A: Your business should aim to find a nice mix of promotional content and organic content. Much like a social media marketing strategy, you need to add value to the inbox or feed of your subscribers. If a customer subscribes to your emails, you'll want to send them emails that relate to them. This is where segmentation becomes valuable. Writing in a tone that matches your business's brand is also a best practice. If you stick to your brand identity and send emails that add value to your subscribers, you'll be in good shape.
"It's hard to overestimate how useful a really good list can be—especially when it's been targeted to include the right groups of people," Cates says. People who are interested in only one product or aspect of your business or organization may not always be interested in every part. "Whether you are a pet store that wants to give a coupon to dog owners and not cat owners, or a nonprofit that wants to communicate with previous contributors but not volunteers, having separate lists so that you can tailor your email campaigns is a must," he advises.
Today's consumers want to connect with businesses in a variety of ways, but the sophisticated consumers in your database and on your subscriber list are not willing to tolerate generic email blasts from corporations. Email campaigns must be targeted and relevant to the customer. It all starts with knowing the best email marketing tips and strategies to obtain customer data and how to reach your consumers wherever they are online.
In general, we’ve noticed that cloud-based email marketing software is coming out on top. Smaller and medium-sized companies, in particular, benefit from having no IT maintenance to worry about. Never underestimate the amount of time and money that this costs. For smaller companies, it’s almost impossible to run an email server for newsletters that isn’t blocked by services such as AOL or Gmail at some point.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $3 per month to send out 500 emails per month in Zoho Campaigns to as much as $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts in Pardot. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few also offer money-back guarantees.
We narrowed down our list by eliminating vendors that don't specialize in email marketing campaigns or that don't work with small businesses. Next, we researched each provider by investigating its services. We considered pricing when available. After narrowing the list down to seven, we contacted each company's customer service department and posed as small business owners.