Email marketers around the country have long stopped caring about the traditional success metrics of this marketing tool. Open and click rates may be nice vanity metrics, but while they work perfectly for convincing your supervisor (or even yourself) that your email campaign worked as planned, they matter little in the grand scheme of things if the email itself does not lead to a conversion from recipient to lead or even customer.

So our next post in the series of email marketing small business best practices will focus on just that: creating content that not only satisfies, but delights and converts your recipients to leads, customers, and, eventually, brand loyalists. Here are the 4 components any conversion-oriented email needs:

1) Consistent Messaging

First, as we’ve covered in previous posts, your content absolutely needs to be consistent all-around. That means your email body should not only match (and exceed – more on that below) expectations raised from the subject line, but also remain consistent in the overall messaging you use throughout your digital marketing.

Especially if you engage in lead nurturing, a single email most likely won’t be the only message your recipients receive from you in a given month or week. If your email is not consistent with these other messages, you might still get the occasional click through. But these clicks will only be to verify information thanks to cognitive dissonance, not due to excitement and a potential conversion.

2) Value Beyond Expectations

To convert recipients, your email should also provide value far beyond expectations. As you probably know, expectations absolutely dictate how satisfied we are with any given expectations. Think about it: a mediocre product you had thought to be terrible will likely leave a better impression on you than a pretty good product you thought was going to be great.

Of course, you should shoot for your email to be nothing but great, which is the point: if you give your audience more than they expected when first seeing the message in their inbox, you greatly increase the chance of recipients not only clicking through, but converting on your website as well. Exclusive sales offers or free coupons, or simply an extraordinarily well-written and personal body copy, can do the trick.

3) Multiple Conversion Opportunities

Expand your definition of conversion: does a reader only convert when they become a lead, or does a new Twitter follower as a result of your email count as well? If the latter is your case, try to expand the conversion opportunities for your recipients beyond your main goal (again, more on that below).

Include opportunities to follow you on social media, link back to other content you’ve offered on your blog or website in the past, or simply ask readers to respond directly to the email with questions. Your focus for the email should remain singular, but you should also give users who are ready to take a next step but quite not the leap you ask for the opportunity to move toward becoming leads or customers in baby steps.

4) The Call to Action

Finally, any conversion-oriented email should have a clear call to action toward which the entire email copy is geared. Ideally, that call to action should appear throughout the body copy, with a clear button at the bottom.

But at the same time, your CTA needs to be one that, once again, adds value to the email in the minds of your audience. Simply asking your audience to “subscribe to our newsletter,” tell them why subscribing is such a good idea. Instead of telling them to “sign up for a webinar,” tell them why the webinar will enhance their understanding of their industry and ultimately the success of their business. By adding value, you ensure your call to action maximizes your potential conversions.

Email marketing is an ideal digital marketing tool for small businesses thanks to its cost-effectiveness and ease of use. But you still have to make sure that your email messages are conversion optimized, which ensures a maximum ROI of your efforts and, ultimately, increased digital marketing success. For more email marketing best practices as they apply to small businesses, contact us today!

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