement showing what your typical email is getting now. That way you can look back in a few months or a year and see how much your numbers have improved. Most email marketing software solutions track these metrics automatically, making it easy to keep up. Don't be afraid to use A/B testing to test different messages with different segments of your audience. Anything you can do to test and measure will give you a better look at what works best with your customers.