18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses

For small businesses, marketing is important but also can feel out of budget.

About one in five small businesses doesn’t use digital marketing, while about one in 10 doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.

But this doesn’t have to be your small business.

About 47 percent of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing per year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make an impact with potential customers and brand yourself online.

The following are 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses that you can try without breaking the bank.

Embrace social media for low-cost marketing

Social media is an excellent way to:

  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Create trusting relationships with your audience
  • Build up your online community
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and/or community

All of these benefits can ultimately help you grow your small business. 

While all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and so on) are free to create business accounts on and use, it’s worthwhile to analyze where your time and focus is best spent.

In other words, consider where your target audience is and what resources you have in your favor. If you’re not ready for a full YouTube video channel yet, for example, start with occasional live videos on your Facebook page to get your feet wet.

See our guide to help you decide where to start on social media.

Remember that once you choose where to start, you can use your social media to:

  • Promote any blog posts that can drive traffic to your website
  • Engage with your audience (such as responding to any direct messages or comments)
  • Request feedback, helping your customers feel heard and cared about
  • And more!

Just be consistent and active on any profiles/pages you’re managing.

Smaller but other low-cost tactics you can embrace specifically on social media include:

  • Tagging people (such as loyal customers) and other brands, which can help grow your organic reach on any platform
  • Using hashtags, which are particularly helpful on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

Create your Google My Business account

If you’re a business with a fixed location that needs to appeal to local customers, a Google My Business account is critical to create and optimize.

It’s essentially a free online listing that helps your business appear on Google Maps, which is the local section of Google Search. You’ll also appear in the right-side knowledge panel for any branded searches, where an internet user is searching for you specifically.

To optimize your profile, be sure to verify your ownership of it first. (This is done through your Google My Business account.) Then, confirm that all contact information is correct. You also can upload photos, post an offer and encourage customers to review your business on Google.

Explore local SEO

Speaking of Google My Business, it’s important to pay extra attention to your local search engine optimization (SEO). Focusing on ways you can rank higher in local search queries in your target area is both low-cost and high-impact if done right.

You can start by:

  • Getting listed in online directories
  • Adding location-based keywords throughout your website and content

See our 11 tips for boosting your local SEO.

Commit to email marketing

While email marketing can be dismissed by some, it’s wise to embrace it. Why? To start, the return on investment is high. See 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Email is a great, inexpensive way to maintain relationships with your existing customers. It also can enable you to build trust with potential customers to the point that they will convert and purchase from your business.

Of course, it all starts with building up your email contact list whether you have a website or not. See our 12 strategies to capture more leads on your website or our six ways you can capture email leads without a website.

Then, once you have contact to send emails to, consider constructing a strong email onboarding sequence. Keep in mind that there are 10 parts in the anatomy of a marketing email that make it successful. Plus, email automation can help you engage with customers and leads at exactly the right times. If you’re considering “cold emailing,” check out our 11 tips to increase your open rate.

To dive deeper into email marketing, check out these eight recommended online courses.

(While not a traditional component of email marketing, keep in mind the opportunity to optimize all employee email signatures. Links that can be used include social media accounts, calendar meeting requests and so on.)

Focus on content marketing

Content marketing is all about attracting website traffic and social media engagement through the valuable content that you create.

While it’s always possible to hire others to create content for you, whatever you can do yourself will save you expenses on your budget.

Starting a blog is a great (and common) way to get the content wheel turning for your brand. Video content also is highly engaging. And repurposing your existing evergreen content is a great way to save on both time and money.

Remember that premium content, such as webinars or ebooks, can also directly help with lead generation.

Of course, the key to success is how you plan and promote your content. See our seven tips to level up your content marketing, and consider using a content calendar to stay organized. And if you are struggling with the creation, check out our guide on beating marketing writer’s block.

Get visual with infographics

Data lends itself to valuable content for your audience. While about 74 percent of marketing content contained a visual element in 2019, infographics specifically can increase website traffic by up to 12 percent.

Of course, hiring a designer to create infographics for you to publish and share can be costly. Fortunately, there are several low-cost and free graphic design tools that you can use to create your own for low-cost marketing.

