Clean up the confetti. Put away the noisemakers. Reconsider your business goals? Everyone has their own routine for the new year, but one thing is for certain: it’s the perfect time to tweak your marketing strategies. As you start thinking about the future, research is key to setting yourself up for success. To help you succeed, we’ve rounded up 19 tried and true tips for small businesses, from small businesses.
Automate your work
1. Keep customers connected with informative product follow-up emails.
To make their customers feel appreciated, Lekker Home creates product follow-up emails that tell shoppers everything they need to know about what they bought, from care instructions to more background about the brand.
2. And use them to retain more customers.
Since creating an automation series, Hrag Kalebjian of Henry's House of Coffee has seen customer retention increase 28%. “Of those emails, 3 are sales-driven, and the rest are informational. My thinking is that once customers know us, it’s easier to make a sale. This is my best-performing automation, and it was so easy to set up, It took me like 4 minutes to start sending it.”
3. Bring people back by combining product recommendations with abandoned cart.
Smudge Ink recommends telling shoppers about similar products when you remind them to come back for what they left behind. They discovered this dynamic duo of automations leads to higher engagement and click-throughs.
4. Use reports to determine more ways automations can keep people engaged.
After recognizing that they were sending emails sporadically, Reach Records studied their reports and identified ways to improve with automations. Now they combine a wide variety of tools—from a welcome series to customer re-engagement—to keep people in the know.
5. Stay true to yourself, even when you automate.
“Automating parts of your business doesn’t have to mean removing the human touch or what’s unique about your brand,” says Paul Jarvis, a designer and writer who teaches people how to use Mailchimp. Instead, he encourages to find ways to scale the voice and tone you’ve worked hard to hone.
Grow your audience
6. Design a good looking landing page to build credibility.
Lauren Hom, founder of Hom Sweet Hom design studio, uses landing pages to keep her brand aesthetic strong. She builds pages with attractive graphics and beautiful designs to promote things like livestreams, events, and products. Those style choices make people more inclined to trust her business.
7. Don’t be afraid to offer incentives.
Daniel Hinds, email marketing manager at Blink, says his growth strategy is simple, “We offer 5% off right away for joining our email list,” Hinds says. “That generates far more emails than I ever would have thought, and it’s a discount that won’t break the bank.”
8. Drive people to your landing page with a Facebook ad, and then welcome those new subscribers.
Kristen Lambert of Third Piece uses Facebook ads to drive traffic to her landing page, which offers a discount to her store for people who sign onto her list. This combination drastically increases signups. Then she makes a positive, lasting impression on those newcomers by sending them an automated welcome series.
9. Pop-up forms + welcome email + follow-up email = brand growth.
Evan and Jackie Streusand of Highway Robery found that the secret to growing their brand involved choosing the right automations. They start with pop-up forms on their website, which offer first-time visitors 10% off if they join their list. Then they send a welcome email with info on their brand and products. Two days later, new subscribers get another follow-up email, which tells even more about the history of their stuff. The result? They gain customers and keep them.
Learn more about your customers
10. Keep your audience on one list and then segment it.
Ann and Sid Mashburn keep all of their contacts on one list, but they segment them based on things like location, interests, preferences, and even shoe size. This allows them to send the right message to the right people.
11. Create segments by adding tags to your contacts.
You can create ready-made segments through data collected by Mailchimp, but you can also build them with information you add. That's what Michael Ripps, co-founder of Jittery Joe’s, does. He creates tags for customers based on exactly how they engage with his coffee company, then he turns those tagged contacts into segments.
12. Use audience demographics to create personalized, targeted content.
Tim Scott of Mitscoots Outfitters uses predicted demographics to look at things like his customers’ age and gender, and then he adjusts his messages accordingly. “Instead of just throwing out a message into the wind, I’m able to see a bit more about the demographic information, and then I can actually apply it to our general marketing efforts or even some of our product design,” he says.
13. Keep your list healthy by sending people the information they’re after.
Mary Chapman, Media and Mail Order Manager at Formaggio Kitchen, sees a huge advantage to segmentation—it keeps people on their list. “I really believe it helps us to prevent unsubscribes, because people aren’t just getting swarmed with emails. We can send out more than we might normally send if they were all just going to the same place—they won’t feel spammed because it’s more targeted.”
14. Invest in the right audience at the right moment.
Not everyone in your audience is a big-ticket shopper, and that’s okay. But Heral Patel, founder of digital agency AnnexCore, recommends that users who have a connected store segment their list based on spending habits and targeting your biggest spenders with your higher dollar campaigns.
Optimize your marketing strategy
15. Run A/B tests to see what your audience likes best.
At Lovepop, they use A/B testing to test subject line copy, what time of day to send the campaign, and whether or not to use an emoji in their text. “It’s not always obvious when something’s going to work in an email,” says co-founder Wombi Rose. “So knowing that you have a statistically robust way to test it is really valuable.”
16. Save your settings to replicate your success.
The people at Alps & Meters have gotten their email campaigns down to a science. They experimented with multiple email formats to see what got the most engagement. They saved the winning format as a template, along with their brand assets and colors, so that they can quickly use it again and again.
17. Delegate tasks on your team with a multi-user account.
“One person might be working on the design, one person the copy, while another person’s working on digging into reports,” says Yellowbird co-founder Erin Link. “The multi-user account feature makes it possible for us to get more things done in a much shorter amount of time.”
18. Use the Mailchimp mobile app to work from anywhere.
You can do a host of tasks from your phone or tablet by using the mobile app, and that makes a big difference to busy entrepreneurs like Lily Collins of The Daily. “I’ve had so many ideas for campaigns that I’ve forgotten because I wasn’t near a computer to send them. On my phone, I can choose a template, add a photo, and send a campaign in 15 minutes.”
19. Manage multiple audiences from the same account.
Did your entrepreneurial spirit lead to owning more than one business? Mailchimp can help with that too. When brick-and-mortar Ink & Dagger Tattoo Shop expanded into e-commerce store Tattoo Smart, marketing manager Brittany Graham says Mailchimp’s vast tools made a world of difference. “Being able to tailor our marketing strategies to reach 2 different audiences, for different business needs, in different geographic areas, all within 1 platform, is incredibly beneficial,” she says.