Is email marketing effective? As a small business owner, you might ask yourself that very question about email marketing.
You’ve read countless stats and case studies that have supported the enormous growth companies can experience with email marketing, but you have yet to taste much if any of that success yourself.
That may have less to do with the benefits of email marketing and more to do with your current marketing techniques.
Instead of figuring it out by trial and error, we’ve found 15 email marketing growth hacks you can use today.
Like most hacks, these email marketing ones are convenient and intended to drive results.
Whether you need a higher email open rate, click-through rate, or more conversions, we encourage you to try the email marketing hacks on this list.
You won’t regret it!
Table of Contents
What Are Email Marketing Growth Hacks?
Email marketing growth hacks are cost-effective, innovative, and out-of-the-box strategies used to maximize the effectiveness and ROI of email marketing campaigns. SMBs and startups often use email marketing hacks while operating on a budget to achieve significant results.
Why Do We Need Email Marketing Growth Hacks?
Email marketing hacks are indispensable for various reasons.
Firstly, small businesses, startups, and even enterprises with limited budgets can compete with larger competitors.
Secondly, most email marketing hacks help businesses utilize their time, money, and resources wisely. These email hacks help businesses streamline digital marketing processes, including email campaigns, segmentation, and conversions.
Finally, email marketing hacks can act as a solution to the ever-changing, ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.
15 Email Marketing Growth Hacks to Boost Your Small Business
Check out these 15 innovative email marketing hacks with the potential to give a higher ROI on your email marketing campaigns:
- Use email automation
- Cut the dead weight
- Use social media
- Take the time to get your subject line right
- Mobile optimization
- Give ’em something free (or discounted)
- Tell a story
- Be funny
- Send marketing emails often
- Don’t forget your email signature
- Rely on social proof
- Test, test, and test your emails some more
- Resend relevant emails
- Keep perfecting the process
1. Use email automation
As a small business owner, you do a lot of duties yourself. You’re probably in the process of hiring a well-rounded staff, but you’re not quite there yet.
This is why email marketing automation can be such an asset to your growing business.
This is one hack that will deliver the biggest results. While you will have to spend money on business email marketing software, it will pay back dividends with time.
It’s also popular for lead targeting and profiling (26%) and dynamic content personalization (23%).
The above chart shows a few ways email marketing automation can help you. You can begin nurturing your growing customer relationships through automated customer onboarding and welcome sequences.
Email marketing automation can also help you personalize your emails, create templates for tailored messages, and send promotional emails automatically.
You have enough to do right now to make sure your company succeeds. Email marketing automation is like another employee.
It does a lot of important jobs for you with little input needed on your part. Who doesn’t want that?
2. Cut the dead weight
We’re sure you’re concerned with building an email list that’s as big as possible, so the thought of cutting anyone off your list is astonishing to you.
To that, we must ask you this. Would you rather have 2,000 people on your email marketing list with 500 engaged or 700 people on your email list with all of them engaged?
Engagement matters more than an arbitrary email subscriber count. That number doesn’t guarantee anything. It doesn’t mean every subscriber will open every email.
It doesn’t promise that the reader will do anything with the email, such as interact with the email content or click links.
It’s much, much more effective to cut the dead weight. Your list may be smaller, but you can ensure the people who receive your emails want to receive them.
That increases the likelihood of them opening and clicking through your messages. Maybe this won’t happen with every last email, but it will with most.
You might say, “But wait! What if these would-be customers come back?” It could happen, but it could also not.
You can put these inactive subscribers on another list if it makes you feel better, but you don’t want them on your main email list. They’re getting in the way of those who want to be on the list.
You can use automation to prune your email subscriber list. Alternatively, you can give inactive users the option to unsubscribe themselves, but they might not be able to open and read your emails.
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3. Use social media
Social media integrates beautifully with email if you know how to do it right. For instance, if you have a solid social media following, you can rely on that following to get more email subscribers.
How? You can entice your audience by offering discounts or freebies on social media that only your email subscribers can use.
You can share parts of your most successful emails on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. This shows people what they’re missing out on by not subscribing to your email list.
You could add an email list subscription button on your Facebook Business Page or Instagram account.
You can also do the opposite. You may have a strong email subscriber list, but your social media accounts are lacking.
