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Getting an email marketing plan up and running is a huge accomplishment for your small business, but your email journey doesn’t stop there. You need to move beyond the basics if you want to see amazing results from your email campaigns.

What do you need to do in order to expand your small business’ email marketing strategy?

We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to email marketing for small businesses. This guide goes beyond the basics and shows you how other companies are successfully implementing next-level marketing concepts.

Email marketing for small businesses: Next-level concepts you need to know

If you want to take your email marketing strategy to the next level, you need next-level practices. Start adding these tips to your campaigns, and you’ll start to notice massive improvements with each email you send.

Your subject lines are invaluable

The email subject line is the first impression you get to make with your audience. To avoid wasting your valuable time and effort, it’s vital to your marketing campaign that you spend time finding the best subject line so your emails actually get opened and read by your audience.

There are a couple of ways you can go about doing this.

First, write multiple headline options for your email. As many content marketers will tell you, the first idea you come up with, whether it’s an email subject line or a blog post headline, is usually not the best. This exercise will help you weed through poor-quality subject lines so you can choose the very best one.

Next, run your top option(s) through an email subject line analyzer, like the one from CoSchedule. The analyzer will tell you where your subject line needs work so you can tweak it to create one that’s truly outstanding.

Finally, try some A/B testing through your email service provider like Campaign Monitor. A/B testing and segmentation are some of the benefits of email marketing services, so make sure you use them.

Testing out multiple headlines on your list will show you what types of subject lines work best for your audience, thereby improving your open rate.

Your preview text is almost as important as your subject line

You get a second chance to interest subscribers with the preview text—also known as preheader text—which can be just as important as your email subject line. Spend some time thinking through your preheader text to make sure it helps your email shine.

This email preview text is clever enough that your small business email marketing will see great open rates.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Like your subject line, your preview text should grab your readers’ attention. Therefore, it should be short and to the point. Preview text that conveys a sense of urgency can also increase the likelihood of getting your emails opened.

You can also do some A/B testing with your preview text. If some of your emails didn’t get the open rate you were expecting, try changing the preview text and re-sending the emails. In many cases, this small change can turn a campaign around.

Closely monitor email deliverability to avoid the spam folder

Email marketing for small businesses can be a rewarding endeavor. However, if your emails end up in your subscribers’ spam folders, you may feel that your efforts were wasted.

Email clients are doing all they can to protect their customers from getting junk email. We all appreciate these efforts when we open our email every day. It’s another story, though, when you’ve worked hard crafting a phenomenal marketing email and certain email clients send it to the spam folder.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances that email service providers tag your email as junk.

  • Avoid purchasing email lists. These lists can ruin your reputation.
  • If you add links to your emails, make sure they lead where they say they will.
  • Make sure you send emails regularly. Infrequent emails look suspicious to spam filters.

Protect yourself by utilizing the double opt-in

A lot of marketers prefer to use the single opt-in option when they’re growing their email lists. Perhaps they’ve heard that the double opt-in option leads to fewer subscribers or maybe they feel annoyed every time they subscribe to an email only to receive a notification that they have to complete one more step to confirm their subscription.

Whatever the case may be, the fact is that avoiding the double opt-in can actually put you at risk of fake subscribers, which can come from competitors or hackers. Your email list will fill up, and that looks great on paper, but the reality is that your emails may not be going anywhere.

Buzzfeed uses the double opt-in and their email newsletters helped their email marketing and their small business grow.

Source: Really Good Emails

Double opt-in lets you choose quality over quantity. You might not have a huge email list, but you will know that your emails are going to people who really want and value what you have to offer.

Make sure your emails are optimized for mobile users

We live in the digital age, so your email should be optimized for mobile devices, especially if you’re target audience is under 45 years of age. Over 90% of millennials use a smartphone and nearly 30% use their phone alone to access the internet.

For best results, your emails need to be accessible to people wherever they may check their email. To ensure that your emails are optimized for mobile:

  • Make sure your email service provider offers responsive emails, which allow your emails to automatically adjust to fit smaller screens.
  • Use fewer and/or smaller images.
  • Break up your content and embrace white space for better readability.
  • Use buttons for your calls to action.

Put your email preference center to work for you

One of the most common reasons why people unsubscribe from email newsletters is that they’re receiving too many emails. You’ve probably experienced this before: You sign up for a newsletter and end up getting an email a day or sometimes more. Few people have time to read that many emails.

Setting up an email preference center will make your audience happy and help you develop a loyal following.

Penguin Random House uses a preference center for their email marketing.

Source: Campaign Monitor

While Penguin Random House is by no means a small business, your small business can implement a similar preference center in no time. The great thing about email is you don’t have to be an expert to make email marketing work for your small business.

A preference center allows your subscribers to choose exactly which emails they want to get from you. If you offer daily emails, as well as special weekly or monthly emails, your subscribers can choose to sign up for one or the other or both. They get exactly what they want, and that improves your open rate and can lower your unsubscribe rate.

The importance of choosing a send cadence and how to do it

There’s a conundrum in email marketing for small businesses: If you send too many emails, you end up with a higher rate of unsubscribes, and, if you send too few emails, you could get tagged as spam by email clients.

Figuring out the right email cadence is an important key to experiencing the benefits of email marketing.  According to marketing professionals, your best bet is to send emails on a weekly basis. However, if you’re a restaurant or fashion brand, your subscribers might expect and prefer to get daily emails letting them know of your latest promotions.

Your send cadence shouldn’t be something you guess. It’s important to find out what your audience prefers. Use A/B testing to test your send cadence and find the one that fits your audience the best.

Customize your audience’s experience through email marketing segmentation

Part of the reason why you should have an email marketing strategy is to develop relationships with your list. A good relationship requires trust, respect, and mutual interests.

If you send emails that don’t interest a portion of your audience, they’ll soon wonder why they should keep opening your emails.

Email segmentation can customize the email experience for your subscribers. You can separate your email list based on any number of factors and then send emails on topics that interest your readers the most.

Not only will segmentation reduce your unsubscribe rate, but it can result in a positive impact on your bottom line, which is one of the benefits of email marketing.

Wrap up

Starting an email marketing strategy for your business is a major step in your overall marketing efforts. However, you need to go beyond the basics and learn how to fully utilize your email platform in order to see the benefits of email marketing.

You’ll need to:

  • Spend extra time on your subject lines and preview text
  • Take steps to avoid ending up in the spam folder
  • Protect yourself with double opt-in
  • Optimize for mobile devices
  • Create a preference center for a customized experience
  • Find the send cadence that works best for your audience.

Take steps to practice these next-level email marketing for small business practices and you’ll soon reap the rewards of the time and effort you’ve invested in an amazing email campaign.

Are you ready to take action and start seeing results from your email marketing campaign? We can help with some great resources, including our guide to creating an effective email marketing plan.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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