My readers might be interested in this podcast interview on email marketing for small business. You can listen to it on YouTube or read the transcript below.
1. It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Gail. To start, could you explain how your venture, GrowMap, helps businesses grow?
As a Small Business Marketing Strategist, I assist small businesses in prioritizing actions they can take to grow their customer bases, make themselves more visible and increase their sales.
What small businesses often need is some idea how to decide what to do first when it comes to branding and marketing. I set them up with a pre-populated Trello board to keep track of their actions and assets.
And most importantly, I give them a roadmap for what to do first – that is where GrowMap comes in: Map your Path to Grow Your Business.
2. What are some initial marketing challenges you’ve seen small businesses face?
Typically, they feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or what is worth doing for their specific business. And they don’t know what to do themselves and what to hire others to do.
So that is the first thing we tackle: what they should focus on. I recommend they always hire someone to do the things they only need done once or very rarely. Then they can consider doing some of the routing tasks themselves or hiring those done, too. And I can recommend competent people I’ve worked with before to make sure they get their money’s worth.
3. One of the prime focuses for most of the small business owners is creating a credible and sizeable audience base. Can you share some tips to grow a subscriber base organically?
The key to getting subscribers is to offer them what they want. The most popular method for a long time was a downloadable ebook. However, many found that they would get the ebook and then immediately unsubscribe.
To avoid that, using a free autoresponder series on a particular topic your audience is interested in as a lead magnet can work better.
The way you get them to subscribe to receive that series is by offering “bonus content” as the call-to-action at the end of your blog posts.
If they liked what they just read and you offer more indepth insights only available via email, they will be more willing to give you their email address.
Focus on relevance more than the size of your list. If your site topic is very broad or you offer multiple products or services, it is better to use questions in early emails to segment your subscribers into multiple more targeted lists.
4. What kind of email workflows should marketers develop for carrying out consistent and interactive engagement?
Relevance is the most important factor. People are only going to read your emails if they are interested in what you’re sending.
That is why it is imperative to use marketing automation to segment your lists by interest. The way this is done is by asking questions and offering links in an email so that the reader self-selects what they are most interested in.
Optimmonster reported that MailChimp pulled data on people who subscribe to the lists of multiple companies. They found that “segmented campaigns had open rates that were 14.37% higher, clicks that were 64.78% higher, and 8.98% lower unsubscribe rates than non-segmented campaigns subscribed to by the same users”.
Segmentation is essential. Choose marketing automation that will automatically move subscribers between lists using the workflows you design based on their user behaviors such as link clicks and purchase history.
Attempting to manage segments manually will quickly become a nightmare when you get busy in your business and don’t get it done!
5. How can small businesses keep email marketing consistent and relevant with the changing digital times?
Over time, we’ve gone for text only email to email with images to HTML-only email. The best email solutions now display emails as HTML and offer a link for viewing the email in your browser to those who have text only or images turned off.
Ensure that your email is mobile responsive. 61.9% of email opens occurred on mobile, 9.8% on desktop and 28.3% in a webmail client. – according to Adestra in “Top 10 email clients” (July 2019)
Always have your call-to-actions as both images including buttons and links because sometimes one or the other is not visible or does not work.
Test your headlines by writing at least two and sending each to 10% of your list. Then use the winner for the rest. Your headline is what gets your email opened.
- The only job of the headline is to get the email opened.
- The job of your email it so deliver on what that headline promised and get your reader to click on a link in the email.
Keep your emails SHORT – especially now that so many of them are opened on mobile devices.
6. What should SMB owners look out for while choosing an email marketing software for their business needs?
The first, most important factor is the deliverability rate of that email provider. Email only works when it gets delivered – so only use a solution with very high deliverability.
The best way to increase deliverability is to run every email through that solutions’ spam checker. Take the recommendations to lower your spam score seriously in every, single email. Make changes and retest. Failure to do this will reduce deliverability.
Email providers should include:
- Spam Checkers
- The ability to preview your email in various email clients
- Social sharing buttons
- Social following buttons
Some prefer email providers that include built-in landing page creators and stock images.
Make sure the email solution is scalable for when your list grows larger. Moving your lists is not always easy.
Many email providers require double-opts even for existing lists. Requiring all your subscribers to resubscribe is likely to cause you to lose a huge percentage of them.
Beware of email solutions that keep charging you for people who have already unsubscribed or charge you for fake email subscribers.
Also, be aware that some providers charge only once per email subscriber no matter how many segmented lists they are on while others charge for the same email subscriber on each of your lists.
7. Is there an ideal email marketing road map for beginners? If so, what would it look like?
OutboundEngine offers an Email Marketing Roadmap for Business Owners with annual updates at https://www.outboundengine.com/blog/2019-email-marketing-for-business/
CoSchedule offers an Email Marketing Strategy Template as a Microsoft PowerPoint and for Mac.
8. How can someone combine the power of email and social media marketing for extended audience outreach and engagement?
What is most important is to have your email marketing automation and funnels in place before you work on social media. Otherwise, you will lose opportunities to capture interactions from social networks.
Use the space in your bio on your various social accounts to include an offer. For example, on Twitter, you can use hashtag #FREEreport and a clickable link in your bio.
When someone mouses-over your bio photo, a box pops up with that link in it. So they can see your offer and link without even going to your profile page.
On mobile devices, they have to click on your picture and then your bio, offer and link are visible.
Facebook can also be used to increase your email subscriber list. You can use a “Sign Up” button on your business page to send people to a landing page with your offer on it.
You can also run Facebook ads to your landing pages. B2Bs may want to run LinkedIn ads. The best way to do that is to test them first on Facebook where they’re cheaper and then use the winners on LinkedIn. Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram and many other social networks also offer ads.
Social media works best if you actively engage with your followers. You need to be posting interesting questions, polls, photos, memes, videos and even games to get followers engaged.
The main thing to remember is NOT to be pushing your products and services all the time. You need to develop relationships with your followers there to turn them into customers.
9. Most businesses today are handled by solopreneurs who struggle to balance their efforts and time between multiple job roles. What are some quick guidelines to help them focus on the essential things they must do for email marketing growth?
Decide what your lead magnet(s) will be and complete those.
Before you start building your list, you must create your autoresponder series for each segment and create a schedule for them. That can be time-consuming, but once done is used for every new subscriber.
You also need to have your marketing automation workflows in place. And then build your landing pages and create your offers.
How often are you going to send your list segment emails? Remember that for every segment you create, you will need to write an original email to that segment that often.
For most businesses, once a week or every other week works best. Your customers probably do not really want to hear from you every day and have unopened emails pile up in their inbox.
10. What email performance metrics and data should early-career marketers leverage to optimize their engagement strategy and boost revenue?
Subscribes and unsubscribes – keep growing subscribes and expect to have at least some unsubscribes. But pay attention if many unsubscribe from a single email; review it to see if there might be something in it that offended them.
Deliverability and open rate – If deliverability slumps, make sure you are consistently using the pre-sending spam checker and editing based on its recommendations.
Clicks and purchases – your email’s job is to get your subscribers to take action. If you sell products, that means making them an offer they want.
More advanced marketing segmentation can customize offers based on what they have purchased in the past or have saved to a wish list. Also offer accessories or related products to what they have bought.
The easiest sale is to an existing customer using a discount on something they already buy from you, have searched your site for or have placed on a wish list.
Neil Patel has an excellent post on Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies at https://neilpatel.com/blog/email-marketing-segmentation-strategies/
Additional Interviews with Gail Gardner
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