Benefits of Small Business Email Marketing
- Massive ROI
- Improve customer retention through consistent engagement
- Reach new customers through your online content
- Build a brand through thought leadership
- Drive sales with a customer loyalty program
- Promote new products or services
- Learn more about what your customers like and dislike
- Stay at the top of your customers’ minds for future needs
If you’re a small business owner — regardless of the industry — email marketing can help you foster better customer relationships and build a stronger brand to drive conversions and growth.
Small business owners often assume that email marketing isn’t for them, isn’t effective, or is just too expensive. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!
In this article, we’ll debunk some myths surrounding small business email marketing and prove just how effective it is for businesses of all sizes.
Email marketing is frequently cited as the most lucrative form of online marketing, with an ROI of 4400%. The best part? These returns aren’t just for the big guys. Without a doubt, small businesses can profit substantially from email marketing!
To help you make the most of this important form of digital marketing, this article will cover everything you need to know to launch your own small business email marketing campaign in two sections:
- How to launch a small business email marketing strategy
- 10 small business email marketing tips for 2023
If you’re just starting out with email marketing, or are in search of a new email marketing tool, consider Brevo. For small businesses, our Starter plan is equipped with everything you need to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.
Want to give our tools a test drive? Open a free account today! You’ll get unlimited contact storage, 300 daily email sends, a drag-and-drop newsletter editor, and over 40 email templates.
Launch Your Small Business Email Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps
Building a successful email marketing strategy really boils down to four things:
- Email list building
- Planning which types of emails you’ll send
- Email design and content creation
- Sending the campaign and analyzing the results
1. Build your email list
A necessary first step to sending email marketing campaigns is building a contact list. After all, what good is an email marketing campaign without anyone to send it to?
The best way to build your list is by creating a signup form and featuring it on your website, blog, and social media. For the best results, we recommend setting up a double opt-in sign-up form.
Double opt-in sign-up forms send new subscribers a confirmation email after they’ve submitted their email address. While this adds an extra step to the sign-up process, it is definitely worthwhile. Double opt-in helps:
- Avoid deliverability issues from email address typos;
- Give you the opportunity to ask what kind of content your subscribers want to receive;
- Ensures your email marketing strategy is GDPR compliant.
Try placing or linking to your sign-up forms in high-traffic places, like your homepage, blog, social media bios, and even your email signature. To learn more, check out this article on how to create an email sign-up form.
2. Decide the types of email you want to send
Now that you’ve got a strategy to grow your email list, it’s time to decide which types of emails you want to send.
The types of emails you send will depend on what type of small business you have. It’s always safe to start with a monthly email newsletter. Some other examples might include:
- Promotional emails for special offers or sales
- Seasonal messages for holidays or special events
- Personalized discounts and coupons for your most dedicated customers
- Transactional emails (ecommerce receipts, appointment notifications, etc.)
For a step-by-step guide, check out our article on how to create a newsletter.
3. Create your email design and content
The next step to creating an effective small business email marketing campaign is email design and content creation.
Not a design pro? Not to worry. Most email marketing tools have easy-to-use drag-and-drop editors so that even beginners can design stunning email marketing campaigns.
The number one thing to keep in mind with small business email marketing is that you don’t need to be over the top with your designs. Email is supposed to save you time, so don’t break your back creating overly elaborate and complex emails. Instead, stay true to your brand image. You’ll come across as more familiar and relatable to your subscribers.
Another important part of email design is the call to action (CTA). Make sure you add a CTA button that corresponds with the content of the email and tells readers what you want them to do. Here are some common CTA examples:
- Read an article on your blog
- Browse through new products on your site
- Make a purchase using a discount code
- Download an ebook, attend a webinar, or access other gated content
You should also avoid having more than one main CTA. Competing calls to action send a mixed message to readers and can harm your click through rate. If you have more than one goal in mind for an email campaign, create a hierarchy to let contacts know which is the most important. Using the inverted pyramid structure is a great way to do so.
For more tips, check out our email marketing checklist.
Writing the email content for your campaigns
The most important thing to keep in mind at this stage is the customer. When designing your emails, try asking yourself what your subscribers want to see and how to provide them with value in your campaigns.
