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Email marketing for small business

If you’re a small business owner — regardless of industry — email marketing can help you foster better customer relationships build a stronger brand to help you keep growing.

Small business owners often assume that small business email marketing isn’t effective — and that email is just for the big guys. But they’re wrong!

Email marketing is frequently cited as the most lucrative form of online marketing boasting an ROI of 4400%. And the good news is that this massive ROI isn’t just reserved for the big players. Even little guys on small budgets can profit substantially from email marketing!

When it comes to marketing, email is king. No other distribution channel drives engagement and builds customer relationships like email marketing. Email campaigns deliver a higher ROI than every other type of marketing category. Set up your emails properly, and it can be extremely lucrative.

But to have a successful email marketing strategy, you need to find the best email marketing service. That helps you manage your subscribers, content, and campaigns.

Most email marketing services will have similar features. That’s why finding the best email marketing software for your business or website can be difficult.

What makes one email platform better than others?

Throughout my career, I’ve managed multiple email lists with more than 100,000 subscribers and used about every email marketing tool in existence. I know what it takes to run successful email marketing campaigns, and I know which software will get the job done.

Whether you’re starting a new email list from scratch or looking to switch to a new provider, this guide will help you find the best email marketing service for your situation.

What makes an email marketing service great one? The best characteristics to look out for when choosing one that is efficient and budget-friendly include:

  • Budget

  • Costs

  • Size of the database

  • Level of automation

  • Special additions such as analytics

This is all good to know, but how do you know which email marketing platform is the best for your business needs? We can help you out with a handful of nifty suggestions. Here are the 5 leading email marketing platforms for startups and small businesses.

Top 5 Best Email Marketing Services

1. Convertkit

Free Plans: Allow you to start building your audience with useful features like unlimited landing page templates and forms to choose from and managing up to 1,000 subscribers.

Paid Plans: Paid plans range from $29 to upwards of $4,000 depending on how many subscribers you have.

Convertkit gives you the fluidity and flexibility desired in email campaign creation and execution. You get great performance and increased productivity, you can use its automation to save time, in addition to creating a customer funnel, it is easy to use, powerful and functional, the cost is more affordable compared to other software.

Instead of traditional email marketing platforms, where you have to know coding and HTML, ConvertKit provides a seamless, drag-and-drop-capable experience to create professional emails that convert. There's also an automation feature to view the whole layout of your funnel.

2. GetResponse

GetResponse is an email marketing platform that can be used by small and medium-sized businesses and, more generally, by those who have just started a new business. But even big corporations including Ikea and Unicef use GetResponse to create powerful, simplified emails in one easy-to-use tool.

It is a particularly economical and easy to use service. The service offers various functions and integrations, as well as detailed statistics. The weak point is linked to the automation processes, not mainly developed.

What makes GetResponse a fantastic email marketing service to invest in is the additional option to use the service for other marketing needs you may want to fulfill. This includes, but is not limited to, landing page creation and optimization, conversion funnels, and marketing automation.

Still not convinced? Explore more of the amazing features GetResponse offers to businesses and brands of all sizes.

3. ActiveCampaign

Small businesses and startups can opt for ActiveCampaign, an inexpensive Email Marketing platform that is easy to use and has several specific functions for SMEs.

This platform has its CRM system to manage leads and, therefore, automatically organize sales and marketing. Process automation is a point in favor of Active Campaign which presents ground-breaking, informative reports that tell users what is working in their email marketing efforts and what isn’t.

What makes ActiveCampaign a great email marketing service to look into is how it filters the customer experience acquisition process. The platform’s official website filters potential users by industry, product, and role. This allows the platform to completely customize your email marketing service needs depending on who you are and what you are looking for.

4. Sendinblue

Sendinblue offers a good compromise between the expense it requires and the service that is simple to use and complete in the functions it offers (like the more famous ActiveCampaign).

Sendinblue also has a well-developed CRM section and offers excellent possibilities for automation, integration, and segmentation, representing the real competitive advantage over other platforms. The interface, however, can be more complicated than other services like Mailchimp).

It is also an excellent tool for SMS marketing. There is a range of templates for creating your emails.

Sendinblue allows you to create custom workflows that send emails automatically. You can even use your contact's behavior on your website to trigger emails. For example, you could send an automated email if a customer adds an item to their cart but fails to check it.

Sendinblue offers an entirely free account for up to 300 emails per day and receive unlimited contacts. If you do want to send more emails than that, paid plans start at $ 25/month.

5. AWeber

AWeber is suitable for those who based their businesses in the web marketing industry and are looking for a reliable tool while having a limited budget.

In fact, according to their official website, AWeber’s mission statement is to “deliver powerfully-simple email marketing for small businesses that does 90% of the work for you. We leave 10% for you to have fun!” And who doesn’t want to have fun?!

