8 Strategies To Boost Email Marketing For Small Businesses

As a small business, it can be hard to keep up with an ever-changing marketing field. Email marketing and other types can be time intensive. But if you can make the time for them, they can really boost your business.

At Cohlab, we help our clients build and sustain email campaigns across multiple industries. If you need expert help, let us know, but we hope these strategies can help set you on the right course.

8 Strategies To Boost Email Marketing For Small Businessesemail-824310_1920

1. Make It Obvious

The first key to successful email marketing is getting subscribers. You may already have users heading to your website, landing pages, blog or Facebook; use this to your advantage and give them some way of signing up, whether you find a WordPress plugin, a Facebook feature, or just give them a link to send you a generic email opting in.

The most important part is to make it obvious. Put it at the top of your pages, make it part of your Facebook cover photo, do something to get the idea of being on your mailing list in front of them and easy to do. All they should need to do is give you their name and email, don’t confuse the issue by asking for anything else.

2. Keep Them Informed

Once you’ve begun building a list, let them know what you’re using it for. Send everyone a welcome email as they are added to the list letting them know you’re grateful and that they’ll be receiving Marketing/Coupons/Blog Summaries/Survey/Etc. emails from you.

Email services like MailChimp and HubSpot (which we’ll discuss later) have an option to automatically reply to someone when they sign up for your list.

3. Subject Lines Are Important

Subject lines are key. What are you trying to get them to do, and what information is inside? Readers should be able to know without even opening the email whether anything valuable is inside for them.

Technically speaking, emails with subject lines of less than 50 characters tend to be opened more often than any other length, while subject lines of more than 70 characters tend to have links or coupons inside clicked on more often.

4. Consider Using A Service

In point #2, we mentioned MailChimp and Hubspot. These companies provide email services, allowing you to create lists, email templates, as well as keep you on the right side of the law. These email marketing providers automatically put unsubscribe links at the bottom of every email, which allows readers to opt out at any time and saves you the hassle of breaking the law.

5. Be Brief

About half of all emails are read on mobile devices, which means people are on the move. Keep your emails brief. You should really have only one or at the maximum two focuses in a single email message, to prevent confusion and keep the length in line.

200 words is usually a good maximum. If you need more than 200 words to get your point across, write a blog post instead and link from a short summary on the email to the blog post.

6. Be Committed

Keep it steady. If you feel customers will benefit from one email a month, do that and stick to it, always hitting it on the same day at about the same time. Create a calendar if you have to.

If you are doing more than one email a month, you’ll probably need a calendar. Keep it steady, with one email a week or whatever you choose.

If you decide you absolutely need to change your emailing frequency, inform your email list so they aren’t confused, or create separate lists and encourage people to subscribe to both lists if interested.

7. Stats Are Important

With an email marketing service like MailChimp or HubSpot, it’s easy to watch your statistics roll in from your email campaign. Open rates (what percentage of subscribers have opened a particular email) as well as click rates (what percentage of subscribers have clicked a link within a particular email.)

Not seeing good results? It might be time to change the time/date of your emails (see point #6.)

8. Images Might Not Show Up

Alt tags. These are text descriptions of graphics (images, photos, videos, logos.)

Every graphic you put in your email should have an alt tag, not only for those who use software to read their email to them, but also for those whose email provider has blocked images from appearing. Otherwise your customers might not even know you included a valuable coupon, or what it’s worth!

We hope these strategies have helped you on your journey, and if you need anything else, we’re just an email away!

How To Get The Most Out Of Email Marketing Services

Email marketing services like HubSpot and MailChimp help you organize your mailing lists and send templated messages to many users at once. But not many people are using email marketing services to their fullest.