If you don’t have any of your own data to use in an infographic, there are several open, public sources you can pull from, including:

Just make sure to credit the source of any data you use.

Claim available ad credits for low-cost marketing

Facebook, Google, Yelp and other digital advertising platforms occasionally offer free promo credits to encourage businesses to advertise with them. Whether it’s a discount or a free amount of advertising, it’s important to pay attention to these offers so that you can take advantage.

Read any fine print associated with available offers, and review our guide on the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertising. Plus, check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget so that you can maximize whatever amount of money to do decide to spend (or get the most out of the advertising credits offered).

Apply for relevant business awards

Business awards don’t just happen. Whether it’s in your community or nationwide, there traditionally is an application and/or nomination process.

Either way, it’s worthwhile to engage in the award process because winning an award is low-cost marketing at its core, but you also can include a mention or badge on your website that acts as social proof of your authority and trustworthiness.

Awards can be industry-wise or community “best of.”

See more options to build up your social proof that can help drive sales, plus social proof tools that can help.

Get creative with guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is all about creativity over money. There is no limit to what you can do with guerilla marketing. Whether it’s sidewalk chalk promoting your business around the block from your location or placing stickers all over town simply to catch people’s eye.

It doesn’t take much, money-wise, but the important part is to be as creative as possible to get attention for your brand for this low-cost marketing tactic.

Partner up with other businesses

Just because you own a small business doesn’t mean that you’re alone. There’s strength in numbers.

Partnering with other businesses is about building mutually beneficial relationships, whether it’s for a special event, placing business cards in each other’s locations or something more. This can expose your brand to an entirely new audience and vice versa.

Make sure to research the business you’re considering partnering with, determine how you can best work together and clarify the expectations between the two of you for this form of low-cost marketing.

Encourage employees to be brand ambassadors

Another form of social proof, word-of-mouth advertising is both affordable and effective. Brand ambassadors are individuals who care about your brand and promote it personally to those they know. 

Employees, who have a natural interest in the success of your business, are great candidates for this form of low-cost marketing. An example of a brand ambassador campaign is an invite-only “friends and family” sale that your employees can promote among their social networks.

If you want to go a step further than encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors, consider exploring influencer marketing. You’ll definitely want a plan that can keep overall expenses to a minimum, though.

Set up a referral program for low-cost marketing

Again, word of mouth is powerful. You can support this tactic by setting up a referral program for your existing customers.

About 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if their friends or family recommend it.

Of course, you can decide the parameters of your program, whether it’s a free product, discount or something else to reward customers for referring others to your business. Make sure that your system has a way of tracking and even automating the referral rewards as much as possible.

Host classes or events

While hosting a class or event could easily break your budget, it’s also possible to keep the cost under control. Focus on your expertise and strength (as well as the needs of your target audience), consider whether there is a registration fee or not tied to the class or event and then promote, promote, promote to get the benefits of this low-cost marketing tactic.

Fortunately, you can share the event on social media in a number of different ways, including creating a Facebook event and/or building an entire “countdown” campaign to generate excitement. While low-tech, clear and eye-catching fliers can be effective when placed in areas that are well seen by your target audience.

Start small, and with each class or event, you can pivot and improve each time.

Create a contest or giveaway

Everyone appreciates winning a prize. The important part about hosting any giveaway or content is to determine what is appealing enough as a prize that will draw engagement and attention in this low-cost marketing method.

Your prize doesn’t have to be very expensive, and ideally, it should be a bit of a wash on your budget. Depending on the user, even some branded swag could be enough. Just think through it because every brand is different, and what would appeal to your target audience can vary.

The goal is typically lead generation, brand awareness or both, so think through the type of contest/giveaway that can help you achieve your goal. For example, you could host a business card drawing using a fishbowl in your business or post a social media style contest. It all depends on what works for your brand and resources.

Then, be sure to include relevant terms and conditions for your giveaway that satisfy local legal requirements tied to operating a contest or giveaway in your state or country.

Consider affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is about creating additional revenue streams for your small business, where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

More than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. 

And affiliate marketing is especially low-risk (and a great method of low-cost marketing). Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

Dive deeper with our affiliate marketing tips that can help you get started.

