Small Business Email Marketing: 7 (Easy) Tips for Growth

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Do you want to improve your small business email marketing strategy?

As a small business, email marketing can be one of your biggest assets. But let’s be honest: it can also be a difficult code to crack.

That’s because you’re probably working with a limited budget, and a smaller team, and your “to-do” list is already loaded to the brim.

So how can you possibly find the time to make your email marketing campaigns more profitable?

That’s the question we’ll be covering today. We’ll share 7 easy tips for starting a successful email marketing campaign from scratch.

The best part is that it won’t take hours of time or a large investment.

But before we dive into the list, let’s get clear on why email marketing is so crucial to the success of your small business.

Does Email Marketing Work for Small Business?

As a small business owner, you may be wondering, “Does email marketing even work for small businesses?”

After all, when a larger company has hundreds of thousands of pageviews a month, it’s much easier to grow a large and profitable email list, right?

In some ways, yes. But that doesn’t mean email marketing is only for the “big guys.”

Instead, email marketing can be one of the biggest needle-movers for companies of every size. This is true whether you’re a team of 1 or a team of 1,000.

That’s because the advantages of email marketing are undeniable and not dependent on company size. These include:

  • Owning Your Traffic: Unlike social media or SEO, you won’t have to worry about changes in algorithms killing your traffic. With email, your list belongs to YOU.
  • Saving Money: The cost of entry for email marketing is very low. In fact, you can start email marketing for free.
  • Generating Passive Income: Once you create a profitable email series, you can leave it on auto-pilot. That means anyone who joins your list will go through your email campaigns and generate more revenue without any additional work from you.
  • Getting Results for Years: After you’ve turned your email series on auto-pilot, you can sit back and reap the rewards for months or even years.

The point is that email marketing is hands down your best bet for growing your business, finding new leads, and attracting more lifelong customers.

Now that we know why email marketing is so important, let’s look at 7 (easy) tips to get you started today.

Small Business Email Marketing: 7 Tips

Before diving into the list, we should mention that one of the hardest parts of email marketing is growing your list.

If you can solve that problem, everything else is infinitely easier. That’s where OptinMonster comes in:

optinmonster homepage

OptinMonster is the best lead generation software in the world, and it’s the best tool for growing your email list fast.

With OptinMonster, you can create beautiful and professional-looking “optin campaigns” in a matter of minutes. These campaigns are things like popups, floating bars, fullscreen welcome mats, and so on.

And with its drag-and-drop editor, OptinMonster lets you quickly customize your campaigns, even if you have zero coding skills.

After you’ve designed the perfect campaign, you can add targeting rules to determine when, where, and to whom the campaign should display.

This allows you to show your offers to the right people, in the right places, and at just the right time in their customer journey.

Think it sounds too good to be true? Just check out this story on how Adam Enfroy used OptinMonster to grow his email list to over 11,000 people in 1 year.

Ready to see it in action yourself? Click below to sign up for your 100% risk-free OptinMonster account today:

Kickstart Your Small Business Email Marketing Today!

Now, let’s dive into our list of small business email marketing tips.

1. Determining Your Goals

First and foremost, you’ll need to determine your email marketing goals.

This is an important step that many small businesses forget, but it’s the cornerstone of your email marketing strategy.

That’s because different goals require different steps to achieve them.

Imagine a small business owner who wanted to create an email list to get more local customers. They might have a simple signup form that looks like this:

small business email marketing popup demo-min

This would require a totally different strategy than a small business owner who wanted to sell online products and create leads worldwide.

That type of popup would have totally different messaging, and might look like this:

Trigger popup form on button click demo

It’s easy to see how the second example is warming up leads to eventually making a product offer.

So ask yourself this: What do you want to get out of email marketing for your small business? 

Do you want to:

  • Grow foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar shop?
  • Expand your brand’s sales to a larger audience?
  • Keep customers up-to-date about your business?
  • Establish more credibility with potential leads?

Or do you want to accomplish another goal not listed above?

The point is that before you start building an email marketing strategy for your small business, you need a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.

This will help you create a more effective strategy and find tools better suited to your concrete goal–which leads us to the next point.

2. Selecting Your Email Service Provider

When you’ve determined a goal for your email marketing efforts, you’ll likely want to choose an email service provider (ESP).

The right ESP is what will make or break your email marketing success.

It’s the platform where you can store your leads, create automated email series, A/B test your campaigns and get valuable metrics on open rates, click-through rates (CTR), unsubscribes, and more.

One popular option for small businesses is Mailchimp. They’ve done an excellent job marketing to smaller businesses and, as a result, have become a “go-to” option on the market.

But for all its benefits, Mailchimp can be hard to grow with. Once you start scaling your contact list (which is the ultimate goal), your Mailchimp plan can get expensive.

Instead, we always recommend one of the following 3 email service providers to small businesses:

  • Constant Contact: an excellent solution for small businesses who value phone/email support
  • Brevo (formerly Sendinblue): the perfect choice for businesses on a budget looking for a free option to get started
  • Drip: the most advanced option for eCommerce

These options will have all the features you need to build a successful email marketing campaign for your small business. They also come with pre-made email templates that you can use to save time.

Plus, all of the options above let you get started for free.

That means you can play around with different platforms until you find the one you’re most comfortable with.

3. Getting Your First 100 Subscribers

Now comes the tricky part: getting your first 100 subscribers.