At Cohlab, we have some best practices we utilize for our clients’ email marketing services which we’re happy to share with you. For additional help, contact us anytime and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Get The Most Out Of Your Email Marketing Services

Get PermissionEmail Marketing Services

No matter how you are getting these email addresses (a sign-up at your brick-and-mortar, a form on your website, a giveaway or contest) people need to know what they are signing up for. Before you ever use email marketing services or gather a single address, be sure people are aware that:

  • They will receive X number of emails per month
  • They will get (discounts, coupons, product information, first chance at new products, e-books, etc.)
  • You will not spam them or sell their email address to another company

Set Expectations

After a user agrees to be on your email list, send a follow-up email immediately to thank them, introduce yourself or your company, and remind them again what type of emails you will be sending to them. Most email marketing services like MailChimp and HubSpot have an option to set up an autoresponder when someone signs up for your email list.

Segment

Segmenting your email list is an extremely important aspect of email marketing services.

Someone who is on your list because they are a customer is going to be interested in different things than someone who signed up for an e-book. Similarly, your particular industry will have different segments, whether this is based on gender, age, job title, company, etc.

Each segment will likely be interested in a different aspect of your business. If you’re a restaurant, you probably won’t want to send info about your Senior Specials to the under 50 crowd, while information about Kids Meals should probably go to the 25-45 age group.

Most email marketing services will allow you to manually place email addresses into various segmented groups which you design. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take time to setup at the start.

Optimize

When preparing for email marketing services, be sure to optimize the actual content of them. For instance, subject lines of emails have been shown to be extremely effective at <50 characters and >70 characters. Between 50-70 characters, emails tend to be opened less often.

More specifically, emails with subject lines of <50 characters tend to be opened more often than any other length, while emails with subject lines of >70 characters see the best click through rates (on a link or deal within the email).

Overall, emails should be short on content. If you have a lot of content to deliver, put short summaries and link out to a blog post on the topic. In general, emails shouldn’t have more than about 200 words in the body.

Remember, for additional email marketing services help, contact us anytime!

6 Email Blast Basics From Your Friends At Cohlab

Whether you have a newsletter or a big sale to announce, an email blast is usually a marketer’s first choice to get the word out.

An email blast let’s you contact a ton of people at the right time, but there are many ways this can go wrong for a company or individual marketer, even if you’re using a system like MailChimp. For advanced tips, definitely let us help you out, but for now let’s take a look at 6 quick email blast tips to help you get off on the right foot.

Email Blast Basics

1. Bigger is not always Betterpexels-photo-30814

Let’s pretend that, through your sales force’s prospects and friendly contacts as well as a list of customers who have already purchased from you, you have about 2,000 email addresses.

Having a bunch of email addresses which aren’t properly vetted isn’t ideal. We would much rather see you email blast a new product release to 200 customers who have agreed to receive information from you than 2,000 who aren’t expecting product information.

Your click-through and engagement rate with the 200 will be much higher, and you will see better returns from being able to more directly target this group.

2. Commit. Commit. Commit.

An email blast is not a one-time affair. You’re not going to get a great return off of just sending one blast; people need reminders. The ‘why’ behind your blast will remain the same, but the specific wording and images should adjust to keep it fresh on your second and third blast.

This allows you to test as well, which we will talk about a bit later.

Consistency is also important, you can build momentum for your email blast by staying on a schedule to keep your brand at the top of mind for your customers.

3. Stay Above The Fold

Most people won’t read much of your email blast at all, or might only preview it, so you want your “call-to-action” to be above the fold. This means you want to put whatever you want them to do near the very top of the email blast, whether it’s a link to a product page, a survey, or a coupon.

You don’t want them to have to scroll to get to your call-to-action, or the vast majority will never see it.

4. Keep It Short

Brevity is your friend. Do you read lengthy emails? You might skim them if they truly interest you, but most you read the subject line and maybe the first paragraph before deciding to trash it or invest your time.

Keep your email blast short and sweet. If you have a lot of information to get across, write a blog post and link them from the email to the blog, using the link as your call-to-action.

5. Test. Test. Test.

Multiple email blasts work best, as you can test how different subject lines, body text, images and calls-to-action work on different individuals.

You should also test your email blast on yourself or your coworkers multiple times, and to different email providers (Google, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) to see if your email is presented in the right way; do images come through, is your subject line too long, does your call-to-action show up above the fold, etc.

6. Watch And Learn

If you want to learn from your emails, you’ll need to send them from a client like MailChimp, HubSpot, or setup a tracked link or contact form on your website. It’s important to know how your email blast performs, so you can improve in the future.