Tout your expertise

Whether you’re speaking at an event, appearing on a panel or guest writing for publications and/or blogs, seeking opportunities to get your name (and the name of your business) out there through appearances elsewhere both in-person and online can expose your brand to new audiences.

You also can answer questions on platforms like Quora, joining HARO or being active on online forums that are relevant to your industry.

Sharing your expertise is a form of low-cost marketing.

See our 10 tips to build your personal brand and grow your business as a result.

Offer free trials, samples or other types of coupons

It might sound counterproductive to give a service or product away, but free trials or samples are a great way to help convert potential customers in this method of low-cost marketing.

It falls into the category of “try before you buy.”

Of course, there also are platforms like Groupon that you can explore as well if it makes sense for your brand. You’re essentially being paid for leads that are then up to you to convert.

Start your own podcast

While an initial investment in equipment might be needed, starting and maintaining your own podcast is more about time than money.

Perhaps you already have an idea of the type of podcast you want to create and are ready to jump in, but beware: It’s estimated that there are at least 1.75 million shows already (and they’re definitely not all delivering on the invested time and resources). 

Learn more about how to start your first podcast.

For more tips overall, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re exploring low-cost marketing methods, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways to market your fitness blog

Whether you’ve already started a fitness blog or are considering it, there’s more to success than just writing and posting.

Blogging itself is definitely a valuable strategy for your fitness business, whether you’re a personal trainer, gym owner or influencer. In fact, about 80 percent of companies that use blogging as a part of their marketing strategy said they acquire customers through their blogging efforts. And about 82 percent of businesses say that blogging is critical to their business success.

But what can you do to ensure the success of your fitness blog (and therefore your business)?

The fitness industry, in general, is full of tons of people and companies offering their take on how to lose weight, live healthier and so on. It’s a noisy arena that you must cut through to find and grow an engaged audience.

First things first

Of course, key considerations to have a quality fitness blog to promote in the first place include:

Understanding your audience

Who are you writing for? What problems or obstacles are they facing? What do they care about?

Determining your niche

A fitness blog that tries to be everything for everyone is going to connect with and engage very few. What is your expertise? If you’re a nutrition expert, for example, what unique angle can you focus on? Meal planning for families? Paleo eating? Something else? Don’t be afraid to get specific. The more uniquely you can leverage your expertise, experience and even personality, the better.

Establishing your target keywords

Once you know the niche you’re pursuing, it’s time to start researching relevant keywords. Don’t get distracted by the most popular keywords. Big websites are already targeting those. Focus on long-tail keywords that might have a lower search volume but also are more easy to rank for. Need help? Check out our list of 11 free keyword research tools.

Committing to a consistent publishing schedule

Inconsistent fitness blogs will struggle to gain traction. Set a schedule that you can stick to. You can make this easier by planning topics ahead of time (i.e. a content calendar). A general rule of thumb is to strive for at least three posts per week, but ultimately, the commitment has to be something you can keep. Feel free to refer to your competition for how often they are posting and use that as a gauge as well.

Quality over quantity

While you should be posting consistently, you also have to be hyper aware of the quality of content you’re offering. In the fitness world specifically, you have to be extra cautious about offering health advice. We recommend that either you’re an expert (with a diploma or certifications) or you focus only on sharing your experiences as they pertain to health and fitness (like how you lost weight, for example). Of course, you can always hire or interview experts as well. With every post, ask yourself: “Am I helping my audience overcome their problem(s)?” The goal is to create content that is as good or better than what’s already available online.

It’s important to take your time on each of the above factors because even the best marketing strategies in the world are only going to take an unengaging, unfocused blog so far. 

The following are six ways that you can market your fitness blog.

Your SEO matters

Great search engine optimization (SEO) will reward your fitness blog with organic website traffic.

There are loosely three types of SEO techniques:

  • Technical SEO, which involves the indexing and crawling settings of your website. It’s about search engines being able to read and index your website properly. Check out our 13 tips to get Google to index your website faster.
  • On-page SEO, which involves making your web pages search-engine friendly. This involves page titles, page descriptions, text formatting, mobile optimization and so on.
  • Off-page SEO, which involves everything that’s happening outside of your website. For example, other sites linking to yours and even social media posts directing users to your fitness blog. Check out our nine tips and tricks to boost your off-page SEO.

