What you need to know about email marketing for small businesses

With the rise of social media over recent years email marketing for small businesses has some what taken a little bit of a back seat. Having said that when your marketing ROI (Return on Investment) is 40:1 or more, it is a media channel which should not to be forgotten and one that should have a clear focus and be part of your marketing strategy.

In an article at the beginning of 2019 by Mail Bird their research shows that:

  • 4.3bn email accounts send 196m emails per day.
  • 77% of consumers prefer email marketing as a communication tool.
  • Emails convert three times more effectively than social media.
  • 64% of decision makers read emails.

With such a compelling success story email marketing for small businesses should definitely be a big part of the marketing focus. So how do you know if your marketing has been successful? This is one of the big advantages of email marketing the results are fairly instant, generally you expect to see an email opened within 4hrs of receipt – after that it tails off. In addition to this you can also quickly see your:

  • Open rate: what percentage of your base open your email?
  • Click through rate: how many people go onto purchase or explore further in your website – you can see what they read.
  • Sales: If set up correctly you can also track from email to how many sales were made as a result of people opening the communication.

Now naturally, with such a success story there are many emails being sent and often we feel bombarded by so many communications from many brands. So how do we do it right? Here are our top 8 things to consider:

  1. A compelling subject line. One of the most important metrics that you will measure to understand email marketing success is your open rate. The key driver in improving this will be your subject line. Make sure it grabs attention eg: “Book of the month for September” (Waterstones), “How to refresh your wardrobe” (Mint Velvet) or “Bedroom updates made easy” (The White Company).
  2. Personalisation. As part of making things personal and relevant to me I want you to be speaking to me and not feel like I am just part of a massive list. Personalising it by saying “Dear Sophie” or even including in the headline eg: “How to refresh your wardrobe Sophie this Autumn” will encourage me to open it.
  3. Be visual. The nature of marketing is becoming more visual. We are seeing that the use of video is exploding and Instagram is growing at a tremendous rate. People are buying with their eyes – not taking time to read copy as much as they once did. Email marketing is no different – make sure you feature great imagery to showcase your brands in the best way possible.
  4. Timing. With such an instant reaction to an email, make sure you choose the right day of week and time to deploy – remember you only have a 4hr window to capture your audience.
  5. Focus on building your list. There is a natural churn with email marketing lists and in fact you want that. You don’t wish to keep sending someone an email if they don’t wish to hear from you. That said you also need to keep more people joining your list. Think about what incentive you could offer people to sign up and keep connected with you.
  6. Include a call to action. Don’t forget to think about what action you want people to take as a result of engaging with you eg: this could be to visit a page on your website, buy something, read a blog or email you.
  7. Write relevant content. Engaging with your audience across any marketing in today’s digital world is all about providing content that your audience wish to hear from you about do some brainstorming, look at what others in your industry are talking about and of course you could also ask them what questions they have for you.
  8. Test and refine! Marketing is all about testing and refining what you are doing and responding to what is working best. Email marketing for small businesses is no different. The beauty being that you will instantly see what to do more of.

Last thing as with all marketing is to really enjoy talking to your audience, sprinkle a little bit of magic and let the passion for what you do shine through!

If you would like some help in reviewing, designing or planning your next email campaign please get in touch.



22 email marketing tips that will improve performance.

Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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