When it comes to email marketing for your small business, sparking the interest of your customers with original, clever, and engaging content is an absolute must. Who wants to receive a boring email with a stale, blasé message or, worse yet, a repeat of information already seen? Keeping your email campaigns fresh, relevant and thought-provoking is truly an art form that can significantly enhance sales, increase customer loyalty, and bring happiness to your bottom line.
Speak from the Heart
As a small business owner, your product or service is probably also your passion. Be sure to speak from the heart about how and why your passion makes your business the right choice for customers. Consider including a short personal message in the content of your email, signed with your name. Tell a story about how you were inspired to start your business. Add a photo of yourself above your personal message. Describe the personal touch and individualized service and attention to detail you provide. Connect with your target audience person-to-person. Think of your customers as your friends and write to them in a personable, friendly way.
Less is More
When preparing an email campaign, spend some time choosing a strong, focused message for your content, then write an informative, appealing message about just that subject. Make it thorough and convincing, and don’t try to cover too many topics in one email. You are probably very excited about a lot of things going on at your business, but don’t overwhelm your readers with too many shiny objects! There’s always next week’s email, and good email marketing is about tempting your subscribers to read on, then delivering on your implied “promise” to make it worth their time. Choose a variety of “target messages” to ensure each email your subscribers receive is fresh and new.
Share Your Expertise
A great way to engage and provide extra value to your customer is to share free tips, advice, and interesting insights about topics related to your products and services. If you’re a professional cat whisperer, share the secrets of connecting spiritually with a feline friend. If you’re a plumber, tell a funny story about a plumbing catastrophe you heroically solved. Are you a magician-for-hire? Tell your fans how to do a simple, everyday card trick for their friends. Make a list of common wedding mistakes if you’re a wedding planner. If you sell antiques, write a short article on how to tell the difference between an authentic vintage dresser and a reproduction. Establish yourself and your business as an expert, go-to resource and your customers will return time and again.
Include an Offer
If your subscribers know that each email campaign you send is going to include an offer of some kind, they are much more likely to click and open that email and spend a little time perusing your message. Try a different offer with each email and get creative. Sure, you can and should include a 20% discount coupon at the bottom of a campaign, but offer something different with each new email message. Try including an offer within the text of an article. For example: “Thanks for reading this week’s tips. Mention the trade secret we revealed for an instant discount with your next order.” Consider offering a new customer referral discount. Invite customers to stop by the shop for a free giveaway on one of your slowest days of the week. Announce a contest that can only be found on your Facebook page. The possibilities are endless. Offers with some sort of required interaction are a great way to get to know your customers more personally.
Lead a Horse to Water
Sending an email with the first part of an especially interesting and unique article related to your business is a great way to drive traffic to your website. You want to be sure this piece is attention-getting and of interest to a broad section of your clientele. If you can capture their curiosity, they will follow a link to your website to finish reading, and once there, they will likely explore further. This story probably shouldn’t simply be a pitch of your product or services. Try to find a human-interest story with a connection to your company. Did your employees volunteer their time and money for a worthwhile charity? Did your company do business with someone who has a fascinating story with a positive message? People like to read about people, and you can tie wonderful stories back to your company if you keep a keen eye open for such opportunities. Try to find a topic that isn’t hard sell, or isn’t sell at all. You don’t want your email marketing to become Reader’s Digest, but there is gold to be found in “them there hills.” And if you can capture someone’s heart, they are very likely to follow that link to your website.
People Like Pictures and Videos
You already know this, because you like pictures and videos. Try to include a great photo or two of your products or services in action with every email you send. Even better, capture a customer testimonial on video and link it in your email. Don’t be afraid to try a funny video, or a “candid” photo of you or your customers. People like pictures and videos. It’s just that simple, and you MUST include one or both in every message you send.
Engage, Engage, Engage
The secrets of inspiring your customers to open and read your email campaigns are not limited to the tips and ideas listed here. The sky is the limit. What matters the most is investing the time and creativity to make every email unique, fresh, and full of value. Value comes in many shapes and sizes. People value a message that makes them smile. They value a message that is informative or educational. They value a message that connects on a human level. They value a message that saves them money. Think outside the box, write well, and relay your passion, and your emails will bring you all the success you deserve!