Learn more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Just remember that great SEO takes time and consistent effort. There are no worthwhile shortcuts that will serve your fitness blog in the long run.

Promote on social media

This method is likely obvious. Most fitness bloggers share their content on social media platforms.

Where to post

The trick is to optimize your presence on the social media platforms you’re already on, prioritize those existing accounts by where your target audience is (and is engaging with you) and decide if there are any platforms you should be on that you aren’t on yet.

(On the flip side, are you wasting your resources on any given social media platform? For example, Twitter isn’t the best platform for every business.)

We can help you determine the best platform(s) for your fitness blog promotion and goals.

How to post

As far as posting, go beyond the simple sharing of links. Identify opportunities to promote your content with visuals, whether they’re eye-catching photos or designed graphics. Canva is a free tool that can help even the self-declared non-designers design compelling images.

Just as you want to be consistent with publishing your fitness blog, you also want to be consistent (and engaged) on your chosen social media platforms. Remember that social media is a space for conversations, not just broadcasting links.

These 11 social media management tools and seven social media automation opportunities can help.

Consider an app

Creating apps for iOS and Android devices is a great alternative way to get your fitness blog discovered. While there’s definitely competition, you’ll find that it’s not as intense as the intense noise you’ll find on the world wide web.

Be sure to connect with a knowledgeable app developer that can best reflect your needs and branding.

Another bonus of this method is that anyone who downloads your app can be notified when new blogs are published.

Email marketing a must

Creating and publishing consistent content naturally leads to the need for establishing an email newsletter that website visitors can subscribe to.

Email marketing is a powerful tool. Simply refer to these 48 statistics.

Treat every email you send as an opportunity to engage with your subscribers and deliver on the promise of value your newsletter offers.

Here’s a breakdown of the anatomy of an effective marketing email. And if you’re in need of building up your subscriber list, here are 12 strategies that will help you capture email addresses without annoying all your website visitors.

Once you solidify your email marketing rhythm, consider any sale opportunities that can be mixed in. Refer to our 14 best practices for email drip campaigns for inspiration.

Look into trust badges

Because of the noise in the fitness content space, any sort of verification you can obtain to reflect the quality of your content will build trust with website visitors (who will be more likely to return if they trust you).

Regarding health and fitness specifically, consider working with Health On The Net, which is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes transparent and reliable health information online.

While trust badges won’t directly grow your fitness blog traffic, they do boost the perceived value of your website and better establish your authority in the fitness industry.

Find out more about the types of trust badges you can embed on your site

Explore what the competition is doing

The best digital marketing strategies are constantly evolving, and the fitness industry changes at an equally fast rate.

Take the time to follow your competition and other thought leaders in the fitness industry. 

How are they promoting themselves and their content? What appears to be working for them? What doesn’t seem to be working? In addition, take note of:

  • Top-ranking websites on Google in your niche
  • The type of content the top sites publish
  • How often new content is published
  • The average length of blog posts
  • What they share on social media (and how they share it)
  • Any multimedia assets used (video, images, etc.) 

This type of competitive analysis will only help inform you on alternative ideas and tactics that can influence your own fitness blog marketing.

Being engaged in your niche industry is a great way to stay on top of trends and continue to be creative with your own blogging.

To more efficiently conduct your competitive analysis, tools like Buzzsumo and Semrush can help.

In conclusion

While you’re looking to better market your fitness blog, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with MindBody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

14 best practices for email drip campaigns

If your business is not currently employing any email drip campaigns, you’re definitely missing out on some conversion opportunities.

But never fear! It’s not too late to get your first campaign up and running.

Email drip campaigns are a type of time-release email marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip emails are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).

Think about it like a conversation that you’re building upon along the way.

They can be daily reminders, weekly specials, monthly updates, yearly renewal notices or anything in between, depending on your intention and goals. The idea is that while each email in a drip campaign should stand alone, they also should build upon past messages and even set the stage for future messaging. You want to nurture the customer along your sales funnel while building trust along the way.

