Small business email marketing guide

Small Business Email Marketing Guide For 2021

Email marketing is often quoted as the most profitable method of digital marketing, with a 4400% return on investment (ROI). The good news is, email marketing is not just for big businesses. Small businesses with limited resources significantly benefit from email marketing too!

About 40% of B2B marketers find that email has the biggest impact on marketing results. 80% of industry experts say that email is considered a critical aspect of consumer retention. When used correctly, email has the ability to offer the highest ROI of any marketing medium. In 2019, email marketing had a return on investment of $52 for every dollar invested. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Email is now the preferred marketing medium for 73% of users.

Email allows us to do business with people on the other side of the globe within a matter of seconds. With more than 3.9 billion email addresses globally, email has a tremendous capacity for companies to reach out to new markets. When used correctly, email may help small businesses and their clients form long-term, profitable relationships.

In this blog we’re going to walk you through how to create your own email marketing plan for your small business. Are you ready to reap the benefits of small business email marketing? Keep reading!

What is email marketing?

What is email marketingEmail marketing is the process of delivering marketing messages by email to potential and existing customers. The usual goal of email marketing is to sell, educate, or encourage brand loyalty.

Email is a type of digital marketing in which the sender has complete control over the content and delivery of the message. It’s better for sending personalized, meaningful messages to segmented lists of people. Email is a critical tool for all types of businesses. Big, small, B2Bs, and ecommerce businesses use email to deliver transactional, marketing, and lifecycle messages.

Why is email marketing for small businesses important?

Importance of email marketing for small businesses

Opening an email takes more effort than clicking through a social media ad. Anyone who opens an email is quickly invested and engaged with the content.

You’ll be able to engage with someone on a much more intimate and individual level once you’ve earned a place in their inbox. The strongest email marketing campaigns take advantage of the fact that email uses one-on-one contact.

There is a lot to gain from a well-crafted email marketing campaign. There’s no limit on the kind of content you can give your subscribers. This opens up a plethora of marketing, customer expansion, relationship building, and customer retention possibilities.

Below are some ways to use email to help your business grow.

Send welcoming emails to new subscribers

A welcome email is the most valuable email a business can send. It’s the first email or sequence of emails that a new subscriber receives. Welcome emails are among the most effective campaigns, with the highest open rates for brands.

Use email newsletters to keep people informed

These routine emails give you the chance to share your company’s products and news. It’s also a perfect way to share your most recent consumer testimonials, research, or insightful discoveries with your audience.

Special deals can be used to encourage purchases

Email marketing is a quick and easy way to share a new offer, especially when you’re launching a sale or a special promotion. You may also use behavioral targeting to personalize emails. You’re able to send an email to a specific person when a product they like is on sale. You can also give special offers to your most faithful customers to thank them for their loyalty.

Remind people to take action

There are times when an online shopper adds an item to their cart but does not complete the transaction. An automatic email is then sent out to remind them to come back to the site and complete the transaction. Retargeting emails for products operate in a similar way.

Connect with your subscribers

Many brands already send invitations to their customers to commemorate special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones. Tailored content shows you’re actively trying to make your clients and subscribers feel special and cared for.

Benefits of small business email marketing

benefits of small business email marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective way for small businesses to communicate with their clients, expand their client base, and improve their reputation. The best part is that running an email campaign is much simpler than most people think.

Builds long-term customer relationships

Customers appreciate when you show that you care for them. They want to see what’s going on in your business right now.

It’s obvious that contacting any of the clients by phone is virtually impossible. Not to mention the fact that such a mission would take a long time.

The easiest way to quickly reach out to your customers with an update is by email.

Regular newsletters will cover a variety of subjects, including the next product update, upcoming events, and company news. If a client has agreed to accept emails from you, don’t be afraid to deliver them.

Develop your own distinct brand

Regular updates enable you to develop a distinct voice, style, and image for your subscribers.

What do you want your business to be known for? Make a brand guide and adhere to it for every email you deliver. Each email is an opportunity to not only engage with your subscribers, but to further reinforce your distinct brand name in their minds.

Consider some of the world’s most well known brands. These brand names have become so familiar that they’ve become synonymous with their respective industries.

Establishes your authority

When it comes to your line of business, you’re probably seen as an expert. And you can continue to position yourself as an expert through great content. Using valuable content in your emails is a good way to reinforce your credibility in the eyes of customers.