The best way to write this type of targeted content is to first segment your email contacts into smaller lists with similar interests.
When sending mass emails to all of your contacts, it’s nearly impossible to craft a message that is relevant to everyone. Instead, try grouping contacts with similar needs or interests to send more targeted and higher-quality content.
Try segmenting your contacts by:
- Demographics, e.g., gender, age, location
- Purchase history, e.g., preferred product categories, number of purchases, whether or not past purchases were during promotions or sales
- Brand loyalty, e.g., new leads, longtime customers, VIPs
- Email engagement, e.g., customers who click on all of your emails vs. those who have never opened an email
Once you break down your contacts into segments like these, it becomes much easier to craft a message that resonates with your target audience and drives engagement.
Another important aspect of email content creation that’s easy to overlook is the subject line. These few words are the first thing your audience sees from your campaign. For this reason, make sure your email subject line is eye-catching but not overly promotional.
Pro tip: A/B testing is a great way to optimize your subject lines.
4. Send your campaign and analyze the performance
If you think you’re done once you hit ‘send’, think again!
To make the most of your marketing efforts, you should always be analyzing the performance of your campaigns. Email is unique in this regard. Compared to other digital marketing channels, email provides a wealth of data and statistics to help improve your future campaigns.
Some absolutely essential metrics to keep track of include open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. For more details on tracking your campaigns’ performance, check out this article on email marketing benchmarks and KPIs.
10 small business email marketing tips for 2023
Now that you know how to launch an email marketing strategy for your small business, what’s next?
Taking your strategy to the next level with these 10 small business marketing tips!
When creating email campaigns, routine is the enemy. You should always be on the lookout for new email marketing tips to help you continue creating valuable, engaging email content.
Inboxes in 2023 are a battlefield for marketers. Your contacts are receiving more and more email solicitations from other companies and competitors, so you’ll have to give your subscribers a good reason to open your email.
1. Quality over quantity
One of the keys to email deliverability and engagement in 2023 is the quality of your email content. Forget about the number of emails you send. Nobody likes to be bombarded with near-constant promotional messages.
Instead, focus on writing emails that your subscribers actually want to read. Make sure your campaigns include value-adding content for your subscribers. A great way to ensure you’re on point with your subscribers’ expectations is by asking them what kind of content they’d like to receive when they sign up to your email list.
Further reading: 14 Ecommerce Content Marketing Strategies for 2023
2. Use an embedded sign-up form rather than a link in your menu
Speaking of sign-up forms, it’s almost always better to use an embedded form than linking to a link. Embedding your sign-up form makes it even easier for new subscribers to join your email list.
Pop-up sign-up forms are another common way to make sure your users have the chance to subscribe. If you decide to use this feature, just be mindful not to interrupt the user experience. If you don’t give website visitors a chance to naturally engage with your content, a pop-up form is likely to deter them from subscribing.
Take a look at this sign-up form we use for the Brevo blog newsletter. Here it is featured on the blog homepage:
Psst! Did you know that with Brevo you can create beautifully designed email sign-up forms like this? Check it out!
3. Encourage sign-ups anywhere you can
Still on the topic of sign-up forms, make sure you give your customers as many chances as possible to subscribe to your emails!
One of the best email marketing tips we can give you is this: Pepper your website with email sign-up forms wherever appropriate. Include a sign-up CTA on your homepage, contact page, important landing pages, and in your footer.
If you have an ecommerce store, be sure to provide an option on the checkout page to opt-in to emails while customers are already submitting their email addresses to complete orders.
For brick-and-mortar stores, having a sign-up clipboard works just as well! At checkout, just ask your customers if they’d like to stay up to date with your business’s news and deals.
4. Make your emails mobile-friendly (responsive email design)
About 50% of Americans read emails on their phones, so making your emails mobile-responsive is a top priority. In 2023 there’s really no way around it. Your email design needs to respond to users’ screens, be it desktop, tablet, or mobile.
The last thing you want is for your subscribers to have difficulties reading your emails!
Thankfully, tools like Brevo make creating responsive emails super easy. Most drag & drop email design tools automatically generate responsive emails. What’s more, using a newsletter template is a great way for beginners to easily create responsive emails.
Brevo’s drag-and-drop editor.
