Author: Scott Cohen

Small Businesses Email Marketing

Budget-Friendly Email Marketing: A Small Business’ Best Friend

Small business owners and small marketing teams (which we’ll call SMBs from now on) often face similar struggles: limited time and resources as well as the requirement to wear multiple “hats” of responsibility. Given these constraints, SMBs must be prudent with their marketing strategy and budget.

SMBs’ focus should be on maximizing the marketing channels that deliver the most bang for the buck in terms of time spent and dollars earned. The marketing channel that is both ROI-efficient and budget-friendly is email.

Email marketing now accounts for a 20% impact on total revenue, up from 17% one year ago (Source: Email Evolution Conference 2017). And the number of worldwide email users is expected to reach 3.7 billion this year.

Simply put, email is the channel where SMBs’ customers are.

If you’re a small business owner or run a small marketing team (perhaps, just you?) and you haven’t taken a good look at email, here’s why you should add the channel to your marketing mix:

1. Email is an inexpensive channel

Depending on the size of your mailing list and the extent to which you want to use email for customer communication, the email channel is an inexpensive option—especially when compared to your more traditional channels like TV, radio, and PPC. Email list subscribers intentionally signed up for your mailing list as well, meaning they are expecting to receive communications from you. With that permission, email generates more conversions for less money, meaning better ROI.

2. Email builds customer trust

Email enables you to share helpful information directly with your customers. If you deliver the kinds of content they’re looking for, you’ll keep customers engaged with your brand, build trust, and ultimately garner more conversions.

3. Emails reaches customers on any device

Customers are increasingly going mobile—in fact, the percentage of email opens occurring on mobile devices is typically well over 50%. Email makes it easy to reach your customers anywhere they check it—desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

4. Email makes you look professional

It’s imperative that your marketing communications look professional. Well-designed and coded emails help ensure you deliver a good impression in the minds of your subscribers. Continuing a positive brand and user experience in your emails is a great way to keep your business top of mind.

5. Email provides instant feedback

For SMBs, each open and click can make a huge difference. With proper tracking, you can get instant access to engagement metrics (like opens, clicks, even sales) for your email marketing campaigns and understand what’s working and what’s not. You’ll be able to make changes and improvements as you go as well.

6. Email enables referrals which attract new customers

Email is the perfect channel for leveraging word of mouth and earning referrals to your products and/or services. You can incentivize your current, happy customers to bring you new customers by offering the referrer and the referee some sort of discount or other offer.

7. Email helps create credible relationships and nurtures prospective customers

Strong, consistent communication is key to building and nurturing relationships with current and prospective customers. Emails can serve as subtle reminders to maintain engagement with your brand. Triggered emails can be utilized to support actions customers make in regard to your brand, maintaining that engagement and driving recipients toward conversion.

PRO TIP: Share your email newsletter on your social network feeds to reach new people and entice them to join your mailing list.

Takeaways

If you are an SMB seeking business growth, email can create a wealth of opportunities for you without breaking the bank in terms of cost. Professional email marketing advice does come at a price, but ensuring you’re making use of and building a mailing list can be done inexpensively (both in terms of time and money).

An effective email marketing strategy can be the key to hitting it big in your marketplace. Get started now! InboxArmy offers service packages that can help SMBs take their email marketing to next level.

Learn more now >>

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Start Segmenting Your Email Marketing in 4 Easy Steps

Start Segmenting Your Email Marketing in 4 Easy Steps

Think email segmentation is hard? It appears you’re not alone.

Did you know only 35% of marketers employ some form of email marketing segmentation? This stat alone can make segmentation seem daunting. But, look at the flip side:

One simple step into segmentation can put you ahead of your competitors.

So, let’s get you started. Here are four easy steps you can take now to start segmenting and improving your email marketing:

1. Start small

Take 5-10 minutes to figure out a small segmentation rule. You can try out a simple split test on subject lines or a headline in your email copy. Formulate an “if/then” rule and track the metrics. A minor change can mean a lot in the long run.

2. Build up muscle memory

Muscle memory requires patience and practice. Innovation might not yield results overnight but it is definitely worth the wait. Be patient and keep testing until it’s a part of your everyday work.

3. Make a list

Write down the feasible and cost-effective tests that you would like to try. Keep track as you go and record the results. Once you develop the muscle memory, look for ways to put data behind your ongoing and new initiatives and make it look impressive.

4. Build on your progress

Once a simple segmentation has given you a worthwhile result, it’s time to try out something new and reel in even better results.

Looking for more ways to segment?

Download our “Foundations of Segmentation & Targeting” eBook (Part 3 of our Foundations of Email Marketing Series) and get expert insights from Adestra.

Download Ebook Now

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The Foundations of Email - Part 3

The Foundations of Targeting and Segmentation in Email Marketing

77% of email ROI comes from segmented, targeted, or action-triggered email marketing campaigns. While doing segmentation and targeting can be a difficult task, it is definitely worth the effort.

