The Small Business Email Marketing Guide to Skyrocket Your Business

Small business email marketing is a great way to reach and build relationships with their customers and leads. But don’t just take our word for it.

According to eMarketer, 80% of SMB retail professionals report that email marketing is the best marketing tactic for driving customer acquisition and retention. And the results are similar for small businesses in the B2B market. In fact, one B2B survey shows that email is the 3rd most influential source of information for B2B audiences, following colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunities that small business email marketing can provide, you’ll need to focus on the strategies and tactics that are proven to drive sales. Below, we’ll dive into a few different aspects of small business email marketing and provide helpful tips along the way for strategy, implementation, and optimization.

Developing a Small Business Email Marketing Strategy

Before you get started sending emails to your leads and customers, you’ll need to develop a small business email marketing strategy for the types of email content that you plan to provide. This helps ensure that your email messages are purposeful and organized. Newsletters and email drip campaigns are two important email marketing formats that you should include in your strategy.

Email Newsletters

One of the most popular types of marketing emails for small businesses are email newsletters. This is a great way to keep in regular contact with your email subscribers. Newsletters help you stay visible in your target market while engaging with leads and customers on a consistent basis. This frequent communication will play a vital role in helping your small business increase brand recognition and build stronger customer relationships.

There are a few different approaches that you can take to email newsletters. Some businesses use this communication to keep customers up-to-date on the latest news from the company, including sales and promotions. Here’s an example of a standard newsletter from Gilt, an online clothing company:

Here you will see some information and links to the company’s top selling products as well as information about how to take advantage of the brand’s exciting promotions. These promotional emails are a great way to get the word out about new products and sales while keeping your company top of mind for your email subscribers.

Another approach to using email newsletters is to provide quality content that your subscribers will find valuable. Here is an example of a company newsletter that aims to provide custom content that helps educate the reader:

The Daily Egg is a newsletter from Crazy Egg that is aimed at helping small businesses improve website design and optimization. Notice that there are no images or elaborate design work. However, this newsletter does provide a helpful digest of content that is important to its readers. By providing this important content, the company can work to demonstrate industry knowledge and establish itself as an industry leader. This goes a long way in influencing conversions.

Email Drip Campaigns

Another type of marketing email that is important for your small business email marketing strategy is the email drip campaign. This is an automated email message that is sent to subscribers on a schedule. These emails can also be triggered when the subscriber takes a certain action, such as downloading an e-book or abandoning their cart after visiting your site.

These types of emails enable you to stay in touch with your subscribers when they take certain actions on your site without having to manually send an email each time. The email drip campaign is important because it helps your company more efficiently and effectively communicate with your customers and leads on a more consistent basis.

Here are just a few examples of when you might use an email drip campaign:

  • Welcome Email – You can send out an automated email to individuals who sign up for your email list or create an account on your website.
  • Recommended Content – Just a few days after you send the welcome email to new subscribers, you can then send out an email with recommended content, which helps bring them back to the site.
  • Cart Abandonment – Consumers will often put items in their cart without completing their purchase. When this happens, you can send an automated email to remind them of what they’ve left behind and make sure they don’t have any questions or concerns.
  • Conversion Nudge – You can also create a drip campaign to help influence conversions. For instance, if a consumer has interacted with your site but not yet made a purchase, you can send a series of emails that helps guide them to the next step in conversion.

Much like the email newsletter, email drip campaigns not only allow you to stay in touch with subscribers on a regular basis, but they can also help influence conversions over time.

How to Increase Your Email List Subscribers

If you’re just getting started with your small business email marketing, you may be wondering how to get people to subscribe to your email list. It’s important that you get your leads and customers to give their permission before you send out any marketing emails. One of the best ways to get more email subscribers is through lead magnets.

  1. Develop A Lead Magnet

Lead magnets are essentially tempting offers that provide consumers something of value in exchange for their contact information. The valuable offer is often targeted content that aims to help individuals better understand and solve their greatest challenges. For instance, this could be a holiday product guide or an e-book on B2B challenges that your business solves.

One of the keys to creating a successful lead magnet is to make your offer specific. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

This offer is simple and to-the-point. It’s clear what the report provides – information on how to grow enough food to feed a family of 4 in just 4 square-feet of space. This offer also provides instant gratification. The subscriber will get immediate access to the download after filling out the lead form, providing them with instant value.

Here’s another example of an effective lead magnet that is simple and specific:

This specific content offer delivers a quick checklist that provides some value to its readers. This lead form appears as a pop-up on the company’s website. Notice that there is an exit option in the corner of the form for those who want to pass on the offer.

In both of these examples, it’s important to note that the lead form is simple and only asks for the necessary contact information, such as email and first name. The more contact information you ask for, the less likely your leads will be to fill out the form. You will need to work to build trust before you can gather the rest of their contact information. However, for the purposes of building your email list, you only need their email address. Work on getting any other information you need later after you’ve established a relationship with the customer.

  1. Promote Your Lead Magnet

A great way to promote your lead magnet is through social media. You can post links to the sign-up page on social media with engaging lead-ins that communicate the value of your content offering. You might also consider including social media share buttons on the landing page to encourage visitors to share the offer with those who may also find it valuable.

