5 tips to help you master email marketing for your small business

Vanessa Green
December 21, 2022

Just like people thought radio would become obsolete when TV came around, many marketers believed the advent of social media and digital advertising signified a slow death for email marketing.

Well, they were WRONG. 

Although email marketing is one of the older channels in the digital marketing space, with 3.9 billion users worldwide, it’s still widely considered to be one of the best ways to most effective marketing channels. 

Email marketing enables business to: 

  • Promote their products and services
  • Build brand awareness
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Retain existing customers 

It’s a real workhorse! Not to mention that 58% of consumers check email first thing in the morning – no other marketing channel commands that same level of engagement. 

But what’s most impressive about email marketing is its incredible ROI: the average return is $44 for every $1 spent, which far surpasses most other marketing channels. 

So here’s how you get started with kick-ass email marketing for your small business: 

1. Build a magnificent email list 

You can't send out emails if you have no one to send them to! Start creating an email list by asking current and past clients, customers and prospects to opt in. Make it easy for people to sign up by adding email subscription fields to your website, email signature, social media profiles, etc. 

Create a landing page that outlines exactly what prospects get by subscribing and why they should do it. Will they get industry insights, thought leadership, news, updates, promos, discounts, special offers, etc? You need to give them a compelling reason to hand over their email address and agree to have your emails delivered to their inbox. 

Keep your lists clean by sending emails frequently to ensure your list is cleansed and up-to-date – there are online tools you can use to cleanse email lists and for all that is holy, make sure you’re following all CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation) regulations. Luckily, most software automates compliance with privacy regulations for their customers - but double-check your platform to be sure, 

2. Segment that bad boy for maximum impact

List segmentation means dividing up an email list into smaller groups of contacts that share something in common

And why should you do that? Because personalized emails sent to segmented groups of your list are the most effective. Marketers typically see a 20% increase in sales revenue when their email campaigns are personalized.

Personalization is more than just adding a contact’s first name to the subject line. It means targeting your email content so it’s specific and relevant to their interests and needs. New customer? Offer a discount on the next purchase. Existing customers? Cross-sell, upsell or give them a loyalty discount. 

This email from the NYT is a great example of personalization for their Canadian contacts as it’s in CAD currency. 

3. Write KILLER subject lines

Much like a newspaper headline, a subject line MUST capture attention in order to get an audience to keep reading. If people aren’t intrigued by your subject line, they won’t open your email, which means they’ll never even see the body copy you spent so long crafting. So give that subject line LOTS of love. And A/B test if you can. Oh, and don’t forget the preview line too. 

If it makes sense for your brand, try leading with an emoji in your subject line. It’s proven to increase open rates. 

Here are some other ideas for supercharged subject lines: 

  • 101: Buying an office chair 101
  • Biggest mistakes: The biggest mistakes new dog owners make
  • The truth about…: The truth about buying a new mattress
  • Really want/really matters/really important: What’s really important when it comes to choosing an accountant 
  • Lists: Top 10 best avocado recipes 
  • Tips: 10 surprising tips for better sleep 

Here is what you should NOT do in a subject line: 

  • Include the word ‘free’ - gets caught by spam filters because it looks, well, spammy
  • Call your newsletter ‘Monthly newsletter’
  • Use the words ‘webinar’, ‘ebook’, ‘case study’ etc.

For the last two points, these words are boring and no one cares about the format of the content - plus, extra words take up valuable character space. For reference you have about 9 words or 60 characters to work with, so be economical with your word choice. 

Just find the hook that tells your audience, “What’s in [this email] for me?”

4. Keep email content oh so short and sweet

And the body copy? Make it short and sweet – 100 words or less. You just want to give them a taste of the pie – not the whole pie. For the most part, email is a distribution channel – you use it to send people somewhere else to do something else – read a blog, book a demo, watch a video, etc. So keep the body copy short, the headline strong and the call to action (CTA) clear. 

5. Send your email off the damn hour

Just need to schedule that email for 9 am and check it off your to-do list, right? WRONG! According to Jay Schwedelson, Founder at subjectline.com, 80% of emails get sent on the hour, and 70% of all email traffic occurs within the first 10 mins of every hour. So schedule your email to go on the half-hour, or if you’re feeling even more adventurous, send it out at a random time. Why? Because emails sent off the hour have a 20% higher open rate 

Avoid sending emails Monday morning or Friday afternoon. Late morning and early afternoon tend to perform the best, but you’ll want to test what works with YOUR unique email list to get a sense of which day and time gets the most engagement. Email marketing is ALL about testing. However, if you want data to give you an idea of what ‘good’ looks like before you get started, check out this Email Marketing Benchmark report from Campaign Monitor broken down by industry.

Get expert help for your email marketing campaign

Looking to get started with email marketing? Want help crafting jaw-dropping subject lines that result in sky-high click through rates? I can help. I’ve been running email marketing campaigns for over a decade and I would love to help you leverage this incredible channel for your brand. Book a consultation call today to get started. 

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