Find out more about sales funnels and how they can benefit your marketing.

The following are 14 best practices for email drip campaigns that can help you connect with your potential customers at the right time and in the right way.

Start with the basics

While it might be tempting to dive in with your first drip campaign right away, resist that urge. It’s incredibly important to take a step back and think about your goals, your audience and their natural interests. Consider:

  • What search terms are driving visitors to your website?
  • Which web pages are most visited on your site?
  • If you have downloadable items on your website, which are the most downloaded?
  • How would you describe your target audience and/or ideal customer? Detail out a persona profile as much as you can with who they are, what they are likely to respond to and so on.

Once you have a better sense of what you’re working with and who you want to engage with, you can begin to segment out your contact database by geography, interests or any other factors that make sense and you have data for.

Then, you can begin brainstorming different angles for various email drip campaigns that you can plan out.

Expand beyond just emails

Yes, we’re talking about email drip campaigns specifically, but it’s important to keep in mind that you can (and often should) incorporate additional assets into your drip campaigns when appropriate. 

For example, such assets include (but are not limited to):

  • SMS text messages
  • Direct mail (like letters, postcards, etc.)
  • Phone calls

This often can come down to the type of contact information you have for your customers and other leads. But exploring a mix of mediums can help you see what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Create all drip messages at one time

It’s important to commit to creating all your email drip campaign messages in one sitting in order to promote consistency for your recipients.

This goes back to the goal of building up your messaging over time with each email you send. Think of each email like a chapter in a book. To be more effective with your “story arc,” focus on creating one campaign all at the same time.

Quality matters

Coherent sentences, grammar and spelling all matter in any brand messaging. When creating your email drip campaigns, be sure to double check for any of those issues. You can even have a colleague review before you have anything go out for real.

Poor quality breaks trust with your potential customers. Make it a priority to build (not break) trust to take the extra time for quality proofing.

The shorter the better

The beauty of a drip campaign is that you naturally don’t have to squeeze a ton of information into any one email. You have the built-in formatting to spread out information throughout the email series.

So, capitalize on that. Short paragraphs, an overall short email and a focused message all increase the likelihood of your audience engaging with your content. Long paragraphs and meandering narratives that don’t get to the point will lose the interest of your email recipients.

Nurturing over selling

You might be eager to sell your products or services, but remember that your leads may not be quite ready to buy.

Think of your drip campaign as a progressive series of messages that help warm up the lead with valuable information and insight as he or she moves through the sales funnel and becomes a bit more ready to purchase.

This is especially helpful when your business involves high-ticket products or complex services.

Guide through any free trials

Free trials are an effective way to get your products and/or services in the hands of your potential customers and show them that value first-hand.

However, you can’t assume that all users will know how to get the most out of that trial, which can alienate them and actually limit who might purchase at the end.

This is where you can step in and act as the guide, with a series of messages highlighting different features and other how-to tips that can help them along. This can include:

  • Clear, concise tips
  • General best practices
  • How-to webinars
  • Online support community invitations
  • Message board opportunities

Just be sure to notify users before their trial ends, and if they don’t convert, follow up with a discount offer soon afterward.

It’s not over after the purchase

Just because you may have made the initial conversion, where your potential customer becomes a customer, that does not mean that you no longer need to nurture him or her.

In fact, we recommend using this opportunity to continue providing helpful information on a regular basis. Think of it this way: A long-term relationship with your customer leads to even more trust, additional purchases and even the possibility of word-of-mouth referrals.

Your ongoing email drip campaigns with existing customers can include:

  • A request for a customer review
  • Upsell and/or cross-sell promotions
  • Various instructional videos to help customers get the most out of their purchase (similar to how you would approach free-trial guidance)

Keep buying cycles in mind

This can definitely depend on your business and what you sell. But the idea here is that there tends to be a natural buying cycle. Cars, appliances and many other products need to be replaced every so often, depending on the product itself.

Keeping your customers (and even the potential customers who “got away”) in the loop about your offers can generate further sales (and conversions), especially as natural buying cycles will regularly come up.

