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Every business owner’s dream is a marketing strategy that is highly efficient while still being cost effective. Email marketing is one such strategy that has seen a huge return on investment for businesses. Consider implementing the following strategies to get the most value from your email marketing campaigns.
What is an email list?
An email list is a set of names and email addresses of those who have given you permission to keep them informed about any promotions your business has to offer. This is a customer registering their interest in your brand, and are therefore more likely to be converted into loyal customers.
How can you build an email list?
Offering your customers incentives to join your mailing list is considered one of the most effective ways to grow your email marketing audience. Consider giving your customers discounts off their first orders if they subscribe to your mailing list. This can actually boost your email list while also giving you additional sales. Free shipping, exclusive and early-access deals are all incentives to motivate your customers to subscribe to your mailing list.
Segmenting your emailing list based on some set of demographics can make optimisation easier when you send out content.
Categorisation relies on the type of content you want to deliver through your email marketing strategy.
If you are promoting store-specific information or targeting audiences within a particular area, segmenting customers based on geographic locations might be more useful. Consider demographic-based segmentation if your content is based on age, gender and other similar factors.
Using emails to convert customers
Most emails are opened through mobile devices, so consider optimising your website and your email content for mobile phones. Provide easy, direct ways to access your website through the emails. An important aspect of email marketing is frequency. While overly frequent emails can be annoying to customers, too few can make your email marketing less effective. Consider allowing your customers to select their preferred frequency.
Email marketing performs best when it comes with engaging, personalised content. Frequent emails dominated by promotions and sales can prompt customers to unsubscribe. Consider adding in people-focused content showing new hires and behind the scenes content, or product information like video guides on using your services. It may be more helpful to prioritise valuable content over promotional content, to keep customers engaged and interacting with your brand.
Due to COVID-19, organisations are coming to the realisation that web technology is essential to today’s business-running. Out of the more common types of web technologies, cloud computing has emerged as the most important addition due to its ability to keep businesses running solely online. Cloud computing is a safe and efficient way to store all business resources on the internet and comes with several benefits.
Your company data can be better protected using cloud computing cyber security, as such platforms make use of artificial intelligence technologies to keep your information safe. Using cloud computing services such as strong password protection, service network policies and firewalls will protect your business’ private information and resources more effectively than harddrive-installed protection software. Cloud computing cyber security services are also cost-effective, as rather than paying for spyware protection software for all of your business’ laptops, computers and other devices, one blanketing protection service for your online data is more than enough.
Keeping your business’ information and resources on the cloud will provide employees with the ability to work remotely and away from the traditional in-office style. Especially in the context of the current pandemic, improving your employees’ options to work flexibly and from home will keep employees productive and working despite social distancing restrictions. Providing employees with more work options can also improve employee morale and employee longevity, as working for your business will be convenient and safe for them.
Using digital online platforms such as cloud computing will allow businesses to grow easily and at their own pace. Improving your digital presence to reach a wider audience is easier than physically opening new business locations and expanding physically. Firms which use such technologies can take advantage of the flexibility of online servers and grow or downsize whenever they see fit. In addition, industries such as e-Commerce are becoming more popular so online marketing and operations are sure to be the future of business-running.
Email marketing is becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to reach their customers. However, this means it’s likely that customers are also getting marketing emails from a range of other companies – it’s therefore crucial that your emails are designed to stand out.
Promise value in the subject line
The subject line of your email is often what determines whether a customer will click on the email or ignore it. Don’t just summarise the content of the email, but focus on an aspect that will be valuable or attention-grabbing for the customer. This could mean that the subject line offers a benefit to the reader, offers to solve a problem, or provides relevant information. Promising the reader that the email content contains something of value will increase the chances of them opening it, and delivering the promise of value in the email contents will motivate them to also open your next emails.
Focus on design
Aside from looking pretty, having a well-designed email can also make your content easier to read, get your message across, and encourage actionability. Modern email designs are generally simple with easy to read fonts. Having a consistent colour scheme that reflects the branding of your business can create a cohesive and neat design while promoting brand recognition. It’s also important to make it easy for the reader to contact you or visit your website.
Using images as links to your website allows the reader to easily access your products or services without compromising the design of your email with visible link addresses.
Ensure mobile accessibility
Most emails are designed on a desktop, but this doesn’t mean that they should only be designed for a desktop. Studies have shown that the majority of emails are now viewed on a mobile device, so it is essential that your emails are able to adapt to a mobile user interface. Having overflowing text on a mobile device can discourage the customer from reading all your content, and can make your email look unprofessional.
Many email marketing platforms allow you to use the recipients’ first name in the subject line. This personalisation can increase the chances of drawing the customer’s attention to your email as they naturally gravitate towards the familiarity of their name.
A simple yet often overlooked method of improving your business is to build an engaging website. Many business websites act as a product information dump rather than an avenue to attract clients and reinforce business goals. To ensure you fully utilise your website, here are a few website-building tips you can implement.
Get the basics down
First note that a business website needs to:
- Provide basic information about your business, products and services,
- Answer typical questions and concerns,
- Motivate people to buy or use your products.
To make sure your website is able to fulfil its fundamental duties, there are several must-haves to include:
- Name of company, personalised website domain, tagline hours of operation. Display your business name and website address prominently and on every page you have to ensure potential clients can find through search engines
- What you sell or do. Make it very clear what your business does and provide an accurate description on your products or services.
- Photos and graphics. Graphics are a must-have to make sure your website is visually appealing. Examples of graphics include your logo, photos of your products or place of business, a photo of yourself or key employees. In the case that you’re struggling to obtain original images, consider adding stock images that are for free and public use.
- About Us. Your website needs at least one page with background information on your business and the key people who run your company. This is important to include so that your clients are able to gain a better understanding of your business purposes and goals before supporting you.
- Contact Us. Provide your potential customers with an email address and phone number and link your social media accounts to your website. Also, provide a physical address so customers can visit if necessary.
Recommended features to add
Three features that are also helpful to add to your website include:
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Save yourself some time by answering common inquiries. Also, many people are reluctant to call or email with questions so an FAQ may help clear up some concerns and motivate them to do business with you.
- Testimonials. Do your current customers love you and tell you so? Testimonials and reviews are powerful selling tools and improve your credibility.
- Press and awards. Positive reviews from the media and awards similarly add credibility to your brand and reinforce consumer confidence.
Additional industry tips
eCommerce websites making sales directly from their website can include information about:
- Product details. You’ll need in-depth information about the products you sell online, including photos wherever possible.
- Security practices. Let your customers know that you are keeping their information secure
- Shipping. Indicate how quickly you’ll fill orders, shipping prices and options. Keep your clients updated with delivery information.
- Return policies/guarantees. Make these very clear.
- Customer service hours.
For businesses with a physical location where customers come to you, include:
- Hours you are open.
- Location and directions. You can add a map from an online map service and provide helpful directions for your customers.
- Photo of your place of business or interior.
Improving your SEO ranking is an important step to developing your business’ digital presence and increasing web traffic onto your website and social media pages.
SEO refers to search engine optimisation and improving it allows your business to top search results as the first link to come up, thereby ensuring credibility and attracting more relevant clients. To reliably improve your SEO ranking, here are a few key steps.
Optimise for mobile
Nowadays, clients are browsing the web from their phones so it is important to make sure all your web content is mobile friendly. Mobile optimisation also encourages search engines to link your websites first. To make mobile-friendly web content, consider:
- Minimising loading time for mobile users (usually with slower connection than desktop) – search engines as big as Google are planning on using page speed as a mobile search ranking.
- Organising your website objectives and planning the ideal mobile experience for page visitors.
