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The One-Stop Email Marketing Guide for SMBs Looking to Crush 2021

By Chris Mouton on Apr 25, 2021

Email marketing is, in many ways, the ancestor of all digital marketing. It was the first to arrive and, considering how quickly things change in digital marketing, you might expect it to be extinct, replaced by newer and shinier techniques.

You’d be wrong.

In fact, email marketing services are still one of the most cost-effective and useful tools in the digital marketer’s toolbox. Umbrella Local is an email marketing agency with extensive experience helping our clients maximize their ROI with email marketing.

That said, it’s still important to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest if you want to crush 2021 with email marketing. Here’s your one-stop small business email marketing guide.

List Building

If you haven’t already been collecting email addresses from the people who visit your site, don’t worry! It’s never too late to start.

The first step is giving people a reason to subscribe to your list. In other words, you need a killer lead magnet. An effective lead magnet can increase your conversions. If you’re not sure what lead magnet to use, partnering with an experienced email marketing agency can help.

A 2020 study found that video and written lead magnets were the most effective formats, and that short form content was more effective than long form content. Whatever lead magnet you decide to offer, you should make sure that it’s tailored to the specific needs of your target audience.

Another key element of list building is qualifying leads. Regardless of the type of lead magnet you offer, a percentage of people will put in their email address to get it even if they have no intention of buying from you. A good way to weed those people out after the initial step is to use a two-tier subscription process that requires people to confirm their email address by clicking a link.

List Segmentation

Once you have built your list, you’ll need to think about how to get the biggest possible bang for your buck. One option that a lot of local businesses overlook is list segmentation. Segmentation involves separating your list into smaller lists with subscribers receiving only messages that meet their needs.

Research shows that list segmentation can more than double your open rates and increase your profits by as much as 760%. Those are huge numbers, and it would be a mistake to ignore them.

To segment your list, you have two options.

  1. Segment the list yourself based on subscriber behavior including previous purchases.
  2. Ask subscribers to self-segment by sending them a link where they can opt in for emails on the subjects that interest them.

Either option can be effective. While not every subscriber will take the time to respond to a segmentation request, many will. Considering how much list segmentation can increase your sales, it’s a step that is worth taking.

Lead Nurturing

Not every email list is built with the goal of making direct sales from the emails. For service providers, B2B companies, and businesses selling big ticket items, the list may be the best way to collect and nurture leads until they get to the point of making a purchase.

Email marketing is incredibly effective as a lead nurturing method. In fact, lead nurturing emails can get between 4 and 10 more responses than regular “email blast” messages. 

With lead nurturing, the use of email automation (aka autoresponders) is essential, although you may get to a point when a lead is close to turning into a sale when you want a more personalized response. A good lead nurturing sequence provides necessary information about your products or services while helping to overcome potential objections.

The important thing for 2021 is to build out your lead nurturing sequences ahead of time. When a qualified lead fills out your opt-in form and subscribes, you can add them to the lead sequence and begin the process of convincing them to buy from you.

Personalized Emails

It doesn’t matter what your company sells – none of your customers wants to feel like a statistic. We all like personal attention and email marketing offers you the opportunity to provide it.

Personalization can happen in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Putting the recipient’s name in the subject line of an email
  • Sending an email in response to a trigger (for example, an abandoned shopping cart or a new product release that’s related to a previous purchase)
  • Sending emails that are personalized based on segmentation (see above)
  • Having the email come from a person instead of a faceless company

Personalizing your emails can have a huge impact on your revenue. For example, emails with personalized subject lines have an open rate 26% higher than generic subject lines. Personalization can increase your revenue and transaction rates by up to 600%.

The other thing that personalized emails can do is increase brand loyalty. When consumers feel a personal connection with a brand, they are more likely to stick around than they would be if they felt like a face in a crowd.

List Maintenance and Best Practices

List maintenance might not be sexy, but it’s essential if you want to get the ROI you deserve. Here are some tips to help you clean up your list.

  1. Use, as noted above, a two-step subscription process to weed out people who aren’t really interested in your products or services.
  2. Do a regular review of your list and get rid of people who aren’t opening your emails. You can send a “last chance” email to try to reengage them but, if they don’t respond, it’s time to let them go. You should repeat this process every six months.
  3. Avoid using spam words in your subject lines. Examples include free, credit, and anything with a dollar sign.
  4. Don’t send your emails from a no-reply email address. While we understand the desire to minimize the email you need to review, the use of a no-reply address increases the likelihood that your emails will be labeled as spam.
  5. Test every email before you send it. It takes only a few seconds to send yourself a test email. Review it to make sure that all images are loading properly, all links work, and the text is readable. Make sure to check it on both a computer and a mobile device.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build an audience, collect leads, and increase your sales. Using our guide will help you make the most of your email marketing in 2021.

Are you ready to crush your email marketing in 2021? Click here to learn how we can help!

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