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Small business marketing: increasing conversions with email

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Email marketing can build your business and connect with your customers the way traditional small-business channels like postcard mailings and local advertising can’t.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just begun to build up your email address database and send messages or you’re a messaging veteran using an email service provider that caters to an SMB’s unique needs. Your success with email depends on being able to drive more conversions with it.

Email is the vehicle that drives traffic to a landing page on your website. That’s where the conversion happens – someone buys a product, signs up for a service, makes an appointment, etc.

However, you can persuade more people to convert by using the channel more effectively. Below are five ideas to structure your email program to focus on increasing conversions.

1. Remember that email is a ‘push’ channel.

You don’t have to wait for people to find you, whether they drive past your store, see an ad or click on a search result. Once you have permission to connect via email (and permission is the key to everything with email), you can push messages to your customers whenever you have something valuable and relevant to say that will help them.

2. The ‘nudge effect’ keeps your brand top of mind.

Showing up in the inbox regularly reminds your customers about your business even if they don’t open every email. Even if they delete your email, chances are they read the sender name and the subject line. You’ve now planted a seed in their mind for when they have a need. But, you need two elements to increase your inbox branding power:

  • An instantly recognizable sender name. XYZ Software instead of Newsletter or
  • A descriptive, action-oriented subject line that tells customers what to expect in the email. 1 day only! Get yourself a Shellac manicure for only $35! instead of Open for a surprise sale.

3. Helpful marketing converts.

Emails that help customers solve problems or offer valuable information are more likely to encourage them to take the next step with your business, whether it’s an immediate conversion or another step along the way to purchasing. 

Ask yourself, “How do my emails help my customers succeed in the parts of their lives that my products/services touch?” Look for ways to make your messages more meaningful beyond “Buy this!” Sometimes it’s the timing, the message or even the tone of voice, as seen in this example from CVS Pharmacy.

Image example of a marketing email


4. Focus on strategy, not just tactics.

Sending email is easy. But high-converting, effective email marketing takes more than one-off messages sent at random.

First, set your objectives for your email program. Then, create a strategy to help you achieve those objectives. Finally, develop tactics to carry out your strategy.

Too many marketers start at the end, with tactics. You’ll be more successful if you understand first how email figures into your long-term goals and overall marketing strategy.

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5. Make it mobile. More than half of all email is opened on mobile devices. Look at your email on your phone to see how the subject line and message content look, if your customer can see and click easily on your call to action and if your landing page also looks and works properly. The example here from UK online retailer shows how they’ve designed it to read well on both desktop and mobile.  
Desktop Version Mobile Version
Image of a desktop-version of a retail sale advertisement Animated image of a mobile-version of a retail sale advertisement
  Conclusion   Set time aside to think about making your emails more helpful to your customers. High inbox visibility and regular message contact with mobile-optimized aimed at solving problems will encourage more customers to connect with you.

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Business Insights and Ideas does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation..