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5 ways to win the battle for the inbox

Guest article written by Edmund Tee, VP of Communications & Customer Success at MightyCall.

Vector email marketing conceptIf you are a small business owner, you may have heard at some point that email marketing is dead.

It isn’t.

Email marketing is very much alive, and the most important thing for small business owners to know is it allows you to build a community that is yours, and yours alone. The trick is making sure that the messages you send get read and acted upon by as many people as possible.

Welcome to the battle for the inbox.

Here’s one way to win it: Create a series of highly useful tips, lessons or even a course that is automatically delivered to new subscribers over a period of time. That’s what some people do to build trust with their community when first starting.

Understand Your Community
It is important that your content is not pushy or salesy. That’s what every one else does. Don’t be every one else.

If you want to engage your community, you need to provide content that is targeted for them. So, talk to them. Ask them questions. Use their answers to create a semi-fictional representation of your best customer. Some people call this building an avatar; others call it a buyer persona.

It is also important to understand how well they know you and your business. For new prospects, take care to develop trust. Otherwise, it’ll be like proposing marriage on a first date – too much, too soon.

Craft the right content
When you know your audience, figuring out the type of messages they would like to receive becomes easier and easier. But be careful not to provide too much, as it might overwhelm them. Instead, think about crafting content that is to the point and that your readers can use or adopt right away.

It starts with a relevant and compelling subject line. And then, content that is highly useful and easy-to-implement. This increases the engagement from your community. It also conditions people to open your mail (rather than delete them) and increases the odds that they will share your messages with their friends.

Be Genuine
The current state of email marketing seems to be centered on stunning images and a slick layout. But here is a thought – why not set yourself apart by being personal and genuine? Use an HTML template that looks like plain text email. Write from the heart.

Be sincere and use a real email address, not one of those “noreply@” or generic “info@” emails. Invite your community to hit the “reply” button to reach out to you and to ask questions. Then make sure you respond to them. You’ll be amazed at how much people like and appreciate these personal touches.

Use a Pro Email Service
If you are still sending your email marketing campaigns manually from your email account, stop! It’s too cumbersome and impossible to automate. And email systems will probably think it is junk mail. Instead, use a professional email service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.

If you have a bit more coin, consider InfusionSoft or GreenRope. These services help you manage your community email list and let you automate your messages. But the greatest value is that they help your email get through spam filters, giving you the best shot of reaching your audience.

Track Your Stats
You can’t improve on what you do not measure. Professional email services let you analyze how well your email is doing by tracking some basic metrics such as:

  • mail delivered
  • mail rejected (also called bounce mail)
  • mail opened
  • number of clicks

By changing the way you write, and even the time your email is sent, you can experiment to find out what works best. There is another set of numbers that you need to analyze – those are the churn numbers that you want to minimize, which comprises unsubscribe rates and number of spam reports.

So there you have it – 5 ways to stand out and to win the battle for the inbox.

Edmund is VP for Communications & Customer Success at MightyCall. When not driving influencer engagement and content marketing, he is a volunteer with the Emergency Services Coordination Agency out of Brier, WA.