From bulk print mailings to email updates, the newsletter has long been a chief tactic for generating leads and getting them in the sales funnel. Email marketing for small business has experienced many changes over the years, and yet, use of the email newsletter has endured. This easy marketing approach has remained a go-to option for good reason — it’s effective.

If you aren’t already using an email newsletter to enhance your small business marketing efforts, it’s time to get started. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to building a more loyal customer base and pulling nurtured leads into your sales pipeline.

Craft Relevant, Meaningful Content

Many businesses make the mistake of using newsletters solely as a means of broadcasting company developments. Most recipients have no interest in reading these stories, and as a result, the unsubscribe option is chosen almost immediately. The occasional company update is perfectly fine, but the average subscriber would much rather read something relevant to his or her own life or business.

Instead of sending a weekly bulletin, focus on meaningful content that will add some value to your readers’ day. Ideally, the majority of your content will be educational, with promotional language taking a backseat. These proportions can be skewed on occasion when your company has groundbreaking news to report, but in general, the less sales language, the better. Instead of directly telling people about your expertise and industry authority, show them through meaningful content.

Create an Effective Call-to-Action

Promotional content should be kept to a minimum in your email newsletters, but if there’s one place you’re definitely encouraged to promote your company and its services, it’s the call-to-action. A good call-to-action can be the difference between a cold lead and a hot prospect, so take time to craft something short and snappy — and a message that will generate an immediate response. One effective call-to-action is far more valuable than several scattered throughout, so aim to streamline your content in a way that ties it all together with a single CTA.

CTA

Personalization

Recipients respond far better to personalized newsletters than they do to form emails obviously sent out en masse. In fact, according to a study from Marketing Land, personalized emails deliver six times the transaction rates of normal emails. Despite this, only 30 percent of brands use personalization in email correspondence.

Personalization should go beyond simply using the recipient’s name in the introduction to the newsletter. Consider also adding the recipient’s company when possible, or in retail capacities, including a mention of a past purchase. Segmentation can prove useful in this regard, as not every person on your list will respond to every newsletter.

A/B Testing

Concise emails with clever subject lines and snappy CTAs are important, but ultimately, the best way to learn what works for your customer base is to test your newsletters. Use A/B testing to determine when it is most effective to send emails, how recipients respond to various layouts, and what type of content they prefer. Something as simple as the color of your CTA can make a huge difference, but you’ll never know unless you test extensively.

From building brand identity to generating leads, your email newsletters can accomplish great things. Forget the spam and send your audience something useful; the result will be more conversions and fewer newsletters in the junk folder.