Re-engage with any inactive contacts

Be sure to segment out any leads that do not convert so that you can maintain a nurturing drip campaign to keep those leads warm.

Again, not everyone is ready to buy immediately, but this can help ensure that you’ll be top of mind as soon as they are. Including incentives along the way will help.

Personalization engages

Being able to use an email recipient’s first name in a subject line, for example, creates a personal connection with that person that makes it more likely he or she will open your email.

Personalization in general can level up your brand’s connection with your audience.

Whether it involves the contact information you already have (like a first name) or personalized messaging tailored to the specific audience segment you’re reaching, there’s power in personalization. That power can lead to higher engagement and more conversions.

DailyStory features personalization capabilities and more that can help on this front.

Get creative

The more creative you can get with your email drip campaigns, the more likely your target audience will engage with you.

We recommend looking through your own inbox for inspiration. What types of subject lines compel you to open them? Which emails drive you to click the link within? What stands out?

Additional suggestions include:

  • Jokes
  • Special deals (with a creative twist)
  • Word of the day
  • Series of relevant tips

Just be sure to stay true to your brand and the interests of your audience. If you’re not sure, test your more out-of-the-box ideas on a smaller segment of your audience.

Build up anticipation and excitement

There are plenty of opportunities to generate anticipation and excitement among your audience. Whether you’re launching a new product, relaunching your website, opening a new store location, promoting an upcoming event or something else, use email drip campaigns to hint, announce, educate and remind.

This will pull your customers and potential customers through this attention-generating email drip campaign.

Use automation

Manually managing email drip campaigns can be very time-intensive. Automating your campaigns will both save you time and promote overall consistency.

DailyStory can help with email marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities.

Schedule your free demo with us today.

Level up with these 8 email marketing courses online

The internet isn’t just a place to grow your sales leads, it’s also a place to grow your email marketing skills.

While social media and SEO can dominate any digital marketing conversation overall, email has an undeniable value.

For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. In fact, here are 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

That’s why it’s important to better understand how you can best use the power of email to your advantage. 

The following are eight online courses that you should consider taking. (And check out our breakdown of the anatomy of an effective marketing email.)

Wishpond’s ‘Email Marketing Master Class for Beginners’

There is no shame in being a beginner in anything, and Wishpond’s email marketing class breaks everything down so simply with a published outline you can look over before even signing up.

Estimated to take less than an hour, you can learn the basics in a series of videos, discussions and more. You’ll learn:

  • How to meet your goals
  • What types of emails to use
  • How to create a strategy that works for you and your business

It’s a great course for beginners to help build a solid understanding.

Cost: Free

Estimated duration: Less than 1 hour

‘MailChimp for Ecommerce Email Marketing Master Class’

Are you part of (or leading) an ecommerce business and use MailChimp? You’ll want to consider checking out Udemy’s ecommerce email marketing course that specifically focuses on mastering the MailChimp platform.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Navigate the MailChimp platform
  • Set up A/B split test campaigns
  • Create quality campaigns
  • Build segmented email lists

Of course, if you’re not using MailChimp, you’d likely be better off with a different course.

Cost: $12.99 to $19.99, depending on available sales

Estimated duration: At least 4 hours

‘Email Marketing Essentials: Designing Effective Emails’

Targeting small business owners, freelancers and startup companies, this email marketing course teaches you how to design an email that helps you reach your goals. Although, to be clear, this course does not dive into graphic design or email aesthetics. It focuses on developing an effective email.

You’ll learn:

  • The difference between web design and email design
  • The key considerations for designing and developing emails
  • The best design practices for the most common email types

This is considered to be an intermediate-level course.

Cost: Available through a free trial of Skillshare; then either $99 per year or $19 per month

Estimated duration: 36 minutes

Online Marketing Institute’s ‘Email Campaign Fundamentals’

One of five available email marketing courses from the Online Marketing Institute, this class strives to show the parallel between overall marketing concepts and email marketing specifically. In other words, as the title suggests, you’ll better understand the fundamentals that surround creating an email campaign.