You could get more engagement by ending your emails with a request to follow or like your social pages. You can make it easier for your readers to follow you on social media by adding share buttons for each platform you use.
4. Take the time to get your subject line right
Want to know another quick yet effective email marketing growth hack? It’s all about your email subject line. We’re sure you already know how important the subject line is.
It’s your first and sometimes last chance to make a stellar impression on the reader.
Personalization can be effective, as can emojis in some instances. It all depends on the type of company you run and your audience.
According to Constant Contact, here are some elements of great subject lines:
- Interesting statistics
- Little-known facts
- Jokes and puns (as appropriate)
- Commanding (“sign up,” “join us,” “act today,” etc.)
- Short but sweet
5. Optimize for mobile devices
According to Optinmonster, 58% of people start their day by going through their email inboxes.
Still, even before they’ve had their daily coffee, most people would notice a badly formatted email that’s not optimized for mobile.
With over half of people accessing their emails on their smartphones or tablets, if your messages aren’t mobile-optimized, you need to change that like yesterday.
Here is a neat tool that will help you discover whether your website needs improvement.
That said, don’t forget the rest of your audience. More than 50% of people today read their emails on a mobile device.
What about the other roughly 50%? They still check email on their computer, the good, old-fashioned way. Your site has to be optimized for them as well.
6. Give ‘em something free (or discounted)
Freebies are positively irresistible. After all, it’s hard to turn down free stuff, and few people will want to.
A solid coupon or discount is enough to push that reluctant would-be customer into checking out. Just look at this example:
You have to ensure the item you’re discounting is a.) targeted to your audience and b.) something people want.
For instance, if you’re a clothing retailer, you wouldn’t want to discount last season’s stock. Everyone can see right through that. You want to give people something good, just not at full price.
Discounting anything during your first few months as a small business owner can be scary. If you choose a product that resonates with your audience, though, the high engagement should more than makeup for the slightly lower price you’re selling for.
7. Tell a story
Your customers are always keeping busy.
If they open your email, what will incentivize them to read it through to the end? You can’t always be giving things away for free or offering discount codes to get customers to the figurative finish line.
According to Marketing Sherpa, most people spend 20 seconds on your email, so you must hook in your readers quickly.
One of the best ways to do that is to write with storytelling elements. Crafting a story like your favorite novelist can get readers on the edge of their seats.
Even if your content marketing is a little dry (which happens sometimes), spicing it up with storytelling will make your email copy sing.
What kinds of storytelling elements should you incorporate in your emails? All of them! Make real people into “characters” by trumping up their characteristics. Craft success stories. Create valuable content.
Organize events chronologically from beginning to end. Use real anecdotes and expand on them. Be sure to include emotions, as they allow your reader to connect with your “characters.”
Let’s say, for instance, you write about your struggles to become a small business owner.
You can talk about your sadness and disappointment in your ordeals until you finally opened the doors to your own company. Then, you can talk about your feelings of triumph and excitement.
People want to read about real people. If you give your audience something interesting to read, not only will they hang on to your every word, but they will wait with bated breath until your next email!
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8. Be funny
Not every small business has a dramatic coming-of-age story, and that’s okay. If you don’t quite have enough trials and tribulations, you could always try a different tact for email writing.
We’re talking about humor.
Now, humor is not for every kind of company, that’s for sure. You must have to be…well, funny. Otherwise, your emails could come across as brash and even offensive.
Humor isn’t something you can force, either. That means if you don’t think it’s in your company’s cards, it’s probably not in the cards.
If you can harness the power of humor, a few funny stories or relatable anecdotes injected into your emails will get your subscribers reading, and they’ll be chuckling as they do so.
That again increases anticipation for your next email.
9. Send emails often
You might be insecure about your email marketing frequency. After all, you’re a new company and don’t want to turn people off by sending too many emails too often.
Everyone has been bombarded by that one company that doesn’t know when to stop. What do you do when those emails become too much? You unsubscribe or send the emails to the spam filter.
There’s a balance between sending too few and too many emails. Sending too infrequently makes people forget about you. Send emails too frequently, and you’ll lose subscribers.
