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Email Marketing 101 for Small Business Owners: What, Why, & How (and What to Avoid)

Despite the ever changing landscape of digital marketing, email campaigns continue to be an indispensable part of successful digital marketing strategies. Yes, social media is a great way to raise brand awareness and engagement, but, despite all the hype surrounding social media, don’t forget how effective the old email can be.

For most people, their inbox is more controlled than communication on other digital platforms, giving it a better sense of stability. While social media is great for networking (and a million other things), email is a good go-to for moving people down the sales funnel.

G-Mail on a Macbook Computer

The Why

Why Email Marketing is Still A Great Choice

1. Inexpensive (and great ROI!)

Email campaigns are one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience, especially when considering its ROI. According to Omnisend, email marketing still has a higher return on investment than money spent on SEO, banner ads, or keywords with a $40-to-1 ROI.

2. Targeted Audience

Email campaigns allow you to reach a specific segment of your desired audience quickly and effectively. You can divide your list based on the demographic you are planning to reach, whether based on their interests or needs.

3. Easy Tracking (which helps with A/B Testing)

With email campaigns you have the ability to track who opens your emails, clicks on links, unsubscribes, and more. This allows you to better measure the performance of your campaign as well as understand your customers’ behavior. By A/B testing various subject lines, layouts, and engagement techniques, you can better learn your clients and adjust to make them more in tune with your audience’s wants and needs.

4. Brand Visibility

Cold email campaigns offer an opportunity to expose new people to your brand. They also give subscribers a chance to dive deeper into who you are and what your company has to offer.

5. Follow Ups One of the great things about email campaigns is the immediate feedback they can provide. As soon as someone sends a reply or clicks a link, you will have the information available so you can take the appropriate action. If you see someone was interested in a product through a link they clicked in an email, you could send a follow up email to

6. Faster than you think

When you automate your emails, you can greatly speed up the process of ensuring your potential customers are getting the information they need. By using email software to enhance your efficiency, email marketing isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Email campaigns are a digital marketing strategy, offering businesses an effective way to reach their target audience quickly and affordably. With the ability to track users and segment lists, as well as offering brand visibility and immediate feedback, email campaigns can help businesses grow and attract new customers.

Business man checking email on his tablet

The How

How to Craft an Email Marketing Strategy for Your Small Businesses: a step-by-step guide

  • Step 1: Brainstorm. What do your customers need to know? What do you need to communicate? How can you use this to generate interest? How often should you make a direct sales pitch?

  • Step 2: Design email templates that capture your brand's personality.

  • Step 3: Use catchy subject lines to get your customers' attention.

  • Step 4: Make sure your content is relevant and engaging.

  • Step 5: Take advantage of automation to make your life easier. (Take a look at this list for some of the best email software for 2023)

  • Step 6: Track results, analyze your data and optimize your email campaigns.

  • Step 7: Keep improving and set goals to aim for.

With the right Email Marketing strategy, small businesses can reach their ROI goals. So don't be intimidated, just follow these steps and you'll be on your way to success!

Mailchimp on desktop for email marketing

How You Can Make Your Emails More Engaging with These 5 Tips

You can’t run a successful campaign if nobody wants to read your emails, so here are 5 tips to help make your emails more engaging for your customers:

1. A Subject Line with a Surefire Hook

The subject line is the key to getting someone to open an email. Even if the email is from a person’s mother, they will still look at the subject line before deciding whether or not to open it. If you can’t grab their attention with the subject line, then you’ve already lost the battle.

Make sure they know it’s for their benefit (and not just you trying desperately to sell your product). Give them a reason to open the email. Try to grab their attention by making it intriguing whether by playing to their curiosity or appealing to them through humor. Subject lines aren’t always easy to come up with, but they are a crucial part of any marketing campaign.

2. Keep It Short & Sweet Useful

Make sure that your key message gets across quickly and clearly. If your emails are too long or contain too much information, you’ll lose the reader’s interest - they didn’t open your email to attend a lecture, so don’t info dump on them unless it’s pertinent to their success. If there’s nothing beneficial for the reader, they won’t make the mistake of opening one of your emails again, so don’t send out an email without ensuring it is worth their time.