Beginners can benefit from AWeber’s detailed and intuitive reports. The more experienced power users can take advantage of split-tests.

Features of AWeber include unique features like a prebuilt template library, an AI-powered design assistant, a drag-and-drop email and landing page designer, campaign marketplace, and automated campaign features.

Email Marketing Tips

At the core of every email marketing campaign is the email list and having a quality email list can make the difference when it comes to conversions and ROI from your campaign.

Growing your email list takes time and effort and the following email marketing tips will help you do it correctly.

1. Give them different options – Make it easy to register

This is the first and perhaps one of the most important steps. You need to make it easy for people to register to your list. No need to ask for too much information (a name and email is enough) or to have long and cluttered registration forms.

Try to make it ‘single click’ i.e. people enter their name and email in the registration box and they click ‘Register’. Once they confirm their email, they are on your list.

If you want to take it a step further you can also allow people to register to your email list using their social media accounts. It’s easier for them and you also get to connect with them on social media as well.

2. Offer incentives – Why should someone register on your list?

Why should someone give you their email address, what is the benefit for them?

Make sure that the benefit is shown clearly in the registration form/box. Are you going to help them with something, do they get free ebooks, discounts for their next purchase, coupons, etc?

3. Position of the registration box does matter

The position of the email registration box affects the number of people that will register on your list. Best practices include having the registration box:

  • Above the fold (i.e. in the part of the page that is visible without scrolling)

  • Top right sidebar – if are using sidebars then the top right is ideal for the email registration box

  • At the bottom of your articles – if someone reads your articles till the end, then most probably they like what they are reading and are more likely to register to your email list.

  • Footer – Another high converting place for email sign-ups is the footer. This is especially true for online shops and websites that have pages and not posts

  • Homepage top – Many popular websites and marketers use this method to get more email subscribers. Having the signup form on the top of your homepage will generate more signups.

4. Set proper expectations

Tell your subscribers what kind of information to expect from you (new posts, infographics, coupons, offers, etc) and when (every day, every week, whenever you have a new post, etc.).

Be honest and try not to promise something you cannot deliver otherwise your email marketing efforts will fail.

5. Make it personal – Customize your messages

Try to make the registration process easy and inform the users of what is happening at each stage. For example, once they enter their name and email the first time, let them know that they need to confirm their email address in order to finalize the registration.

Spend some time and customize the messages that go out with each email. When you send an email, greet them by their name, and avoid too general terms.

The latest email marketing trends indicate that email engagement is rising with the use of AI technology and this means that personalization is becoming more important than ever.

6. Make the text easy to read and use alt tags for images

Don’t expect that people will read your email every time or that they are willing to spend too much time on it. The best practice is to assume that you have a couple of seconds to grab their attention (from the time they see the email) so work on your titles and the formatting of your email to make it easy to read but and scan.

Use headings and small paragraphs and if you decide to use images make sure that you also set the ALT tag since most email clients do not show images by default.

7. Use social media as the medium to get more email subscribers

Your website is not the only medium to increase your email subscribers. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social network you are using to get more emails.

Don’t be afraid to ask your followers to register on your email list but don’t forget to also explain the benefits from doing so.

8. Don’t overdo it and don’t break your promises

Sending our more emails than promised will not necessarily generate better results.

If you promised to send one email per week then do not start sending more but create a weekly digest instead. You can give them options to change their subscription preferences and get more emails from you but don’t break your initial promises.

9. Send them the info they need to read in the email

Yes, emails are a great way to get more visitors to your website but when running an email marketing campaign to increase sales, your primary objective is to generate more conversions and not more visits.

For example, let’s assume that you are selling online SEO courses and you run an email marketing campaign using the targeted list from your blog.

In the email, make sure that the recipient can read everything they need about the course within the email content. They should only need to visit your website to make a purchase.

10. Most emails are read on mobile

It’s no surprise that:

  • 46% of emails are read over mobile devices and this is expected to rise to more than 50% by the end of 2019!

  • 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email

The above statistics show two important things. First, is that your emails should be mobile friendly and second that you need to have a mobile strategy.

So, before finalizing your next email marketing campaign, make sure that it is tested against all major mobile devices (you can use mobile emulators to see how the email looks on different devices).

Final Words

More and more people are reading emails on the go. That’s one of the biggest reasons why businesses need to invest in email marketing and a reliable service that gets the job done.

Check the prices and features of email marketing service providers. Choose the most convenient without compromising reliability, security, and single-use, regardless of whether your business needs are large or small and the industry.

Don't forget to put these best email marketing practices into place once you pick an email service that works for you. Better yet, here are some free email marketing tools to help you spread your business and brand message.

Happy e-mailing!

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