Utilizing an email marketing plan for your small business is important for just about every type of business category. The email list that you develop becomes a valuable asset that you own.
Why is it important to have an email marketing plan?
First and foremost, social media providers own their platforms and everything on it. Don’t rely on only social as your only outlet for promoting your business. It makes you very vulnerable. If they change the criteria for what they show or if they don’t like what you are sharing, then you won’t be shown to your followers… even worse you could be banned or blacklisted. (This is also true for search engines.)
Many of us have watched our Facebook business page impressions drop over the last 5+ years. It gets harder and harder to be seen. One reason this is true is they have changed the criteria for what gets show (aka the algorithm). The other reason is that it is more crowded making it hard to stand out. This is true on all social media flatforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Another reason why you should include email marketing in your business plan is that it gives you the opportunity to provide deeper connections. It gives you a chance to build report and create a tighter bond with your followers. The smaller your business and the more people oriented your business is, the more important creating connection is.
Alright, so you know why, now let’s talk about the how.
First, I will share the different types of email messages you can send. There are 5 types.
1 – Single story
This is a general message that doesn’t sell anything. You pick a topic and you talk about it. You are giving them valuable content.
2 – Multiple story
This type of email message is when you talk about different areas or have multiple bits of content. Many larger organizations will do this. For longer pieces of content, you would include a piece of it in the newsletter allowing for the reader to “click through” to somewhere on the internet to read the rest. This is great for blog posts. Ie “click here to read the rest.”
3 – Pure sales
These messages should not be sent all the time. It includes sale notifications. Ie This weekend get 25% off x.
4 – Hybrid
This type of email is about 75% giving and 25% sales. You would have your article and then on the side or down below you would mention what is for sale.
5 – Curated
You might not be too familiar with curated email messages. A few people I follow have tried this method. They will share trusted stuff from around the web or for people they follow. Sometimes the content is for things they get affiliate sales commission and other times it is just for cool/interesting things they want to share.
Mapping out your email marketing plan
One of the first decisions you need to make is the frequency of your messaging. If you are new to marketing your business via email, I recommend starting with once or twice a month at first. Then you can judge response levels and determine if you should increase it to once per week.
2-Special events/awareness days
I have one client I do this for. We create 1-2 multiple story messages a month and will add in at least one special day email (last month it was a Happy Valentine’s Day message).
3-Braindump/ongoing content list
A great habit to start is anytime you have a great idea for an upcoming topic, to write it down on a list. I have a spreadsheet with lots of ideas on it. If I receive an email from someone that resonates with me and I know would be good for my audience, I’ll copy the email details (gmail will let you copy a link to the message and include it in my notes). You could also create a folder in your email or a folder on your computer.
4-Content type & format
There are different content types. Don’t limit it to just the written word. One person I receive messages from will create a weekly video. He keeps them between 10-15 minutes long. He writes a short message and includes an image of the video (see example) which clicks through to where it lives online. You can do the same with audio recordings. These are the most popular types of content: written, recipe, video, tutorials, photos, memes, and audio/podcasts.
One great way to save some time is to repurpose existing content. For example, if you already post to your blog, you can use excerpts in a message. If you have social media posts, you can reuse those images and some of the content.
In planning for your future marketing, you can create one piece of content and use it multiple ways. One new person I follow said she created one quality blog post and created over 20 different social media posts from it. She created 20 different variations to share over time.
What to include in every email message:
1 – Contact information
This includes your phone number, website address, and links to your social profiles.
2 – Most wanted response
If you could only have them do one thing after reading your message, what should that be? Make that one thing CRYSTAL CLEAR. Do you want them to call you, reply to the message, go to your website? Make it clear and easy.
3 – Branding elements
Be sure to use your branding (logo, fonts, colors, etc) in your message. Use the same fonts you use for everything else and the same color scheme.
4 – Respond to your customers
If one asks for something, perhaps it might help others as well – ie recipes if you sell food, how tos if you have questions. If these are long, then create a blog post and share the beginning in your email and let them click through to read the rest. (These are great for social posts too.)
5 – Tie into your promotions
Did you create a promotional calendar for the year? [click here to get yours] Sharing your promotional events is an easy topic for you to communicate to your followers. Try to incorporate easy to share images so they can help promote you!
Promote and entice signups:
So how do you get folks on your email list? First, you want to make it easy for them to sign up. Include it in your social media links and on your website. You can use a popup box and/or include the signup form in different static areas on your website.
You also should include an enticement. We call those gifts a “lead magnet.” These free items can be a variety of things such as a percentage off their next order, a pdf guide or document, video, training, etc.
Getting your process started:
First, decide on what type of newsletter messaging you’d like to send and the frequency. Next, mark your calendar when to complete the development of your messages. Then you should decide your publish date. When might it be best for them to receive your message (week day or weekend; morning, afternoon or evening). And lastly, get help if you need it [I’m here if you need me].
I recommended Mailchimp as your service provider. There are many benefits to using them. Their service is free for small lists. They have great training modules. And they have wonderful tools so you can easily do things like link to your products for sale on your website or send follow up emails.
These are my recommendations on how to create an email marketing plan for your small business. If you need help, reach out as I am just a message away.