Would you love to generate $44, just by spending a dollar? Who wouldn’t?! Luckily for small businesses, email marketing typically generates about that great of a return on investment. Do it right, and you could make a lot more money with both new and current customers. Building a 2019 email marketing plan for your small business?

This year, don’t rely solely on the email marketing techniques you’ve used in the past. Best practices for email marketing change over time, just as technology does. To engage today’s consumers, you need to adjust your email marketing techniques.

Curious how to build your 2019 email marketing plan this year? Have a great plan in place, but want to refresh your overall email marketing strategy?

Do more of this (and less of that)…

More Segmenting

Most email marketers, when they first start hitting send on behalf of their businesses, use email to do two things.

  1. They use it for back-and-forth, one-to-one communication.
  2. They send mass email blasts, like offers and promotions, to their entire list of email addresses.

That’s not a bad place to start. But it is a bad place to stay.

If you target the same messages at the same folks all the time, you’re actually targeting no one in particular.

Instead, segment your email list into manageable groups. Organize groups of individuals by traits like:
  • Whether they’re a lead, prospect or customer
  • Favorite product or service
  • Frequency of purchase
  • Amount spent or expected to spent

Once you segment your list appropriately, you can better target these individuals. You’ll lower the amount of unwanted or irrelevant messages you’re sending, and you’ll improve the chances someone who’s actually interested in what you’re offering will see your message and want to act on it. Ultimately, that’ll translate into more bookings, more revenue, and better return on investment when it comes to your email marketing.

Get more email personalization advice here.

Less Creepiness

When it comes to marketing personalization, things are getting a little creepy. Targeting and retargeting via ads, social media, even emails, is getting so specialized that consumers are getting a little freaked out. In fact, 75% of consumers said they find personalized brand experiences “at least somewhat” creepy.

What do I mean by less creepiness in personalization?

Picture this. You’re shopping for a new mattress on your phone. You think you might use one of those new, bed-in-a-box brands. So you do a quick Google search from your mobile device. You view a few of the top sites that show up, but you don’t ultimately buy. (You need to check in with the spouse later, after all.)

Later, you log into Facebook on your laptop. You’re not on your phone anymore, but you start seeing ads from Facebook for every mattress manufacturer you researched earlier. You even see some from competitors.

Feeling a little freaked? That’s marketing personalization, served up to you by marketers, by way of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. And though it can be extremely effective (say, if you’d forgotten to follow up with the spouse on that new mattress), some consumers think it goes too far.

A couple ways to avoid being overly creepy in your own email marketing:
  • Stick to first names. If you include first names in the subject lines or greetings of your emails, keep it to that. Using first and last name can seem overly formal.
  • Don’t ask for too much information. No one likes filling out forms, but email marketers often need them to populate important fields in your email service provider or customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Stick with 3-5 fields in your initial forms or questionnaires if you can.

More Transparency

Hopefully you intend to use segmenting and targeting techniques, as well as some less-than-creepy personalization tactics. If you do, you’ll need to be as transparent as possible about all of it.

First, be open about who you’re targeting. If you’re sending an email to a small list, don’t write the email as though it’s going to everyone. If you have a reason for targeting a specific group of individuals, let them know.

Let’s say you’re targeting a list of individuals who, for example, haven’t booked or bought from you lately. While it may seem counterintuitive to do so, call that out in the subject line or at the top of your email. Doing so will make you seem more relatable and trustworthy.

Even better, CAN-SPAM rules dictate you make it easy to opt in and out of your messages. Do your list a favor, and let them edit their preferences for what they receive. Need help writing a permission pass? Get our top email marketing templates.

Less Formality

Unlike other trends, the optimal format for your emails is changing a little more drastically. Just because you can include eye-catching images, videos, and fancy email templates doesn’t mean you should.

As it turns out, design-heavy emails no longer rule. Whereas high resolution graphics and rich text grew in popularity in prior years, plain text is resurfacing as the popular preference among consumers.

Turns out these simply formatted emails are more effective than their eye-catching, though larger file size, alternatives. How?
  • Higher delivery rates
  • Higher open rates
  • Better engagement (like clicks through to your offers)
Experts say plain-text emails are coming back into style for a couple of reasons.
  1. They look less like promotions, and more like personal messages.
  2. They’re not as distracting or overwhelming as emails with busy graphics.

More Powerful Email Service Provider

For help with email list management, templates and more, you need to choose an email service provider. There are tons of options out there, but Thryv makes it easy to achieve the things most important to your 2019 email marketing plan. Check it out.