Email Marketing and the Small Business: Steps for Growth

emailThere have been countless blog posts, magazine articles and FAQs discussing the best practices for email marketing. Sometimes it can even be difficult to wade through the mountain of information that is available on the topic. There is such a broad spectrum from “beginner” to “expert” when it comes to email marketing that sometimes it can feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end before learning to swim.

This article will take email marketing back to basics, and attempt to answer a few of the most common questions that individuals new to the game often ask. All of these questions have been and still are hotly debated, but these answers seem to have been generally accepted as the best practices for this particular marketing platform. So, let’s take a look.

What time do I send emails?

It has been determined that the best time to send marketing communications is in the early afternoon, immediately following lunch. Why? Well, this lets your emails avoid the standard flood of emails that most employees encounter when they login first thing in the morning.

By strategically sending your communications after lunch, you avoid the deluge of content and your message is less likely to end up on the junk pile. It also helps your emails avoid getting pushed aside at the end of the day as your readers wind down and prepare to leave work.

What days should I send emails?

This answer can vary greatly depending on your target demographic. If your marketing is aimed at businesses, Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to work the best. However, if you’re targeting consumers, then nights and weekends – while your readers aren’t distracted by work – tend to be the best times.

If you choose to send business communications on Tuesdays and Thursdays you may end up competing for your reader’s attention with other businesses. You can try to avoid this by sending on Monday or Wednesday. This is where testing your options and monitoring successes will become very important.

How often should I send emails?

This is an email marketing tight-rope act. You want to stay fresh in the minds of your readers, but you don’t want to risk overloading their inbox and causing them to unsubscribe.

One way to go about this delicate task is to only send relatively infrequent emails to your entire list (say once a month), but send emails to segments of the list on a more frequent basis. Again, testing and trial and error will be your friend when determining frequency.

In the end much of email marketing boils down to testing and trial and error. To truly determine the best practices for your business and your customers you are going to have to test, test, and then test some more. There’s no shame in having an email or even an entire campaign that doesn’t succeed, as long as you learn something from it and improve it for the next time.

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