Pro tip: if you’re looking for more advanced design functionality, Brevo allows you to upload HTML code instead of using the drag-and-drop editor!
5. Create a list segment for your most engaged customers
If you have a repeat customer base that reliably engages with your emails, this is a fantastic opportunity to build brand loyalty and increase sales. These subscribers have shown a deeper level of interest in your business. Cultivating these relationships is a surefire way to drive conversions in a cost-effective way!
A great way to do this ‘cultivating’ is creating an email list specifically for these contacts. That way you can send them special offers and discounts to encourage them to make purchases through your business.
To take things to the next level, try integrating your sales CRM to better keep track of your segments and conversion rate optimization.
6. Send automated emails
If your small business still isn’t already sending automated emails, 2023 is the time to make it happen. Automated emails do wonders for bolstering customer relationships and save you loads of time and energy.
If you send a regular newsletter, set up an automated welcome email for new subscribers. This will start your relationship off on the right foot and build trust between your brand and your new contacts.
You can also set up automated emails based on a contact’s past behavior. For example, you can contact your users about their favorite products or complementary products to items they recently purchased. Even better, you can send automated re-engagement emails to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
For a complete tutorial, check out our guide to email automation.
7. Make your emails accessible to readers with cognitive or visual impairments
Having accessible content is already a hot topic for email marketers in 2023. Email accessibility refers to having content that can be accessed by visually-impaired email subscribers using voice assistants and screen readers.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your emails are accessible:
- Make your content concise and legible. Use bullet points and short sentences, and avoid industry jargon.
- Use headers so that screen readers process your content in order.
- Provide helpful descriptions in the ALT tags of any images.
- Choose a font, layout, and colors that make the email as readable as possible.
- Use descriptive anchor text for any links. (For someone using a screen reader, a link labeled ‘Click here’ doesn’t provide enough information about the destination URL.)
8. Stick to your sign-up promise!
Now that permission-based email marketing has become the norm, inboxes have become somewhat of a sacred space. For many, the inbox represents a curated collection of personal content.
It comes as no surprise then that people are a lot more cautious about what they sign up to with their email address. Further, they don’t think twice about hitting ‘unsubscribe’ if the content loses its relevance.
To retain your subscribers, you need to religiously stick to your sign-up promise in terms of content and timing. If you promise a monthly newsletter on chocolate cake recipes, then you send that newsletter with chocolate cake recipes on a set day every month.
9. Get new subscribers to add you to their list of contacts
What’s one way to increase your chances of showing up in your subscriber’s inbox? By being in their address book!
When sending out a welcome email to new subscribers, include text that asks them to add your sending email address to their contacts list. This email marketing tip will improve your deliverability rate because the contacts are essentially telling the email service provider that they want to get your emails.
Another tip for increasing your open rates for subscribers who use Gmail: Ask them to simply drag your email from the ‘Promotions’ tab to the ‘Primary’ tab.
Moving an email from Promotions to Primary in Gmail
10. Test your email campaigns before sending
Perhaps the most important email marketing tip we have for small businesses is to test your campaigns before sending them.
While it may seem like just another step, testing your email marketing campaigns is absolutely essential to an effective overall digital marketing strategy. You’d be surprised at how easily typos or display issues sneak their way into your emails.
Once you’ve finished creating your content, try previewing it on your email marketing software. Next, be sure to send test emails to yourself and a few colleagues and open them on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
Even better, try A/B testing your subject line, email content, and CTA buttons with a section of your email list to see what works best!
Small Business Email Marketing Tips for Campaign Success in 2023!
So now you know how to launch your small business email marketing strategy. Pair it with the above email marketing tips to set yourself up for success in 2023!
If you’re looking for email software to create, manage, and send your small business email campaigns, why not try Brevo?
There are loads of email marketing platforms out there, each with their own pricing schemes and selections of features and apps. For those just getting started, a free account with Brevo lets you send up to 300 emails per day and discover a range of features. Perfect for small businesses!
Brevo is also great for seasoned marketing pros. (We don’t just do email marketing — we actually have an entire sales and marketing toolbox for you to discover!) Whatever your business needs may be, Brevo is here to help.
Further reading: How to start a successful small business blog