For more help with your email marketing, contact us today!

5 Tips to Use MailChimp Effectively for Your Email Marketing Platform

The web is filled with different tools and services that are designed to help small businesses successfully implement an email marketing campaign, and for good reason. Email marketing continues to provide a phenomenal return on investment. One of the best known of these products is MailChimp. The service is fairly straightforward and easy to learn quickly. However, knowing how to send an email marketing campaign with MailChimp, and knowing how to maximize the use of it for the best possible result are two different things. In this article, we look at 5 ways your small business can maximize your success and use MailChimp more effectively.

Your Audience

Without a good list and a number of quality subscribers, nobody is even seeing your email campaign. A good subscriber list is the foundation on which any great email campaign is built. Generating a list of people who wish to receive and read what you are sending takes time to build, but it is worth the investment. More importantly, once you have a list, take the time to segment it into targeted groups. Separate them by demographic, their activities, purchase history, or other specialized groups. Once your list is segmented, you have the ability to specifically target certain groups with specialized content that will have the greatest effect on that particular segment.

Your Statistics

One of the great things about MailChimp, is that it provides a great deal of information that can help determine if your content is hitting the mark. Those stats aren’t just there for MailChimp to look professional. They are there to be used. Pay attention to your statistics like open rates, unsubscribes, and click-through rates. If you sent an email last week that had a 60% open rate, and your email this week is only at 20%, what made the difference? Taking the time to review and evaluate your statistics can greatly increase the impact your campaigns will have.

Your Opening Line

It has been shown that 33% of your audience opens an email strictly based on the subject line only. If your subject line isn’t something that entices recipients to open the email, you are eliminating a third of your list immediately. Use creativity, clarity, personalization, capitalization, powerful words, conciseness, and make it compelling. Sounds easy right? Don’t panic, if you are taking advantage of tip 2, knowing your exact target will make crafting a great subject line much easier.

Your Timing

Knowing when to hit the big red launch button that MailChimp ceremoniously provides takes a little research. Fortunately, the research has mostly been done; all you need to do is follow what it tells you. MailChimp did their own study and found that emails sent Tuesday through Thursday around 4 PM have the best open rates. You may find that your own segments have their own open rate sweet spot. And, MailChimp even provides a send optimization tool to help hit the moving target that is your audience.

Your Content and Layout

Even if you have a masterful subject line that is simply impossible for people to skip, the stuff inside that email is critical to achieving any action taken by the recipient. Various studies give an average email reading time of 7 to 15 seconds for over half of the population. That’s not much time, and chances are that whatever is at the top of your email will be the content that is viewed. Whatever your mission for the campaign, whether it’s information about an event or a call to action, make sure it is at the top of your layout. Structure your email so the most important information comes first. Use color, use images, use infographics, and use different design elements that capture their eyes like you want the written content to capture their mind. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to do this successfully. MailChimp has pre-made templates that guide you through the process and help find that balance between catching and overbearing.

Don’t Waste Your Time

As the old saying goes, time is money. Any activity you do, any investment you make regarding your company’s marketing strategy should be successful and provide a great return on the investment. MailChimp, and other email marketing products can be a tool that slingshots your marketing efforts into the stratosphere. But they can also be an utter waste of time. Before you decide to start your own email marketing campaign, take the time to familiarize yourself with how it works, and then follow these tips to maximize the result of your efforts.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

 

How to Set Up Free Google Mail for Your Business Emails

How to Set Up Free Google Mail for Your Business EmailsAs a small business the idea of paying for an email client for our employee’s seems like an extra cost that is un-necessary.  However, to ensure legitimacy you need to have a professional email address that ties back to your domain (website).  The problem with most shared hosting platforms is that the email clients really suck after using Gmail for all of your personal emails.  Therefore, most small businesses opt to pay for the various email services out there which incur additional monthly cost that could get applied elsewhere.  After much tinkering, we have figured out a way to utilize Gmail for your email client while maintaining the professional email address needed for your business.  Set up only takes about 10 minutes to get this set up which we outline below.

