The stress-free way to email campaigns that work

Relax. It’s no big deal.

When you’re running a small business, it isn’t always easy to jump on the email marketing train. You’ve probably never done it before, and maybe you don’t fancy yourself a marketing expert. You’re already the accountant in charge of approving purchases, the office assistant when the phone is ringing off the hook, and the full-time head honcho. It’s hard enough to manage every facet of your business at once, and now you’re facing the daunting task of becoming the marketer, too?

Yep. But it doesn’t have to feel like one more remind-me-why-I-decided-to-start-my-own-business chore.

After all, you’ve got email. It’s just about the most cost-effective form of marketing; it enables you to communicate with people who’ve expressed interest in hearing from you; and it’s pretty easy to use.

You don’t need to ask your uncle for “seed money” in order to buy and expensive software suite because there are plenty of affordable online email marketing solutions.

And you don’t need a degree in marketing to promote your business and build customer loyalty through email marketing; you follow a few important guidelines (i.e. don’t be a nuisance) and learn as you go. As a bonus, you might even like designing email campaigns to grow your business (at least more than balancing your books).

Here are a few hints and tips to help you improve your email campaigns without the stress of giving yourself another title.

Start with a strong hook

Believe it or not, marketing has a lot to do with the human psyche. When you’re crafting your emails, you have to keep in mind what draws our attention and causes us to actually open one of the thousands of emails we receive. What makes that particular promotional campaign more appealing than others? Sometimes it’s a simple, “I was going to that store anyway and need a coupon,” but most of the time your emails are going to have to work a little harder to capture recipients’ ultra-divided attention.

According to our favorite email marketing partner, Mad Mimi, creating a successful hook boils down to five key principles:

1. Personal Connection. Create a friendly, conversational tone with a personal feel. Mad Mimi notes that emails with personalized subject lines had a 17.36 percent higher click-through rate.

2. Exclusivity. Never miss an opportunity to remind customers that your products or services have a limited shelf life. When they know a promotion is about to end, your customers are more likely to seize the deal.

3. Reciprocity. Give the gift of a freebie. This helps promote customer loyalty and a higher likelihood that they will visit your site.

4. Social Proof. Get active on the social media sites your customers frequent. They’re more likely to invest in your products if they find that other visitors have also “liked” the information and proceeded onward to your website.

5. Reverse Psychology. Whatever you do, DO NOT CLICK HERE! But you want to, right? That’s reverse psychology — your curiosity is egging you to take action despite that fact that (and likely because) you were warned not to. As Mad Mimi’s Macdara Bracken notes:

“This technique may work particularly well with stubborn types. I don’t recommend using it with your active contacts, but try using it in a subject line directed toward subscribers who haven’t opened an email for some time. See if they’ll reconnect so you can remind them why they signed up in the first place!”

Have a point.

You might get so excited about the potential results of your email campaign that you’ll be tempted to cram a single correspondence with can’t-miss information about your business. Well, calm down. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers with knowledge (no matter how valuable it might be). They don’t want to scroll down for five minutes to get to the point.

What is the point? Do you want share information about a new product or service? Build your subscriber list? Collect customer testimonials? Pick one main point to get across in the email. If you’ve already settled on a subject line, make sure it enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the point. In other words, they should align.

Create content that looks and feels good.

Once you’ve got your point, figure out a creative way to convey it via email. If you’re just getting started, choose an email marketing template that’s visually appealing — plenty of whitespace, colors that work for your brand, space for great photos. Now choose the words and images that will best convey your message (with emphasis on your main point). Sprinkle your email copy with trigger words that will invoke the type of feelings you hope to stir up. Write an exciting headline, followed by a bite-sized chunk of descriptive text. Bulleted lists tend to work well. And be sure to include a few eye-catching visual elements, like photos and videos.

Inspire email recipients to act.

A clear and concise call to action should anchor every email campaign. The nature of the human brain and what makes us tick comes into play here, too.You don’t need to be pushy; it’s all about piquing interest in a potential customer benefit so email recipients want to click or call or email to follow through on your promise.

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Use your call to action to let email recipients know what’s in it for them, especially on an emotional level, so they’ll take that next step. MECLABS has found a 13-percent increase in click-throughs with fitting calls to action.

Creating an email campaign that engages customers, piques their curiosity, and drives them to your site doesn’t need to be stressful. Take it bit by bit, consider these tips, and expect to improve as you go. Before you know it you’ll have more loyal, happy customers perusing your business.

Image by: RaquelSLphotography via Compfight cc