In the course, you’ll learn:

  • The four Ps of marketing
  • How to measure acquisition and retention objectives
  • The steps in the customer journey

Remember, there are four other courses offered by the Online Marketing Institute: “Permission & Legal Compliance,” “Dissecting Email Copy Part 1,” “Dissecting Email Copy Part 2” and “Getting Started with Email Marketing.”

Cost: Available through a 10-day free trial; then either $245 per year or $25 per month

Estimated duration: About 30 minutes

‘Email & Affiliate Marketing Mastermind’

This is another course offered through Udemy but from a whole different angle. The class sells itself as what you need to learn to build, use and remarket to targeted email lists in no more than one day.

In other words, this course is about helping you build an email list and create campaigns, as well as how to make money with email marketing and affiliate marketing. Simply put, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other others’ products.

You’ll specifically learn how to:

  • Build an email list from scratch in no more than a day
  • Use an email list to make money
  • Remarket back to profitable leads
  • Find profitable affiliate marketing products

Cost: $18.99 to $139.99, depending on available sales

Estimated duration: At least 4 hours

ClickMinded’s email marketing course

This class from ClickMinded touts itself as being the most detailed email marketing course you can participate in that openly targets those who “want to learn everything there is to know about email marketing as fast as possible.”

You’ll learn:

  • A comprehensive overview of how email marketing works
  • All the different types of campaigns
  • Email segmentation
  • How to organize campaigns in the most profitable way possible
  • The critical aspects of email design and copy to optimize your ROI
  • The fundamentals of email automation
  • What you should be measuring and tracking

Cost: $997 for the course; $1,997 for a seven-course bundle that covers various digital marketing topics

Estimated duration: Between 3 and 6 hours

‘Lifecycle Email Marketing for Ecommerce’

In eCommerce? While this CXL course is not free, it could still be worth your consideration (and many would say that it is worth it). 

The course is built on learning from active professionals in the field who are teaching you practical techniques that you can then use on your own.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Capture more quality leads and convert them into customers
  • Drive more sales from email while creating less content and sending fewer promotions
  • Advertise more confidently knowing your new customers are being followed up with automatically after each purchase

Cost: Available through a 7-day trial for $1; then either $249 per month, $459 per quarter or $1,299 per year

Estimated duration: About 4 hours

‘Managing Email Marketing Lists and Campaigns’

From LinkedIn Learning, this course helps you better understand how to build and manage your marketing lists to run more effective campaigns.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Select a platform from choices like MailChimp
  • Add contacts to your list, while segmenting and maintaining that list 
  • Write compelling emails and calls to action
  • Reduce bounce rates
  • Test different versions of an email via A/B testing
  • Automate your emails

Cost: Available through a 1-month free trial or $34.99 for the course

Estimated duration: Less than 1 hour and 30 minutes

‘Email Marketing Master Class’ by AWeber Academy

This is an email marketing course designed for those who already have a basic understanding of the topic. The focus is to build a more effective strategy, and there are requirements that they list before you even sign up (such as already having a website and an email platform that you can apply the concepts on).

You’ll learn how to:

  • Plan, create and implement an effective strategy
  • Grow your email audience and get more traffic to your website
  • Write effective emails and what to write in your emails
  • Design emails
  • Test and optimize your emails
  • Create an automated email series
  • Turn email subscribers into customers and create compelling offers

Cost: $139.99

Estimated duration: At least 4 hours and 30 minutes

‘Email Marketing Certification’ by HubSpot Academy

This email marketing course is all about elevating your email marketing strategy, including contact management, segmentation, email deliverability and analyzing your email sends.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Master the fundamentals
  • Apply what you learn with HubSpot’s free email marketing tool

Cost: Free

Estimated duration: More than 3 hours

In need of a digital marketing platform that specializes in automation, personalization and more? Check out our DailyStory features and schedule your free demo today.

12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

Here are 12 tips to think about the next time you’re crafting your next email.

Tip #1: Know your audience

The first rule of any marketing campaign is to know who your audience is. Where do they live? What are their interests? Are they mostly men or women? What age range are they primarily?

Having a general sense of who you’re talking to will keep your subject lines (and overall email content) relevant and engaging. It’s the critical first step because it will drive the topics you highlight and even the voice you use.