I plan on demonstrating this using cpanel due to popularity; however the same concepts can get applied to other email clients easily.

Google Mail Step #1

First figure out what email address you want to set up for your business.  In this instance we will set up a new email address called foo@cohalb.com.

Google Mail Step #2

Find your cpanel or hosting platform login information then log into the control panel.  Here is a screen shot of our cpanel after logging in.

Cpanel OverView

Step #3

Click on the Email Accounts icon that is inside the Mail section.

Step 3 Cpanel Email Accounts

Step #4

Once inside the mail client add in your email address then your password.  We use the Password Generator* to ensure that we have a very strong password.  Once you have added the password press the “Create Account” button.  *Note, you will want to copy this password to a secure location.

Step 4 Create Email

If the account was created successfully you will see the following message:

Step 4 Email Creation Success

Now press the home button in the upper left hand side to go back to the main control panel.

Step #5

Once you are on the main control panel, select the “Forwarders” icon under the “Mail” section.

Step 5 Email Forwarders

Step #6

After arriving inside the screen, click the “Add Forwarder” button which will open up another screen where you will enter the email address for the domain that you just set up along with the email address that you want to forward a copy of the emails to then press the “Add Forwarder” button.

Step 6 Add Forwarder

 

On success you will get the following message:

Step 5 Email Forwarders Success

You can log out of CPanel now as the verification email that you need later will get sent to the forwarding gmail address that you specified in the above Forwarder screen.  *Note – In a future blog I’ll demonstrate how to automatically clean up the emails left on your hosting platform.

Step #7

Open up Gmail, ensuring that you are logged into Gmail, and click the Wrench in the far right side then click the menu Settings.

Step 7 Gmail Settings Icon

 

Step 7 Gmail Settings Menu

Step #8

After you click on the Settings menu item, a dashboard will open that has a list of items across the top, select the “Accounts and Import” tab.

Step 8 Accounts and Import

Step #9

Scroll down the page until you find the section called “Send Mail As:” then click on the blue link called “Add another email address you own”.

Step 9 Send Mail As

This will open another dialog where you will enter in the name you can use to reference later and the email address for your domain, we will use the foo@cohlab.com as our example.  After you enter that information, press “Next Step”.

Step 9 Send Mail Other Email Address

 

This will then take you to the next screen where you will just press “Next Step”.

Step 9 Send Mail Through SMTP

 

This will then take you to another screen letting you know that an email will be coming to the recently setup domain account to verify that you own this email account, press “Send Verification”.

Step 9 Send Mail Verify Email Address

 

An email has now been sent to your new domain email account, do not close this screen as we will come back to it later.  At this point open your Gmail client to get the verification code.

Once inside of Gmail open the email from Google labeled “Gmail Confirmation – Send Mail as ….” inside of that email you will find the option to use the confirmation code or just click the link to verify the email account.  For this demonstration we will use the confirmation code.  Copy the confirmation code and paste it into the Google dialog box that is still open then press “Verify” which will then close the dialog box and add the email address as a row in the “Send Mail as” section.

Step 9 Verification Code

 

 

Step 9 Add Verification Code

 

To ensure that you constantly use this email address as your outbound email address, press the blue link for “make default” on the right hand side.

Step 9 Make Default

Below this are additional settings that will allow you to select which address should be used when replying to an email, in most instances since this is your personal and professional email you will want to select the first radio button to reply from the address that the email was sent to.

Step 9 Reply As

 

That is the last step in the entire process for setting up Google Mail as your default Business Email client.  I will add that this is the simple configuration which does have some caveats.  We will list a couple, however we are certain that we are missing some (if you have additional situations please let us know).

1.  This setup does not track the emails that were sent from your domain in on your server, therefore if you want to track the outbound emails in your system for logging purposes then in step #9 you would change it from using Google Outbound servers to use your own.

2.  If an employee leaves, they can still send email from your domain.  You can turn off the forwarder and delete the email address inside of your CPanel should this happen.

Use these steps to set up business emails for yourself and your employees. We hope you find this as cost effective as we have.