As part of our continuing series on The Foundations of Email Marketing, we’ve partnered with our friends at Adestra to provide you with this eBook filled with proven tips on how to become a more customer-centric email marketer. In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  1. How Even Time-Pressed Newbies Can Start Segmenting
  2. 5 Steps to Better Winback Programs
  3. Determining Relevance Through Control Groups

Grab a copy of this latest eBook now and boost your email conversions with these easy-to-implement email marketing tips.

Download Ebook Now

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The Truth about Fonts in Email Marketing

The Truth about Fonts in Email Marketing

It’s been more than 40 years since the first email message was sent, and the look and feel of an email have come a long way since then. These days, design and fonts play a critical role in getting your email marketing message front and center with your subscribers. And fonts, in particular, are a tricky beast to personalize to your brands.

Fonts are an essential way to reflect your brand personality. Yet, in the digital space, specialized fonts require that recipients of your message “own” the same font on their device. But with the advent of “web fonts” and “web-safe” fonts, that’s not the case anymore.

Web Fonts vs. Web-Safe Fonts – What’s the Difference?

Like, you are using web-safe fonts in your emails (particularly your personal emails). Fonts like Arial, Verdana, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Courier are deemed “web-safe” or “email-safe” because they are installed by default on just about every computer, device, and operating system there is.

Web-Safe fonts should not be confused with Web fonts. Web fonts are not installed on every operating system and device. That said, oftentimes, you’ll find Web fonts are embedded into web browsers and downloaded into a user’s browser through rendering and applied to text.

The advantage of web fonts is the increased flexibility and versatility to make your text more attractive and provide more of a brand experience.

Where Can I Find Web Fonts?

Google Fonts is one of the easiest sources to find web fonts. You’re able to download the fonts for free and use them how you like—in Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, etc.

You can also choose from web fonts from paid services like the following:

MyFonts
Commercial
FontSpring
Typotheque
Process Type Foundry
Production Type
YouWorkForThem
Village
FontShop

You can also use a proprietary font by hosting it on an online hosting platform and linking to it. However, often when including a custom web font, you’ll need to license it. Generally, the costs for licensing web fonts depend on the number of monthly opens.

Adding Web Fonts to Your Email

An important note: Downloading a web font to your computer does not mean it will render properly in your subscribers’ inboxes. You’ll need to add the web font into the code of your email in some form.

There are three primary methods to do so:

1. Use @import

@import may be the easiest method to import web fonts into your email. Just add the below-mentioned code within the head tag of your email, preferably at the top of <style>.

@import url(‘https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=<fontname>’); If using Google fonts

Or

@import url(‘custom url where  the font is hosted’);

You can get the URL from your web font service. For companies hosting the font themselves, the link has to be directed to the address of web font file.

2. Use <link> tag

Similar to @import method, the href value is either determined by the web font service or the address of the hosted server of the font.

<link href=”https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=fontname” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”>

  • <link> tag versus @import

There are two things to consider when choosing between the <link> method and the @import method: Support and Load Time.

The <link> method is supported by AOL Mail, Native Android mail App (not Gmail app), Apple Mail, iOS Mail, Outlook 2000 and Outlook.com App.

The @import method delays the loading of the web font that’s being imported until the HTML in which it’s embedded gets fully loaded. The <link> method loads the resource inline. If your web font file is particularly large, the @import method may be a better bet given that the email gets loaded even if the web font is “on its way.” If the web font is smaller, then the <link> method may be sufficient.

3. @font-face Method

Five file formats are mainly available in the online web font services.

  1. .eot
  2. .woff
  3. .woff2
  4. .svg
  5. .ttf

Emails work the best with .woff format. Using the @font-face method enables you to choose the file format you wish to import.

@font-face{
font-family:'Gill Sans MT';
font-style:normal;
font-weight:400;
src:local('Gill Sans MT-Regular'), url(link) format('woff');
}

Example of Web Fonts in Email

Fortnum & Mason uses at least one web font in their email text:

 

Fortnum & Mason
Courtesy: Really Good Emails

 

Email Web Font Compatibility

Web fonts are compatible in the following email clients:

  1. AOL Mail
  2. Native Android mail App (not Gmail app)
  3. Apple Mail
  4. iOS Mail
  5. Outlook 2000
  6. Outlook.com App

While Outlook 2000 and AOL Mail may not be a big portion of your list, the other 4 email clients are among the top 10 in terms of use according to Litmus.

As you can see, many email clients (and notably some of the bigger one, like Gmail) don’t support web fonts. This is why it’s important to provide a fallback or “default” font for your subscribers who won’t get to enjoy the unique experience.

Choosing the Right Fallback Font

Your fallback font should match as closely as possible to your email design and the web font you chose. For example: If your web font is a serif font, your fallback font should also be a serif font.

To be safe, you should also choose a fallback font that has roughly the same vertical height (or x-height) of your chosen web font. This way, your overall design doesn’t suffer too much from lack of web font support.

To get a clearer idea on web fonts and their fallback fonts, check out CSS Font Stack.

Outlook Issue with Web Fonts

To put it kindly, Outlook is the one email client that does everything… “differently.”

Outlook won’t fallback to a font you choose out of the box. Instead, it will fall back to Times New Roman.

There is a workaround for this problem.

You only need to embed the code given below.

<!--[if mso]>
<style type=”text/css”>
.fallback-text {
font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
}
</style>
<![endif]-->

Use the class fallback-text if you have your web font family as below:

<td class=”fallback-text” style=”font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Arial, sans-serif;”>Open sans font for all!</td>

Remember to TEST

As with everything we recommend when it comes to your email marketing, test your web fonts and fallback fonts. Every email client renders web fonts differently—so test to ensure your creativity doesn’t go unnoticed.

Are Web Fonts Worth It?

Look at your mailing list and see how many subscribers view your emails in an email client supporting web fonts. For example, if your subscriber list is heavy on iPhone use, then using web fonts may be worth the effort. If a predominant portion of your list is on Gmail (which doesn’t support web fonts), then perhaps it isn’t worth the effort.

An Alternative to Web Fonts in Email

Is there a font you REALLY want to use? Put it in an image and provide suitable alt tags and inline styling to format it. Remember this: Make sure you maintain the 80/20 text-to-image ratio while doing so. Images-only emails can create their own issues.

Closing Thoughts

If you find it’s worth exploring, using unique web fonts in emails can be innovative and a great way for your messages to stand out from the crowd. If you need help moving forward with web fonts in your email marketing campaigns, InboxArmy would be more than happy to assist you.

Check our email portfolio HERE.

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5 Evidence-based Email Marketing Tips that Work

5 Evidence-based Email Marketing Tips that Work

Email marketing is part art, part science, and part strategy. Art comes from creativity and an understanding of the balance of design and message delivery. Science comes in with research and leverage of subscriber psychology. And finally, strategy focuses the art and science on conversions and ROI.

InboxArmy is here to help you find that balance between the three with five evidence-based email marketing tips that are sure to work wonders for your email marketing program.

1. Your List (and Good Segmentation) Comes First.

Segmenting your list and pushing more targeted content can boost open and click-through rates for your email campaigns. MailChimp puts forward the evidence for the effectiveness of segmented campaigns.

segmentation- email strategy-MailChimp

With better segmentation, you should see vastly improved subscriber engagement metrics. And engagement should ultimately lead to more email conversions and ROI.

2. Personalize Your Emails

To many e-marketers, segmentation is synonymous with personalization. The truth is personalized emails go well beyond segmentation and “Hello [First Name].”

Using a subscriber’s first name is just the start. You can also personalize your emails by crafting targeted content that factors in subscribers’ demographics, buyer personas, past purchases, and a host of other data points.

Is it worth the effort? You bet. Personalized emails can bring in about 58% of total business revenue. You’ll raise your email marketing standards and get recognized handsomely by your subscribers.

Note: InboxArmy and FreshMail put together an eBook on how you can leverage data in building smarter email marketing programs. Download this eBook now >>

3. Design for Mobile Devices

More than 50% email opens are recorded on mobile devices. If your emails are not coding to render well no matter the device—but particularly on mobile devices — you’re losing subscriber attention (and losing ROI).

Responsive design and code is only the start. You can utilize a “tappable” CTA, short and catchy subject lines, minimalist designs, and even fixed CTAs to make sure your email message and its ultimate purpose are conveyed effectively regardless of device.

Note: Need to overcome rendering challenges? Here are our Top Tips >>

4. Cash In on Triggered Emails

Triggered emails work wonders. Why? Because they’re sent based on actions your subscribers have taken.

In fact, triggered emails achieve 624% higher conversion response for the same number of email sends when compared to “batch and blast” emails. It also garners about 381% higher click rate, and 180% higher post-click conversion rate.

These emails work because of high relevance. They strike the right chord with your subscribers and direct them towards conversion. And the best part? You can automate them.

5. Make Sure Testing is in Your Arsenal

Every brand is different. Every list is different. Incorporate A/B testing to learn what types of messaging work for you.

Whether it’s your from name, subject line, preheader text, email copy, interactive elements, email send time, or CTA, TEST them all.

Remember the email campaigns of Barack Obama that had become the talk of the town back in 2012? A/B testing is what helped them determine what would help them achieve the best results.

Note: Need some ideas for testing? Check out our eBook on the Foundations of Effective Email Creative >>

Ready to kick start your email marketing strategy for your business? Contact us now for a no-obligation call to discuss how InboxArmy can be your reliable partners for your email marketing program.

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