The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Email Marketing: Overview, Benefits, and Tips


If you’re a small business owner — regardless of industry — email marketing can help you foster better customer relationships build a stronger brand to help you keep growing.

Small business owners often assume that small business email marketing isn’t effective — and that email is just for the big guys. They speculate that you probably need thousands of customers and millions of dollars in revenue to generate an email list big enough to justify putting any effort into it.

But they’re wrong!

Email marketing is frequently cited as the most lucrative form of online marketing – returning an average of $44.25 in revenue for every $1 spent. And the good news is that this massive ROI isn’t just reserved for the big players. Even little guys can profit substantially from email marketing!

And it doesn’t stop there!

Using email marketing for your small business is the easiest way to manage your direct customer relationships at scale.

So what are you waiting for?! It’s time to get your small business started with email marketing!

Launching your small business email marketing strategy in 4 easy steps

If you’re new to email marketing, it might seem a bit complicated or time-consuming. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Building a successful email strategy really boils down to four things:

  1. Email list building
  2. Planning out the types of emails you need
  3. Email design and content creation
  4. Sending the campaign and studying the results

1. Start building your list

Before you start sending out emails, you need to have contacts to send those emails to.

In order to so that, you need to set up lead capture forms on your website. Be sure to include text that explains what users are signing up for when they give you their email.

increase blog subscribers with Noah Kagan

When setting up your email subscription form, be sure to avoid common mistakes so you can be sure to get the largest number of subscribers. This will help you reach a larger audience and continue to grow your small business through email marketing.

Also, for those operating in the EU or have customers in the EU, make sure you follow GDPR guidelines for compliance.

2. Decide which emails you want to send

Now that you’ve started to grow your list of contacts, it’s time to decide which types of emails you want to send.

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)
  • Loyalty programs for your most dedicated customers
  • Transactional emails (eCommerce receipts, appointment notifications, etc.)

The types of emails you send will depend on what type of small business you have. Just remember that every email you send should provide value for your customers.

If you’re sending an email without a clear goal and purpose or because you feel obligated to send something, it might need some rethinking.

3. Create your email designs and content

After planning out the emails you want to send, you’ll need to actually create the content and email designs.

The key to this step is to always keep your customer and the goal of your email campaign in mind. You want the content of your message to be clear and add value for your customers and the goal or action that you want them to take should be very clear.

Writing the email content for your campaigns

The best way to write targeted content is to first segment your email contacts into smaller lists with similar interests.

If you send a mass email to all of your contacts, it’s nearly impossible to craft a message that is relevant for everyone. But if you’re able to find contacts with similar needs or interests and group them together, this challenge goes away.

There are a number of ways you can segment contacts depending on the data you have, including:

  • Demographics (gender preference, age group, geography)
  • Past purchase behavior (preferred product categories, number of purchases, whether or not past purchases were during promotions or sales)
  • Brand loyalty (new leads, longtime customers, VIPs)
  • Email engagement (customers who click on all of your emails vs. those who have never opened an email)

Once you break out your contacts into small groups like this, it becomes much easier to craft a message that resonates with your audience and drives more engagement.

Creating the design of your emails

Another important element of building your emails for your email marketing strategy is the design.

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 waste it trying to create the next Mona Lisa with your monthly newsletter.

It’s also very important to use responsive design in your emails. This just means that your email design “responds” to the type of screen (desktop, tablet, mobile)  that your reader is using and renders accordingly to provide the best experience.

Thankfully, if you’re using a tool like SendinBlue, you have access to our drag & drop email design tool that makes it super easy for you to create professional emails that look great on any device.

sendinblue drag and drop email design tool

When thinking about your design, make sure you add a very clear call-to-action (CTA) that corresponds to your offer in the email and tells readers what you want them to do.

CTAs are usually a button that sends readers to your site to:

  • Read an article you’re promoting
  • Browse through new products on your site
  • Make a purchase using a discount code
  • Download an eBook that you wrote

There are plenty of other things you could be promoting… But whatever it is, make sure you have a clear CTA for the readers.

You should also avoid having more than one main CTA. This can get confusing for the readers. If you have more than one goal in mind for an email campaign (e.g. you’re promoting multiple articles), create a hierarchy to let contacts know which is the most important. This will improve your click rates and conversions.

4. Press send and analyze the performance to improve future campaigns

If you think you’re done once you hit “send,” think again!

Email marketing provides a unique opportunity to learn from your customers. You should always be analyzing the performance of your emails regarding your email marketing KPIs.

If you notice certain types of emails perform poorly with your audience, look for new ways to improve on the next campaign.

The best part? Analyzing your email performance doesn’t just let you improve your future emails. It also teaches you more about your customers, which can help you make improvements in every aspect of your business!

Want a more detailed look at how to create emails that your customers will love?

Learn everything you need to know from start to finish by reading our detailed guide on how to create an email campaign!