There’s no need to limit email marketing to the distribution of coupons and sales content. You may use email marketing to offer original content that your subscribers can enjoy. Add blogs or videos to your email campaigns in addition to emails designed to drive traffic to your company.

Adding blogs or videos to your email campaign increases the value of each email you send.

This not only enhances your credibility as an expert, but it also enhances the credibility of your business communications. People will look forward to receiving emails from you because they know you consistently deliver high-quality material.

Email marketing saves you time and money

It’s fairly quick and simple to create a professional email marketing campaign. You have direct access to new clients’ email inboxes without having to register for direct mail, making email marketing extremely time and cost effective.

Builds brand credibility

Building trust is one of the most difficult obstacles for a small business to conquer, as customers tend to trust big names and well-known brands.

The reason people trust well-known brands is primarily due to marketing. People gravitate towards familiarity.

However, you can establish your reputation and build familiarity through email marketing. All you have to do is to keep in touch with your customers and keep them regularly informed.

Types of Small Business Email Marketing Campaigns

Small business email marketing types of emails

Sending meaningless or unwanted emails to the wrong people at the wrong time is a surefire way to waste email as a marketing tool. This list can assist you in making informed decisions about which email types you should send.

Welcome emails

Welcome email

Prospects are usually unprepared to do business when they first meet with you. A study shows that 25% of leads are able to purchase right away. Meanwhile, the other 50% are qualified but not ready to buy yet. Nurturing is important for moving your leads closer to the purchasing stage.

In fact, you will get a higher open and click-through rate when you add a personal touch to your welcome emails. The trick is to introduce your company without going overboard on the sales pitch. You should only introduce a new product or service after you’ve established a relationship with your customers. Simply focus on making a positive first impression that demonstrates your business experience and skills. This opens the door for more potential interaction.

Newsletters

Newsletter

Businesses often keep their customers informed through email updates. Most industrial companies use email newsletters as the cornerstone of their email marketing strategy. Email newsletters are an effective platform for informing clients and prospects about your company.

Before we get into the details of creating an email newsletter, start by figuring out what you want to accomplish. You may want to cultivate your existing contacts. Or you may want to become the first brand that comes to mind regarding a specific product or service. Alternatively, you may aim to maximize sharing in order to draw new subscribers to your mailing list. Once you determine your objective, consider what metrics you’ll need to track.

Newsletters are useful not only for attracting new customers, but also for keeping loyal ones informed. You can use newsletters as an opportunity to inform your loyal customers about news and activities, product announcements, and feedback requests.

Have goals in mind as you focus on the newsletter layout and content. It’s important to prioritize the design and placement of calls-to-action to help you accomplishing those goals.

Stand-alone emails

Stand alone email

Stand-alone emails, also known as dedicated emails, are emails that provide information regarding a single offer.

Dedicated emails set the stage for the key call to action. This makes them similar to landing pages. Stand-alone emails are often used to reach out to your entire email database. Keep in mind this technique isn’t always successful in terms of sales and reducing unsubscribes.

There will be times when you have to notify your entire list of subscribers, like when you have a new product or a national emergency. However, it’s still usually best to segment stand-alone emails based on your subscribers’ individual habits and interests.

Lead Nurturing Emails

Lead nurturing email

Lead nurturing is an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on identifying the dynamics of the leads’ timing and needs. It’s critical to describe your buyer personas to successfully reach your target demographic. Otherwise, the emails will go unread or will be deleted.

Lead nurturing is a series of emails that are relevant to one another. They have a common goal and are packed with valuable information. In the right context, lead nurturing provides more benefits than a single email blast.

Be sure to send out various kinds of promotional nurturing emails. However, you must also cater to where your customers are at in the marketing funnel. In other words, send relevant content to your prospects at the right time in their buying process. The end goal is to pass your prospective buyers down the sales funnel and turn them into regular buyers. You’ll need to determine a strategy to guide your customers through the sales cycle.

Promotional emails

promotional emails

Promotional emails can be used to accomplish a variety of things, but are essentially intended to increase awareness of a particular offer or promotion.

Promotional emails may contain marketing materials, blog posts, webinars, eBooks, company news, or special service offers. Note that you can use an automated system to deliver these emails to save time and money.