While there are many stats about when to send your emails, what about how often? eCommerce automation service Omnisend, which targets small businesses, says two to four emails monthly is the sweet spot for effective email marketing.
That’s how many emails more than half of Omnisend’s clients sent. Sending a single email monthly was the second most popular choice at 32%.
Sending more, like five to nine emails, wasn’t very desirable. Only 8% of respondents did that.
Going anywhere over nine monthly emails was too much. Just 2% of respondents said they sent 10 to 19 emails monthly, while 4% said they emailed customers more than 20 times monthly.
In the end, we advise you to do what works for your audience. If they want more emails, then send more emails. If they want fewer, then send fewer.
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In business, your reputation is everything. One way to damage your reputation is by making grammatical and spelling errors.
According to a study done at North Carolina State University and reported on in Salon, when a team of psychologists showed college students typo-laden emails, the results weren’t pretty.
The students “perceived the writer to be less conscientious, intelligent, and trustworthy when the message contained many grammatical errors, compared to the same message without any errors.”
Proofreading errors are unfortunate rookie mistakes, mostly because it’s preventable. If you or someone else on your team takes the time to proofread your emails before they go out, you can catch most mistakes.
There are countless grammar and spell checkers online, and most of them are free.
Your email marketing automation software can’t catch everything. In this regard, a pair of human eyes is your best defense against typos and spelling mistakes.
Here are a few funny examples of typos and email errors. They’re funny because they didn’t happen to you, but they are a poignant reminder to proofread!
11. Don’t forget your email signature
Most people ignore this email hack, not knowing it’s importance.
In all your email marketing efforts, have you stopped to think about the potential power your email signature wields? It’s true.
By including links to your website, you can generate free traffic. Adding your phone number or other contact information could entice a customer to reach out.
Including social buttons can boost your follower counts on your social media profiles.
The best part about email signature marketing? It requires almost no effort on your part at all. Adding links and text to your signature allows you to market without real marketing but still reap awesome benefits.
12. Rely on social proof
How do you get your leads converted to paying customers? You incentivize them with social proof, of course.
Whether you include press mentions, product reviews, awards, usage numbers for your product, or testimonials, these all serve as a major purchase.
They show you’re a valuable company with products/services worth buying. That can encourage even reluctant customers to take action finally.
13. Test, test, and test your emails some more
Do you know what else turns off almost any audience? A poorly-compiled email. Perhaps it’s a dead link. Maybe your video doesn’t show up, or your image is broken.
Regardless, mishaps like these could cost you subscribers.
That’s why, in addition to always proofreading your emails, you must test them before sending them. Automation makes your life as a small business owner easier because it does a lot of dirty work for you.
Use your marketing software to test how the email will look. Account for desktop and mobile readers, even if the latter is much more common.
If an element in your email looks wonky, fix it before you send it out.
Your company’s email competes with hundreds of other emails in the average consumer’s inbox daily. It must look polished, clean, and engaging.
14. Resend relevant emails
Here’s another great growth-hacking tip for you.
Resending relevant resources and marketing materials is a brilliant email marketing strategy that can help improve your email campaign’s effectiveness.
This is because many recipients won’t open or read the first email. Sometimes, people even appreciate when you give them a ‘second chance’ to read the content they missed — especially if you have a fan following.
Resending marketing assets is also useful when your campaigns are time-sensitive or important, like event announcements or limited-time sales.
Remember that the second email must have a different subject line and a slightly modified text, clearly indicating that you are ‘resending’ the content.
15. Keep perfecting the process
This isn’t a super-actionable hack you can use right away, but we thought it was a good note to end this on nonetheless.
Your email marketing process should always be improving and evolving. With a healthy influx of leads coming your way, you can never get lax in your engagement and nurturing methods.
You might add videos to your email and find that works out phenomenally for you. You could change your email frequency.
After your company finds its footing, you might hire an email writer or a graphic designer to spruce up your emails.
Don’t be afraid to go back and change what’s not working. Email marketing isn’t a static thing. There’s always room for improvement, even if you’re nailing it.
If your email marketing is lacking, any of the 15 growth hacks we covered should help you identify how to change that.
We know you have a lot to do running a small business, but it’s worth improving your email marketing. You’ll see more growth and thus more sales.