3. Make it Visually Appealing

Adding visuals will make your emails more professional and attractive. Using a clean layout can even be used to make the email quicker to read and easier to digest. Avoid long blocks of text and include visuals to break up the content - remember, write for the skimmer not the reader.

4. Add a Call-to-Action (But make it good)

Adding a call-to-action let’s the reader know what they need to do if they want to take that next step. Your CTA should be clear, concise, and let them know exactly what they need to do if they are interested - don’t make them have to research what to do, because they likely won’t and you’ll miss the sale.

5. Personalize Your Emails

Personalizing your emails with the recipient’s name or other details can go a long way. If a customer thinks it’s a mass email from another cold email marketing campaign, then then don’t be surprised if you end up in their spam folder. While you may only be able to personalize so much depending on the scale of your marketing campaigns, it will help you stand out from the crowd of generic messages clogging up the users’ inbox.

By following these tips, you can start creating emails that your readers will enjoy and be more likely to interact with.

Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Beginning Your First Campaign

World famous marketer Neil Patel describes email marketing as though you are being invited into someone’s house. If you wanted to be invited again, you better be a good guest in their home/inbox. This means you need to avoid making mistakes that a bad guest/email would.

Email campaigns are a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience, but there are some rookie mistakes that businesses need to avoid if they don't want people to unsubscribe. Here are a few of the most common mistakes businesses make when using email campaigns:

1. Emailing Without Proper Permission (Be Careful of 'Paid' Lists)

We get it, it can be tricky gathering leads in order to email how you want to. But it's also important to be familiar with SPAM and privacy laws, as well as email marketing policies on different platforms, many of which prohibit you emailing anyone that you've not obtained proper permission to email (and prohibit paid lists that you didn't acquire on your own). Doing so can result in bounced emails, multi-unsubscribes, and your email getting flagged and dumped in SPAM (for good). No one wants that! Instead, offer up a free resource or something enticing where you can collect emails and info in a space where people agree (or Opt-In) to hearing from you. It takes time, but it's worth it.

2. Not Knowing Your Audience

It’s essential to know who you are targeting with your email campaigns. Without knowing who your audience is, it’s difficult to send messages that will resonate with them. Spend some time researching and understanding your target market before sending out your emails. A surefire way for someone to send your email to the spam bin is to send them something that is unappealing- not by your standard, but by theirs.

3. Sending Too Many Emails

Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many emails. Overcrowding a person’s inbox is the number one way to annoy a potential client, and finalize their decision to unsubscribe from your emails. To keep people engaged, limit the number of emails you send, because even if each email is loaded with quality content, it will clog up their inbox with info they just don’t have time for. You want people to be excited about an email from your company, but they lose excitement if you send them too often.

4. Not Testing Your Email

Before sending out your emails, test them to make sure they look good on all devices. This will help you avoid any embarrassing formatting errors that could be off-putting.

5. Not Paying Attention to Timing

Timing is key when it comes to email campaigns. You want to make sure your emails are sent at the right time so your recipients can actually read and interact with them. Experiment with different times of day and days of the week to find out what works best with your specific audience. By avoiding these common mistakes, businesses can ensure that their email campaigns are successful. With the right strategies, email campaigns can be an effective way to increase engagement, build relationships, and drive sales.

Need Help? Try Outsourcing

While it’s perfectly feasible to do a marketing campaign by yourself, there is a learning curve which could take some time which you may not have. If you are looking to outsource you could consider hiring:

  • Content Writer: to communicate what you want to say in a voice that reflects your company

  • Designer: to create aesthetically sophisticated template layouts that positively reflects your brand

  • Developer: to set up automated systems that are right for you and your company (although most email software is fairly user friendly)

If you or your company are in need of a graphic designer, content writer, or developer to help with your next email campaign, then let us know how we can help your company by clicking here.


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