Start sending email campaigns with SendinBlue today >>

Additional small business email marketing tips

Now that you know how to launch an email marketing strategy for your small business, what’s next? Continued improvements, obviously! 😉

Here are a few bonus email marketing tips for small businesses that will help you get the most out of your new email strategy!

1. Start sending your marketing emails now

Don’t wait until your list is “big enough” to get started on creating your newsletter or promotional emails! It’s easy to get stuck in this trap and continue to find excuses to put off email marketing. But every day that you keep email marketing on the back burner is a day that you’re losing the revenue that it could be generating.

Remember that each sign up you get is another person indicating that they are genuinely interested in what you have to say. Show that you value that interest by emailing your subscribers no matter how small your list is. Don’t wait until you hit some sort of self-imposed threshold before you start communicating by email.

Plus, if you wait too long, these subscribers might forget that they even signed up for your emails in the first place. This can lead to higher rates of spam complaints or unsubscribes, which will definitely hurt your email deliverability.

So, as soon as you have an audience, start sending emails — it doesn’t matter if your email list only has 15 subscribers. By sending emails right away, you can begin collecting data on email campaigns and testing various design elements, calls to action, and copy to get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.

Let’s face it, no one is going to be an email pro with the very first email they send. In fact, your first email may be a total flop.

But that’s okay! As we mentioned above, one of the big benefits of email marketing is learning how to improve along the way. It’s better to send a dud email to 15 people than wait until you have a giant email list and make the same mistake.

Regardless of the size of your list, sending emails can also help you continue to grow your subscriber base more quickly because recipients can forward emails to friends, family members, and colleagues if they like your content. The result is a wider audience base that can translate into more signups without any additional work on your end.

To-do list:

  • Create your first email campaign and send it – just do it already!
  • Start tracking data to provide a baseline for testing future efforts

2. Encourage sign-ups anywhere you can

This may sound like a no-brainer, but people can’t subscribe to your emails if you don’t give them a way to sign up — you’d be surprised how many business owners forget that crucial fact.

Give your customers as many chances as possible to subscribe to your emails! Pepper your website with email signup forms wherever appropriate. Include a sign-up CTA on your homepage, contact page, and 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.  This can easily be done through the SendinBlue plugin for WooCommerce.

You should also collect email addresses in-person with a tablet or sign-up sheet so that you can follow up with customers at a later time in their inbox. You can even encourage sign-ups by providing a giveaway or promising exclusive deals to subscribers.

Within your emails include a link to subscribe so that people who have your emails forwarded to them by a friend, relative, or co-worker can sign up for themselves. This strategy not only increases your email list size but also boosts engagement.

To-do list:

  • Include a sign-up button on your homepage to give visitors a chance to subscribe right away
  • Provide an email opt-in feature on your checkout page to make signing up effortless
  • Allow physical visitors to provide an email address while browsing or buying at your physical location
  • Give email recipients a way to sign up for future correspondence from the email itself

3. Maintain consistency with your sending

With small business email marketing (or any email marketing for that matter) you should always be consistent!

The most important element for launching an email marketing campaign is giving subscribers what they want and being consistent on your delivery with this value. Subscribers expect to see emails on a regular schedule, whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. If you fall short of their expectations, it will reflect poorly on your brand. Remember that you can always start out by sending emails less often and then ramp up efforts and send more frequently later.

Use the same template and voice within your emails to mimic the design and tone of your website. You want to provide subscribers with a seamless brand experience across all communications. This will let them know immediately who the email is coming from and build trust along the way.

To-do list:

  • Send emails regularly
  • Pick a template and stick with it
  • Use the same tone across all emails

4. Tie in your social media efforts

Don’t forget to leverage your presence on social media too! Email and social media work very well together, so you should always be on the lookout for ways to blend your two strategies together.

Remind followers that they should sign up for your emails to have access to exclusive content or offers in your newsletter.

This promotion can also work both ways. Including links to your social profiles in your emails encourages subscribers to follow you on their favorite social platforms, which lets you continue to grow your audience on all fronts.

If you have interactions with followers that you can highlight, make them feel special by including their user-generated content in your emails as well. These followers are more likely to subscribe and forward your emails to their contacts if you include their reviews, feedback, funny quips, etc.

When you run contests or giveaways on social media, announce this information in your emails as well to expand your reach. You can also highlight past participants and winners to entice other subscribers to participate in future events.

To-do list:

  • Include links to social media profiles in your emails
  • Share relevant content from your followers on social media and in emails

If you want more content like this, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter!


2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Email Marketing: Overview, Benefits, and Tips

  1. thank u for sharing this with us. we have a plate form which provides a facility of bulk email service.nowadays, email marketing became a trend for promotion and marketing of products and services. so i suggest emaiidea, a email marketing agency which provides a best plate form for bulk email services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *