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Gary Vela May 11, 2022 1:37:45 PM 13 min read

Email Marketing for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide

Email marketing is a powerful and cost-effective way for small businesses to increase their digital presence, build relations, generate leads, and harness profits. Stats show that, on average, you can expect a whopping $42 for every $1 you invest into email marketing [1]. Furthermore, the medium now sees over 4 billion users, and 49% of consumers say they would like to receive promotional offers from their favorite brands via email. As such, it only makes sense for businesses to stay in communication with their customers through this popular tool.

Many small business owners think that email marketing is not for them and only for more extensive operations. In actuality, such couldn't be further from the truth!

Here we'll go over what exactly email marketing is, why it's beneficial for smaller businesses, and how you can go about creating an optimized email marketing campaign yourself.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is, in short, precisely what it sounds like: marketing conducted via email. However, there's a big difference between the type of email marketing that ends up in spam folders and the kind that builds relationships with customers. Unfortunately, anyone with an email address has probably experienced the former at some point. We've all become all too familiar with the clickbait titles and annoying pop-ups that have given email marketing a bad reputation over the years.

However, professionally executed email marketing is not about pestering customers. Instead, it's a two-way process between a business and a customer, built upon both parties' consent, needs, and actions.

For businesses, email marketing opens up opportunities to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase product awareness
  • Build leads
  • Conduct market research
  • Gain subscribers

For customers, email marketing provides the opportunity to:

  • Receive discounts and offers
  • Stay up to date with their favorite brands
  • Learn more about a business and its products or services
  • Stay informed about a favorite niche or hobby

 

Why Email Marketing Is a Powerful Tool for Small Businesses

Huge Rewards for Minimal Investment

Small businesses often have little in the way of capital to grow with and market themselves. Thankfully, email generally has a fantastic ROI, even with little initial investment. As such, email marketing is an excellent way for smaller businesses to build and retain an online presence.

Builds Relationships and Loyalty

There's always an end goal in mind with any marketing for customers and businesses alike. However, the best kinds of marketing build connections and relationships that are mutually beneficial in the long run. Email is one way to make such connections and keep your brand at the forefront of a customer's mind.

The opening of emails involves a level of engagement and commitment on the customers' part that far exceeds casual scrolling. After all, when customers opt into your emailing list, they're already committed to your brand and your content. It also opens the door to speaking directly to the customer via content that speaks to their personal needs and circumstances.

Creates Value

Good marketing adds value to your business in users' eyes, and email marketing is no different. By curating news and information relevant to your customer, you build trust in your brand by making your business an invaluable resource.

Receive Feedback

Short of face-to-face or over-the-phone contact, email marketing is often the most direct form of communication you can get with your customers. What's more, it's relatively easy to gather and analyze statistics regarding your emails, something that's very difficult to do face to face. These analytics make it easier to measure how your marketing campaigns are going. Furthermore, they simplify the replication of such success and help you avoid recurring failures.

Inspires Action

The personalized nature of email marketing allows you to match the right customers with the proper marketing and incite action on their part. Exciting offers, free trials, persuasive copy, and inspiring design can all move your customer along their sales journey without pestering them with irrelevant ads and marketing campaigns.

4 Steps to Creating an Email Marketing Strategy

You can break the crux of an email marketing strategy into four simple steps:

  • build an email list.
  • choose the software and design.
  • create the content
  • analyze.

Let's now go over these points in a little more detail.

1. Build an Email List

You can hardly do much email marketing without any addresses! The best way to build an email list is to offer signups on your social media accounts and website. However, people are usually cautious about giving their email to anyone. So, remember to provide the customer with an apparent reason they would want to sign up and reassure them that you're not going to spam their addresses.

2. Choose Your Platform, Design, and Software

You don't need to be a pro designer to create stunning-looking emails. Any trusted email marketing platform or software should have the tools to make creating professional-looking emails a doddle. However, make sure your design reflects your brand and always opt for simplicity when in doubt.

3. Create Your Content

There's an almost limitless variety of content you can create for email marketing, so don't be afraid to get creative. That said, you'll want to send new subscribers a welcome email.

After that, there are a few tried and tested methods you might want to consider:

Newsletters: A Monthly or bi-monthly newsletter provides an opportunity for you to update your customers on any news about your company, your products, and your industry. Newsletters are also great to highlight recent achievements, accomplishments, and positive customer reviews.

Reminders: So many near sales are left in abandoned online carts, and a friendly reminder might be just the nudge to induce a customer to follow through with their purchase. Likewise, product retargeting campaigns can persuade customers to reconsider products they've shown an interest in but didn't initially buy.

Special Occasions: This can go both ways, in that you can celebrate milestones in your business, such as anniversaries, as well as customer birthdays and the like. Marking occasions in this way is a fantastic way to make customers feel like they are a part of your brand.

Helpful Content: Informative articles, helpful blog posts, and intriguing listicles help build confidence in your brand. You can provide this content directly through your emails or highlight the best content from your blog.

Product launches and Special Offers: Emails are a great way to get the word out on new products, services, and sales. Just be sure to tailor your emails to what is relevant to each customer.

4. Analyze Performance

Email is unique in the marketing world because it provides a wealth of data and stats regarding performance. However, none of this information is helpful if you forget about your emails once you hit the send button. So, review your data and build your next email campaign accordingly.

7 Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

 

So, now you know why email marketing is so effective and understand how to build an email marketing campaign. Before you get started, though, here are seven tips to help ensure your strategy goes off without a hitch.

1. Make Emails Mobile-friendly

Around half of all users now read emails through their phones, and many others read their emails on tablets. As such, you must ensure your emails are mobile-friendly. Thankfully, there are plenty of phone-friendly templates and software tools you can use to make sure your emails don't become unreadable.

2. Make Your Emails Accessible.

Email accessibility means making your content readily available and easily viewable to those with visual or cognitive impairments.

A few things you can do to make your content accessible include:

  • add descriptions under ALT tags for any images you use
  • add descriptive anchor text to any links
  • avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity
  • use headers, bullet points, and short sentences to keep your content clear, concise, and organized
  • choose fonts and colors wisely to ensure your emails are easy to read

3. Ask Users to Add You to Their Contacts

Email marketing campaigns go to die in junk and trash folders. Asking your customers to add you to their contacts list might add an extra stage to the process. However, it ensures that email service providers know that contacts want to see your emails. As such, your carefully crafted email won't get lost in the shuffle and left unopened.

4. Test Before You Send

Typos, display issues, and all sorts of other problems have a way to sneak into your content. It only takes one botched email to make your brand look unprofessional. So, use whatever software is at your disposal, including grammar checkers, to comb through your emails before you hit send. Once satisfied, send a test to colleagues or your alternative email first to ensure no unexpected issues pop up.

5. Encourage Sign-ups Wherever You Can

Offering email signup at the bottom of your website or social media page is undoubtedly an excellent way to start building an email list. However, there are plenty of other places, both online and offline, where you'll do well to include a signup CTA, including:

 

  • During product checkouts
  • Your contact page
  • At the end of blog posts
  • In-person, via sign up clipboards

6. Quality Over Quantity

You might be buzzing with ideas right now on what you might send to your customers. But, whatever you do, don't bombard them with too much at once. Instead, focus on providing quality over quantity. Generally speaking, one to two emails a month is more than adequate for a small business marketing campaign.

It's important to keep consistency in mind too. After all, it won't do you any good to send six emails one month and then none the next because you are fresh out of ideas.

7. Follow Up on Promises

We mentioned earlier that you need to incentivize users to sign up for your emails. Whether that incentive involves news, updates, exclusive offers, or otherwise, you must follow up and deliver. There's no quicker way to loose subscribers than promising one thing and providing another, so always keep your signup promise in mind.


Email marketing is an excellent strategy that all business owners can implement in their marketing plan. At Web Daytona, our team of marketing and SEO experts can help you through this process to create effective, strategic email marketing campaigns that don’t get thrown into the trash. Contact us today to learn more about our services and get started building your email marketing campaigns!

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Gary Vela

Digital marketer, Entrepreneur, and CEO at Web Daytona, LLC.