Broadcast emails are sent to all of your subscribers or, most generally, a subset of your list. A product launch, newsletters, a time-sensitive coupon, or seasonal discounts are all examples of broadcast emails.

Sponsorship Emails

sponsorship emails

The marketing emails we’ve spoken about so far are based on delivering messages to your own email list. Alternatively, you can send sponsorship emails with display ads. This allows you to target a new audience and generate fresh leads. In most cases, a sponsorship means paying for the copy to be used in another seller’s newsletter or dedicated send.

Pay-per-click (PPC), display ads, mobile advertising, affiliate advertising, and other paid marketing strategies include sponsorship email promotions.

Be precise when it comes to the target demographic you wish to attract. In the world of paid advertising, this will pay off!

Transactional Emails

Transaction email

Transactional emails are more pragmatic in nature. They transmit key details to particular consumers, which are delivered during checkout and other shopping activities. These messages are prompted by a particular action taken by one of your contacts. Examples include:

  • Order confirmation and email receipts
  • Shipment confirmations and order-shipped emails
  • Check in emails

Transactional emails include all the updates you get from online stores that validate your order. They usually include shipping numbers, and other information about your recent purchase.

According to a 2016 IBM survey, transactional emails have a mean unique open rate of 47.1%. This is almost twice that of non-transactional emails (21.6 percent). The gap between transactional and non-transactional emails is much broader. Transactional emails have an average click-through rate of 8.8%. While non-transactional emails only have an average of 3.3%.

Why is there such a big difference? Transactional emails are anticipated and sought for by customers. You shouldn’t compromise with the quality of transactional emails since they have such a high level of engagement.

Re-Engagement Emails

re engagement emails

The best time to send a re-engagement email is when your analytics tool reveals that a part of your subscribed client list has been inactive for some time. Asking for feedback is a great way to reintroduce your company to your clients. It also educates your subscribers about your company. In addition, you have something to gain from this, as you will receive new information to help you improve processes and marketing strategies.

That being said, there is a silver lining to losing subscribers. When people unsubscribe, your email retention rates will rise overall and your email credibility with internet service providers will improve.

Brand Story Emails

Storytelling can be an effective medium for communicating your message with consumers and prospects by leveraging emotional responses. Therefore, consider the following: is your brand connected to a personal story?

Every company has a unique story to share. Starting with your unique selling proposition is a fine place to start.

Review Request Emails

Review Request email

According to Pew Research and Merit, millennials make up the biggest generation in the US population, accounting for 73% of all buying decisions. These consumers don’t make a purchasing decision until they’re 70% of the way into the process. This is before engaging with a seller. These shoppers also use review platforms to evaluate businesses based on what previous consumers have said. Requesting reviews of your company will improve your search engine rankings.

Requesting feedback from your best and most satisfied consumers is the way to go. You can motivate customers to leave a review by offering a reward. If you have the budget, offer them a chance to win a voucher or a discount in exchange for their review.

Lifecycle emails

lifecycle email

Lifecycle emails are effective because they’re personalized. Plus, they only send specific notifications to a select subset of subscribers depending on subscribers’ actions.

Cart abandonment emails, welcome emails, second-order emails, and win-back campaigns are only a few of the successful lifecycle or triggered emails that everyone recognizes. These emails can have a large effect on customer engagement and satisfaction.

How to track small business email marketing performance

how to track small business email marketing performance

Each email marketing campaign is unique, particularly if you have different targets for each one. You might need to track different metrics to check your progress for each goal. Here are some of the basic email marketing metrics you should be aware of are:

List size & growth rate

The list growth rate is a metric that measures how quickly your list is growing.

Take the total number of new subscribers minus the total number of unsubscribes, divide it by the total number of email addresses on your list, and multiply it by 100.

You can also use the email service provider to see how many new users you’ve added weekly or monthly. You can also base it between your most recent broadcast addresses.

It’s normal to have some turnover, so work on ways to expand your list.

Open and click-through rates

An open rate is a percentage that indicates how many recipients actually accessed successfully delivered emails in your campaign. A typical open rate ranges from 20% to 30%. When you’re first starting out, you’ll find your open rate is usually higher. An interesting subject line helps improve the open rate percentage.

You can learn how to write better subject lines here.

Another common measure for determining campaign success is your click through rate. CTR is a metric that calculates how many users clicked on the email links. For example, if you provided a link to your website the CTR would indicate how many subscribers actually clicked on it.

There are a few ways to maximize click-through rates when writing an email. Include links in appropriate places in the email. Then add an eye-catching, prominent call-to-action button that subscribers can use to redeem an offer.

A typical click-through rate of around 5% is considered standard. Open rates are usually significantly higher than click-through rates. Many campaigns have an overall click-through rate of marginally more than 4%.

Although open and click-through rates track different behaviors, when combined, they provide insight into how engaging your emails are. For example, you will know what needs to change if lots of people open an email, but few click the call to action.

Conversion rate

Your click-through rate assesses the number of subscribers who clicked on your link. Meanwhile your conversion rate assesses how many subscribers clicked on your link and then completed a specific action. For example, you included a link in your email inviting your subscribers to partake in a sale. The conversion rate would indicate what percentage of those who clicked the link actually purchased something.

Conversion rates provide you with a rare perspective on your ROI. It’s easy to see how the money you’re investing in your campaign is paying off because you know how many you’ve expended and how many subscribers are converting.

Bounce rate

You should keep track of the bounce rate when sending an email campaign. Bounce rate is a metric that indicates how many of your subscribers’ email addresses did not receive the email. Soft bounces are used to detect temporary issues with email addresses. On the other hand, hard bounces are used to track long-term issues with email addresses.

When you compare bounce rates to open rates, you get a better sense of the consistency of your subscriber lists. If you’re seeing a lot of hard bounces, it’s possible that your list is full of invalid or outdated email addresses. It’s also possible that some addresses have typos.

You can reduce your bounce rates in advance by requesting a double opt-in. This requires subscribers to check their email address and confirm that they wish to accept emails from your company. A second opt-in is a great way to guarantee higher-quality email lists and reduced bounce rates.

Split testing (A/B testing) results

Split or A/B testing involves dividing recipients into groups. You’ll use the analytics to determine which message worked better in terms of producing further engagement or sales. You’ll see this after submitting different versions of an email to your different groups.

Split or A/B testing allows you to deliver high-performing emails with confidence, especially after testing specific email strategies with a smaller group of subscribers.

Revenue

Any business owner should keep track of overall email ROI because it shows you the campaign’s cumulative return on investment.

Best email marketing softwares for small businesses

best email marketing softwares for small business email marketing

Choosing the best email marketing software will assist a business in increasing revenue. These platforms enable companies to send out email campaigns, test messages, and integrate email campaigns with social media campaigns. Email marketing software can also monitor campaign results. The features in an email marketing application will help you identify potential leads and turn them into customers. There are a couple of choices when it comes to picking one of these email marketing softwares. This means it’s better to weigh them all out to see which one is right for you.

The best email marketing softwares for small businesses are:

You can read our in depth review of each email marketing software here.

Small business email marketing strategies for 2021

small business email marketing strategies

A strategy is the foundation of any successful email marketing campaign. This crucial step gives campaigns a framework, cohesiveness, and definition. It keeps your message on track and aids in the achievement of your marketing objectives.

To develop a winning small business email marketing strategy, follow these easy steps and consistently evaluate how you can improve it.

Build your list

adidas email list sign up form

Before building your list, you need to:

Define your target market:

To successfully engage with your customers you must first have a good understanding of who they are. Once you have this down, it’s time to start building your list.

Building your subscriber list

Before all else, you’ll need a list of people to whom you can send your emails to.

Many company owners regret neglecting to gather email addresses from day one. Learn from this common blunder and begin building your subscription list as soon as possible. You can even start before you launch your company.

Before you start building your email list, keep in mind that you’ll need permission to contact prospects and clients. There are many ways to go about this.

You can create a signup form and put it on your website, social media, and everywhere else you think appropriate. You can add your forms on the header, footer, or navigation bar of your website. There’s also the option to create a pop up form, or make a dedicated landing page.

Make sure you provide a brief description to inform users what they’re signing up for.

Here are a few things to note before you start creating opt-in forms:

  • Select an appealing headline: Have a good headline that describes one significant advantage that your new clients will get from joining your mailing list.
  • Relevant & catchy description or tag line: Have a short and concise description line that can help you improve your subscription’s conversion rate.
  • Simplicity: Only request the essential contact details, such as name and email address.
  • Add a call to action in your subscription button: Use a unique and eye catching call to action that entices users to click right away.
Nike pop up opt in email sign up form
Group and segment

You should build groups and segments to deliver more specific and targeted emails to your recipients. Do this once you’ve found smaller demographics within your wider audience. Remember, the more relevant the campaign, the greater the performance.

Choose the types of emails you want to send

Sunnies studios email

Once you have an email list, it’s time to start thinking about your content. What message do you want to send to your audience? What’s your strategy?

You’re going to want to send emails that have meaning and value. They should be relevant in order to appeal to your users. Always remember why and what they signed up for.

Determine the type of emails

Consider what types of emails you’ll send. The types of emails you send will be determined by the nature of your small business. A monthly email newsletter is a good start. You can also send any of the previously mentioned types of emails:

  • Welcome emails
  • Newsletters
  • Stand-alone emails
  • Lead nurturing emails
  • Promotional emails
  • Sponsorship emails
  • Transactional emails
  • Re-engagement emails
  • Brand story emails
  • Review request emails
  • Lifecycle emails
Set your sending frequency and goals

There’s no rule as to how often you can email your subscribers. However, if you email too often, your subscribers will likely get annoyed and unsubscribe entirely. You can always track unsubscribe and click-through rates to see if the frequency needs to be adjusted.

Create a schedule

Stay on track by building a content calendar to plan your campaigns and other activities.

Your type of business will dictate your email marketing schedule, the types of content you send, and sending frequency.

Design your emails

bon appetit email

After you’ve finished planning out the emails you intend to send, your next step is to build your email content and designs.

We suggest you focus on your message and keep your design simple. Arrange all of the campaign’s elements in a hierarchy. Keep your most important information at the top. This allows people to see your message at a quick glance.

Always keep your goals and your clients in mind. You want the message and call to action to be straightforward.

Writing your content

mint ultimate newsletter

The easiest way to write personalized content is to divide your email addresses into smaller groups based on their shared interests.

It’s too difficult to craft a message that is relevant to all of your subscribers. This problem can be solved by using your lists and segments. Based on the data you have, you can segment contacts in a variety of ways, including:

  • Demographics
  • Purchasing behaviour/ Buying behaviour
  • Brand loyalty
  • Email engagement

It’s easier to craft a message that resonates with your audience and drives more interaction by splitting your audience into small groups

Like what you see above? Our team can make one for you! What you see is a welcome email we’ve made for one of our clients. Our team creates and handles everything for you. From writing the content, to designing your emails, and even sending them to your subscribers. All you have to do is give us a call!

Design your email

J75 newsletter

The design of your emails is another critical aspect of your email marketing campaign. Your designs should be appealing, but don’t need to be extravagant.

Make sure you have a simple call to action (CTA) button in your design. It should be relevant to your email’s offer and guides your readers to an action you want them to do.

With that, do not include multiple CTAs as this will confuse your readers. Determine your goal, then choose one primary CTA per email. Doing this will increase your number of clicks and conversions.

CTAs are usually buttons that direct visitors to your website to:

  • Read your blog post
  • Browse through your products
  • Buy your products
  • Contact your business for your services
  • Purchase your product through your discount code or voucher
  • Get a copy of your eBook

You can always browse through the internet or subscribe to other businesses’ newsletters to see some examples.

The example we used above is another email we made for one of our clients. Our team can make one for you too – all you have to do is give us a call!

BTS newsletterTrack your campaign

Once you send out your emails to your subscribers, It’s time to track your work!

Small business email marketing gives you the opportunity to track your progress and measure your results. This is why you should always review the performance of your emails based on your email marketing KPIs.

Depending on the email marketing software you have, you can measure, track, and analyze your campaigns. The results will help you determine what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can look for innovative ways to boost your next campaign.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to hit “Send.”

One of the great things about email marketing is that it’s a low-risk channel to start with. Start by creating a simple email list, launching your first campaign, then iterate until you have a comprehensive small business email marketing strategy plan in place.

Incorporate these steps into your small business email marketing strategy and watch as your clients become more responsive. The performance of your campaigns will continually improve, and your business will grow. There’s no better time to get started than now!

Want to start your own small business email marketing campaign? Just Digital can help you! We’ve helped hundreds of clients succeed and grow their businesses, and we can do the same for you. Call us today and let’s start your marketing journey.