Email marketing is a highly effective tool for small businesses to connect with customers, build relationships, and drive sales. As stated in Oberlo, the Direct Marketing Association in 2019 stated that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you should expect a return of an average of $42. Emarsys also stated that 81% of small to midsize businesses use email to get customers, and 80% use it for customer retention. This shows how potent email marketing is for small businesses.
To make the most of your email marketing efforts, there are some best practices you must know and follow. Continue reading to discover the email marketing best practices for small businesses.
Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses: 7 Top Ideas (2023)
1. Build and Segment Your Email List
Building and segmenting your email list is the first on my list of email marketing best practices for small businesses. Start by collating email addresses from your customers and website visitors. Avoid using random emails. Create yours, and you can do that by placing opt-in forms on your website, landing pages, and social media profiles to capture email addresses. Keep the layout simple, asking for only essential information like name and email address.
Another way is to promote your email sign-up form on social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Additionally, you can host webinars and collect email addresses from them. After collecting email addresses, the next is to segment them.
Segmenting your list enables you to send targeted content to different groups of subscribers. There are several indices you can use for segmenting your email list, and they include the following:
- Demographic Information: Segment your list based on demographic factors such as gender, location, age, and job title.
- Behavioral Data: To create segments and analyze subscriber behavior like purchase history, website interactions, and email engagement.
- Purchase History: Group subscribers based on their buying habits, including frequency, average order value, or product categories purchased.
- Lifecycle Stage: You can differentiate subscribers based on where they are in the customer lifecycle—new leads, first-time customers, loyal customers, etc.
2. Use a Professional Email Marketing Service
Effective email marketing can be very difficult without a professional email marketing service. You can use many email marketing service providers, like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or SendinBlue. These services provide tools to efficiently create, send, and track email campaigns.
Some of the reasons why it is advised that you use an email marketing service include:
- Deliverability: Email marketing service providers have established relationships with internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure your emails are delivered to recipients’ inboxes rather than their spam folders. This significantly increases the chances of your emails being seen.
- Compliance: Professional email marketing service providers are well-versed in email marketing regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act (in the US) and GDPR (in Europe). They provide tools and features to help you comply with these laws, reducing the risk of legal issues.
- Templates and Design Tools: They offer customizable email templates and user-friendly design tools to create visually appealing and responsive emails without extensive coding or design skills.
- List Management: Professional email marketing service providers provide tools for managing your email list, including options for segmentation, list cleaning, and handling unsubscribes. This ensures that you maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber base.
- Automation: You can easily set up automated email sequences and workflows using this email marketing service provider, making sending targeted and timely messages based on user behavior or triggers easier.
- Personalization: Last but not least, they allow you to personalize your emails by inserting recipient names, customizing content, and sending emails at specific times to maximize engagement.
3. Create Engaging and Relevant Content
One of the major email marketing best practices for small businesses that you should constantly practice is creating engaging and relevant content. Always craft compelling subject lines and email content that resonates with your audience.
You must understand your target audience’s needs, interests, and pain points to do that. Your email’s subject line should grab the recipient’s attention, while the headline should convey the main message or benefit. People tend to skim emails, so use bullet points, short paragraphs, and subheadings to make the content easy to read. Get to the point quickly and keep your message concise. Avoid long email messages. In addition to this, include eye-catching visuals, such as images, infographics, and videos.
Do not forget to personalize the message. Address recipients by their first name and use personalized recommendations or content based on their past interactions with your business. Note that every message must be relevant. The customer might unsubscribe from your email list if you bombard them with plenty of email messages.
4. Avoid Spam Triggers
Avoiding spam triggers is essential to ensure your emails reach your recipients’ inboxes and do not get flagged as spam. You must follow some guidelines when crafting your email messages to ensure they are free from spam triggers. They include:
- Avoid Misleading Subject Lines: Your subject line should accurately reflect the content of your email. Misleading or clickbait-style subject lines can lead to spam complaints.
- Use a Recognizable “From” Name: Make sure your “From” name clearly identifies your business or organization. Avoid generic or vague sender names.
- Avoid Excessive Capitalization: Writing subject lines or body text in ALL CAPS can trigger spam filters. Use capitalization sparingly and only where necessary.
- Don’t Overuse Punctuation: Excessive use of exclamation marks (!!!) or other special characters can be seen as spammy. Use them sparingly.
- Avoid Spammy Words: Certain words and phrases are associated with spam, such as “buy now,” “guaranteed,” “free,” and “limited time.” While these words aren’t inherently bad, using them excessively or in a suspicious context can trigger spam filters.
- Watch Your Email Formatting: Poorly formatted emails with irregular line breaks, excessive white space, or inconsistent fonts can look suspicious to spam filters. Ensure a clean and professional layout.
- Avoid Image-Only Emails: Emails composed entirely of images without accompanying text can be seen as suspicious. Use a balanced mix of text and images in your emails.
- Avoid Large Attachments: Sending large email attachments can trigger spam filters. If you need to share files, consider using cloud storage and providing download links in your emails.
Also, a Professional Email Service Provider ensures that your emails are sent from a trusted source, reducing the chances of being marked as spam.
5. Timing and Frequency
Knowing the right timing and frequency is a potent email marketing best practice for small businesses. Finding the right balance can significantly impact your campaign’s success.
Test different send times to identify when your audience is most active and engaged. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are considered good days for sending emails. Also, be mindful of the frequency of your emails. Sending too many emails too often can lead to unsubscribes.
6. Mobile Optimization
Ensure your emails are mobile-responsive, as many subscribers will read them on their mobile devices. Use responsive email templates that can adapt to different screen sizes. This ensures your emails look good and are easily read on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile screens are narrower than desktop screens, so a single-column layout simplifies the reading experience. This layout allows content to stack vertically, making it easier for users to scroll through your email. Use legible fonts and larger font sizes for body text and headings. A font size of at least 14-16 pixels for the body text is recommended to ensure readability on small screens.
7. Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
Include a clear and prominent CTA in your emails, whether to make a purchase, sign up for a webinar, or read a blog post. This is one of the best email marketing best practices for small businesses to ensure they take the action you intended.
Learn to use action-oriented and specific words in your CTA. Use verbs that convey precisely what you want the recipient to do, such as “Buy Now,” “Subscribe Today,” “Download the Guide,” “Learn More,” or “Get Started.”
Keep your CTA concise and to the point. Ideally, it should be a few words or a short phrase. Long, convoluted CTAs can confuse recipients. Also, make your CTA stand out visually by using contrasting colors, bold fonts, or buttons. The CTA should be one of the most prominent elements in your email, making it easy for recipients to spot.
Additionally, the placement of your CTA matters. Position your CTA prominently within your email. Many email designs place the CTA button near the top of the email and repeat it strategically throughout the content to maximize visibility.
Conclusion – Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Businesses: 7 Top Ideas (2023)
Email marketing best practices for small businesses help you maximize the benefit of email marketing. Ensure you get a reliable email marketing service provider, as they will help streamline these functions and make them easier. Periodically evaluate the success of your email marketing so that you can know what to modify, stop or add to make it more effective.