Have a broad audience? Be sure to use audience segmentation, which is one of the highlighted features offered by DailyStory. The benefit is that you can tailor your message to different parts of your audience to boost relevancy and, in turn, your open rate. In fact, according to EmailMonday, segmented email campaigns drive 760 percent more revenue than those that aren’t segmented.

Tip #2: Keep it as short and sweet as possible

In essence, novel-length subject line bad, snappy good. The shorter the better.

Think of your audience as skimmers with not enough time on their side. You’ll lose them with anything lengthy, and you’ll want to be concise while also quickly highlighting the benefit to recipients for opening your email.

According to EmailMonday, about 77 percent of email opens happen on mobile devices, so strive to keep your subject lines at fewer than 50 characters. Otherwise, mobile skimmers likely won’t see the entire subject line.

Tip #3: Action verbs are key

It’s the difference between being active or passive. Think of your email subject line as a call to action, not a book report title.

Starting your subject line with a verb inspires activity. Here’s an example: “Tour our new collection” versus “Our new collection.”

Tip #4: Personalization is more powerful than you think

Personalization tags, which are available in DailyStory, give you the ability to say a recipient’s name or location, for example, in your mass email. It’s that element of personalized content that can make an impact on your audience.

You’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to personalization and ways to use it.

Tip #5: Urgency catches more attention

If something is happening for a limited time only, definitely say so. Your audience can be compelled to open simply not to miss out.

But be sure to convey that urgency without using the word “urgent,” for example. Usually, simply stating the deadline is enough.

Tip #6: You can just tell them what’s inside

While a little mystery can go a long way with open rates in the right circumstances, clear transparency should be the name of the game most of the time.

If your recipient is getting an email because they downloaded a deliverable from you, for instance, you’re going to want to tell them that they’ll find it in your email. No need to beat around the bush.

Tip #7: Timing totally matters

Being cognizant of when your email is hitting your audience’s inboxes can be a great way to boost your open rate. For instance, talking about how to start your day first thing in the morning or sharing happy hour specials just before most people get off work.

Use the timing of your email to give that extra reason to open it.

Tip #8: The air of exclusivity

Everyone wants to feel special. Maybe something is a “private invite” or for “most valued customers only.”

Tell your recipients what makes them special in the subject line to give them a reason to open your email.

Tip #9: Use numbers when possible

Just like tweeting on Twitter, numbers and data get more engagement on email subject lines as well. Stay away from vague.

If you can use a number regarding your discount offer, or how many pages there are in your e-book or anything else, that specificity catches attention and boosts interest.

Tip #10: Avoid all caps or too many exclamation points

You can’t force excitement, but you can appear desperate or spammy. “ACT NOW ON THIS LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!!” comes off more like shouting than engaging, relatable or even professional.

Focus on being creative, specific and personable rather than shout at your audience.

Tip #11: Also avoid using both a question mark and an exclamation point

Here’s an example: “Want to save some cash? Act now!”

This combo is actually very commonly filtered out by email filters and can send you to spam, which is exactly where you don’t want to be.

In fact, here are 455 words that typically trigger spam filters to step in, according to Prospect.io.

All that being said, a question alone can be an open-rate booster for email subject lines.

Tip #12: Your preview text also matters

With all this talk about subject lines, it’s important to remember that you also have preview text to use as an opportunity to entice your audience to open your email.

Preview text typically will default to what’s in the body of the email, which can appear sloppy, unless you fill it out with something else. Recipients will see it when they see a preview notification of their email on their phone or in their email, depending. It’s a place where you can add in the details that couldn’t fit into your subject line.

A great rule of thumb, especially when starting out in email marketing, is to have a colleague take a second look at your email subject line (if not your entire email). But also, simply ask yourself if you would open your own email after reading your subject line.

Also, check out the anatomy of an effective marketing email. We also help you dive deeper into your email marketing with our strategies to increase your email open rates.

Still unsure how to improve your email marketing results? We’ve found eight of the best online email marketing courses that can help you beef up your skills.

While you’re analyzing the effectiveness of your email subject lines, consider the strength of your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation capabilities, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.