For the fastest results, leverage advertising. Advertising on social media is cheap and extremely targeted. You can run lead generation campaigns to promote your lead magnets and gain new email subscribers at low costs.

Traditional ways to promote lead magnets involve your website. You can use a pop-up on your website that appears on your home page or the pages that are most relevant to your offer. Make sure that if you use a pop up, you provide a way for those who are not interested to exit the message and go back to viewing your site.

You can also simply invite your website visitors to join your email list. Create a call-to-action in the side bar of your website with a space for visitors to enter their email address. To encourage your subscribers to share your email content with others, you may also want to add social share buttons to your email marketing messages. This will help you grow your email marketing list by getting your email content in front of new consumers.

The Keys to Creating Effective Marketing Emails

There are a lot of different elements that make up an effective marketing email. Below, we’ll talk about just a few of the aspects you will need to consider when developing emails as part of your small business marketing campaign.

Subject Lines

Your subject line is extremely important to your email marketing campaign. Not only is it your opportunity to make the right first impression, but if you do not engage the reader with your subject line, they may not even open the message to see what you have to say.

Make sure that your subject line is concise, relevant, and descriptive. Place the most important words at the beginning of the subject line and try to eliminate any filler content. This will help your subscribers quickly determine if they want to open and read the email or not.

Avoid using the subject line to disguise the email content or trick the reader. Though a tricky subject line may get the reader to open the email, they may become annoyed or disinterested when they open the message to find that the content is not relevant to them.

Email Content

Once you’ve decided on the perfect subject line, you’ll need to consider what type of content you will include in the email message. You want to provide content that will be relevant and useful to your subscribers. Whether you are offering a new promotion or trying to drive e-book downloads, use the email content to effectively communicate what your brand has to offer.

Personalized email content works best, so consider using the subscribers name in the email opener. “Hello Sarah!” is more effective than just “hello.” A personalized greeting can go a long way in helping build stronger relationships with your subscribers.

Keep the rest of your email message brief, between 100-200 words, and only use images when necessary. Many subscribers will be reading your email content from their smartphones, so consider creating email content that is optimized for smaller screens.


One of the most important parts of the email message is the call-to-action. This will invite subscribers to take the next step in conversion, whether that’s making a purchase, filling out a lead form, or just visiting another page on your website.

Your call-to-action should be direct and concise. Use active verbs that encourage the reader to take the next step, and make sure that it’s clear what that next step is. Also, be sure that your call-to-action is visible, whether it’s as a hyperlink or a separate CTA button.

How to Increase Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is an important part of your small business email marketing efforts. If users are not opening your emails, moving them directly to their trash or junk folders, or reporting your marketing emails as spam, this can take a toll on your deliverability rates. Your email deliverability impacts your ability to show up in user’s inboxes, so you want to marked as spam or penalized.

One way to improve email deliverability is to remove unengaged subscribers. If you notice that certain subscribers have not opened your emails or engaged with your company content or site in quite some time, you may want to reach out to see if they still want to be on your email list. If they don’t respond, consider removing them to improve deliverability.

Another way to improve your email delivery rates is to include an unsubscribe option in each of your marketing emails. This would be a link or button at the bottom of the email that allows subscribers to unsubscribe from your list if they no longer want to receive your content. This helps ensure that everyone on your email list is giving their permission to receive marketing emails from you. This also helps you weed out those subscribers that are no longer getting value from your content.

If you want to ensure that subscribers continue to open and read your email messages, it’s important that you reduce the amount of content that could be considered spam. Keep images to a minimum and eliminate any overt sales language. Be sure that the content you are sending to your subscribers has a purpose and provides some value. All of this will help you optimize email marketing delivery rates.

Measuring Email Marketing Performance

After you’ve implemented your email marketing campaigns, it’s important to measure your performance. By tracking different metrics, you can determine which email campaigns are most successful.

Here are just a few metrics that you will want to track with your email marketing campaigns:

  • Open Rates – This is the percentage of people who have opened your emails. There are a number of reasons why a subscriber might not open your emails. They may not find the content relevant, are not engaged by the subject line, or simply get too many emails.
  • Clickthrough Rates – This is the percentage of your email subscribers who clicked on at least one of the links within your email. The clickthrough rate helps you determine what types of content your subscribers are interested in.
  • Conversion Rates – This is the percentage of your email recipients who have clicked on a link inside your email message and completed a desired action, whether that is to make a purchase, download an e-book, fill out a lead form, etc. This helps you determine how successful your content is at driving conversions.

Once you have tracked these metrics, you’ll be able to see which of your email campaigns are top performers. Then, you can replicate this success by using similar tactics in future campaigns.

For instance, if you find that a campaign on a certain topic has driven more clickthroughs and conversions, then you may want to create more content on this topic for future email marketing campaigns. Similarly, if you find that more people are opening the emails that contain special promotions, this may be a sign that you should increase the frequency of these types of emails.

The only way to know for sure what works and what doesn’t is to test different types of emails with your subscriber list. For instance, you might send out an email with the same content but two different subject lines. Then, you can see which performs best and use this information to improve your subject lines in future campaigns.