Increasing your page speed (the rate at which your web pages open from search engines and within your website) improves user experience for potential clients. By making sure your website is up to speed with both mobile and desktop modes, clients will gladly sift through your website and information as it can be done conveniently. To optimise your page speed, you should:
- Be wary of your image file sizes – use a compression tool to reduce file sizes.
- Enable browser caching – so that clients do not have to load web resources again.
- Minify your scripts – get rid of any extra augmentations that are slowing down your website.
Make sure your content is up to par
There is no use in a good SEO ranking if the content on your websites is not high-quality nor attractive enough to retain clients. Not only should your content be conversation-worthy, you should also be regularly releasing new content (such as blogs) and perform regular technical SEO audits to keep up to date with your position in the search rankings. Testing what kind of content bumps you up on search engines will also help you in improving your SEO ranking in the long term.
eCommerce is becoming an effective alternative to traditional face-to-face business operations and may be the change you need to make for your business’ long term growth.
eCommerce refers to the buying and selling of products and services online, either with business to business transactions or business to consumer transactions, and is a tool for small businesses to stay competitive amidst online shopping trends. If you have the ability to catalogue your products and services online and ship them to businesses and consumers, making the switch to eCommerce may be a good investment for the business’ direction in the long term.
To successfully incorporate eCommerce into your business, you must first research the different types of eCommerce to determine which one suits your business best. There are three major classifications to consider:
- Business to Business (B2B): providing products from one business to another (e.g. software, furniture and supply).
- Business to Consumer (B2c): exclusively online retailers.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): consumers trade, buy and sell from each other in exchange for a small commission paid to your business.
After choosing which eCommerce model you’d like your business to adopt, you need to validate your products by performing market research. Establishing your niche and identifying who you are targeting will assist you in building your online marketing presence.
The next important step to incorporating eCommerce into your business is to finalise your eCommerce financial plan. As with any business venture, figure out your break-even point in unit sales and duration in both short term and long term. Decide how you want to invest your money into your transition into eCommerce (e.g. website design, software development, marketing) and project these expenses as well as your revenue. Having a budget to stick to will also help you maintain perspective and keep you grounded if things go wrong.
The last step is to execute your plans with a website. Build a website which is not only functional in selling your products, but also visually representative of your business. In the world of eCommerce, digital presentation is everything as you can no longer approach clients to face to face. Thus, make sure your brand is effectively reflected in your website design and interacts with your clients to reinforce online engagement.
Businesses with employees working remotely must consider digital security measures to protect their business assets and the safety of their employees. Phishing scams are a particularly prominent security issue, especially for employees working with their personal devices and networks that may be insecure. Phishing scams are designed to steal information through mediums such as emails or social media posts, using hackers posing as a legitimate and trustworthy source that asks for your personal details. To protect your staff from these attacks, consider the following measures:
Identification of phishing attacks:
Awareness is a key factor in identifying and avoiding phishing attacks. Some key characteristics of phishing scams to look out for are:
- They are asking you to verify your bank account details and password via a link and website.
- They are asking you to confirm your details for a maintenance upgrade or as part of a security check.
- Their email or text message includes spelling or grammatical errors.
- A bank or financial institution is asking you to verify your bank account details even though you are not a customer.
- They do not include your full name in their email or text message, or have no specific addressee.
Teach staff what to do:
After your employees have identified the phishing attacks, make sure that they:
- Don’t click on any suspicious links sent to them.
- Never give away their personal or business information to sources that aren’t verified.
- Block the sender of phishing emails or text messages to prevent future attacks.
Use antivirus software:
Signing up for antivirus software for your employees’ devices may prove to be a worthwhile investment. Antivirus software can prevent phishing attacks from escalating and becoming damaging. When using antivirus software, it is important to keep up with regular updates to ensure security measures are up to scratch.
To decrease the risks of an employee giving confidential information to phishing scammers, encourage open dialogue between staff about third party emails. If employees double-check email addresses and links amongst each other, it can help them identify what is legitimate or not. Employees can also alert other staff members when they receive a suspicious email asking for business information to spread caution.
Traditionally, it has always been much easier to manage employees and ensure collaborative productivity through onsite and in-office procedures. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak forcing many businesses to continue their operations online business owners and employees are understandably struggling to keep productive and synergised while working individually from home. To help with keeping businesses running ensuring employees are able to work together through the web, here are a few helpful web features to utilise.
Video conferencing/online messaging:
Live video conferencing and messaging through a number of efficient programs and apps available through the internet is a good way to keep your employees accountable to their tasks, keep up to date with any business developments and help employees communicate with each other.
Organising daily video conferences in which all employees are required to participate and contribute will keep workers motivated and aware of any upcoming projects, developments or business activities relevant to them. Scheduled live meetings will also mean employees are required to stay on top of their work even when working from home. Instant messaging apps specific to businesses will also work as a separate space for employees to communicate and collaborate and act as a virtual working space functioning similarly to an office.
Instead of having important files, software and documents saved onto one physical hard drive or computer in an office, having a virtual platform that all employees can access from their accounts on any computer will prove to be a useful web tool when implementing working from home strategies.
Not only is having one virtual space where all important materials are congregated convenient for employees, but it also means employees can easily share documents and even work on the same files at the same time. File sharing platforms provide a more open and collaborative space for employees and assist them in accessing their work when working from home.
Team management platform:
Team management platforms are those which outline and record the progress of any given task and project in a company. Starting from employers adding certain projects, to delegating tasks to employees and having employees upload their work while marking their progress, it is much easier to keep track of company progress remotely through the usage of team management platforms.
While there are many third-party platforms to consider, make sure you take advantage of any free trials first to learn how to best use the platforms and if they are the right fit for your company operations. Otherwise, conduct background research on any team management platforms you find interesting and make sure they include the functions you desire.
With COVID-19 motivating many businesses to have employees work from home, the change may be difficult for some teams, especially if they haven’t worked remotely before. The focus is often on your team’s productivity, communication, equipment and ability, however, cybersecurity is a crucial element that should not be overlooked.
Most home networks are not secure. Employees working from home may unintentionally put business assets at risk when they access work-related files on their personal devices and through personal wifi connections. Employers should inform workers that their personal devices probably don’t have the security systems that workplace devices have in place, such as anti-virus software, secure network connections and automatic online backup systems. They should, therefore, avoid downloading business materials onto their personal devices, hard drives, desktops or their own cloud system.
Here are some measures you can consider to strengthen your cybersecurity:
- Use a virtual private network (VPN).
- Make sure home routers are secured by changing passwords, installing firmware updates, restricting inbound and outbound traffic, using a high level of encryption and switching off WPS.
- Don’t use public wifi, such as libraries or shopping centres.
- Equip employees with up to date security software and manufacturer software updates.
- Setting up multi-factor authentication.
- Prohibit employees from working in public spaces where others can see their screen.
- Use encrypted communications.
- Backup data regularly.
Social media marketing is a powerful way to promote your business and establish a connection with your target market. Your content should closely relate to what you’re trying to sell or provide.
A key to great content is that it must be consistent and regularly updated. This is important because it will keep the business relevant in people’s news feeds.
Content does not have to be completely original work. It can be a combination of new content developed by the business, and content sourced from other platforms. Sharing other relevant social media posts through Retweeting or Reposting content can also be a great way to demonstrate your engagement with the community. However, do not forget to link back to the source that the content was taken from.
Another good idea is to ask questions or share a quote or tip. This will entice the audience to respond, share and join in the conversation.
Good content should be interesting, informative and engaging. It is a good idea to steer clear of technical jargon as the majority of people may not be able to understand. Remember who the target audience is and use language that will appeal to them.
While short text is the easiest content to produce, utilising visual elements such as images and videos can be an effective way of capturing an audience’s attention and are also able to deliver more information. It is also an opportunity to create links across social media sites that allow customers to click through to the website, or share videos and pictures onto their own news feeds.