Luckily there’s already a winning formula that companies of all sizes have used to grow their list of hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

And the best part is that the formula is super easy to learn:

1 Lead Magnet + 1 Optin Campaign = Your First 100 Subscribers

That’s it! The only 2 things you need are a:

  • Lead Magnet: a product, offer, or valuable piece of information that your target audience wants (but doesn’t already have)
  • Optin Campaign: a popup, floating bar, fullscreen welcome mat, or another type of campaign that grabs your audience’s attention and delivers your call to action (CTA)

When you combine these 2 ingredients, you’ll be able to quickly grow your email list. That campaign might look something like this:

iContact Popup Lead Magnet Demo

How do you get started?

Your lead magnet can be anything, including your monthly email newsletter itself. But other popular ideas include:

  • eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Cheatsheets
  • In-depth Guides
  • Lists of Tools or Resources

And many others. For more ideas, check out this helpful resource: 69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your List.

For the optin campaigns, you’ll need a lead generation tool like OptinMonster.

While there are other “freemium services” you can choose, you need a lead generation tool that’s:

  • Easy to use: Your campaigns should take minutes to build, not hours
  • Low Learning Curve: You shouldn’t need any coding skills to create professional popups and campaigns
  • Reliable: Your campaigns should look (and function) the way you want every time
  • Scalable: Pricing should be flexible, so you’re paying for features you use, not for ones you don’t
  • Tried and Tested: The software you use should have plenty of customers who’ve successfully grown their email list

Frankly, OptinMonster checks more of these boxes than any other email marketing tool available.

This becomes clear as you start reading about all the success stories OptinMonster customers have shared with us. Here are a few of our favorites:

Each of these customers (and more like them) used OptinMonster with a lead magnet to see massive growth.

You can achieve the same success and grow your first 100 subscribers FAST when you use OptinMonster.

4. Writing a Compelling Email Series

Once you’ve grown your list, you need to work on your email “copy” to develop an automated series.

“Copy” simply refers to the persuasive language you use in your emails with new leads and customers. This language should connect with your target audience and move them toward your CTA.

Your copy isn’t just limited to the body of your email. You also need compelling subject lines if you want to engage your readers.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind: your email series (and your copy) will change depending on the goals you set in step 1 of this guide.

If you simply want to keep customers up-to-date about your business, writing compelling copy is less important.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to generate more profits, you’ll want to spend some time crafting the right messages to your audience.

For that, we highly recommend you check out this post: How to Create an Effective Email Autoresponder Series.

That article will have everything you need to create an effective email series based on your small business’s email marketing goals.

5. Optimizing Transactional Emails

Transactional emails are all those “boring” emails you send to customers when they’ve interacted with you in some way.

Types of transactional emails include:

  • Purchase confirmations
  • Shipping details
  • Order summaries
  • Resetting lost username/password information
  • Suspicious login attempts
  • And more…

Most small business owners find an ESP that has these messages written for them and let the default messages go out to customers.

That’s a huge mistake.

Transactional emails are a great opportunity for nurturing a new lead and getting more paying customers. That’s because of the timing transactional emails are normally sent. Think about it:

Any time you need to send someone a transactional email, they’ve literally just engaged with your brand.

At that moment, these leads are excited about your brand. They either just made a purchase and can’t wait for it to come, or they’re having trouble logging into their account, and they’re ready to be blown away by your customer service.

And you don’t need to be an award-winning author to spice these emails up. Something simple like this example from WestJet is more than enough:

Jet transactional email example

The language is more personal, a bit warmer, and gets the user excited about starting the new service.

Optimizing your transactional emails can give your small business a huge advantage as you’re growing.

For more information on this, start here: What Is Transactional Email? (+10 Stunning Examples).

6. Tracking Email KPIs for Improvements

There are some marketers out there who like to “go with their gut.” They write emails that they find very clever, hit Send, and never look back.

Again, this is a huge missed opportunity.

That’s because most modern email providers will give you detailed analytics about how your campaigns are doing. The most popular metrics are:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Unsubscribes

With only these 3 metrics at your disposal, you can better understand how your messaging is performing with your audience.

This lets you craft better email campaigns in the future, so you can refine your email copy until it’s more profitable.

Over time, you can start to track more advanced metrics to generate even more revenue. This would include key performance indicators (KPIs) like:

  • Conversion rates
  • Bounce rates
  • List growth rate
  • Spam complaints
  • Engagement over time
  • And others…

Tracking this valuable data lets you make smarter marketing decisions and, in the end, leads to much faster results for your business.

7. Skyrocketing Your List for More Growth

Okay, so you’ve completed all the steps above.

You now have a few hundred subscribers on your list, you found a lead magnet your audience loves, and your emails are bringing in a bit of revenue.

That leads to the big question: What next? 

From here, you should use all the tools at your disposal to target your audience even further. And with OptinMonster, that’s incredibly easy.

OptinMonster gives you advanced targeting rules to ensure that you’re showing the right messages to the right people at just the right times:

MonsterLinks GIF

Plus, you can get detailed analytics about your campaigns’ performance. That way, you KNOW that you’re not leaving any conversions on the table.

Some of OptinMonster’s advanced targeting rules include:

  • MonsterLink™: Turn any button or link into a clickable campaign.
  • OnSite Retargeting®: Create special offers to returning users to keep things fresh and improve user experience (UX).
  • OnSite Follow-Up Campaigns®: Build “drip” campaigns that show new messages depending on how visitors interact with previous campaigns.
  • Cookie Retargeting: Retarget users based on browser cookie data.
  • Referrer Detection: Show campaigns to people who came from a specific 3rd-party URL.

And much more. For a full list of targeting rules and triggers, you can learn more on our features page.

These advanced features are incredibly easy to use. Plus, they’re super effective.

Just read some of these amazing success stories we’ve seen from customers:

These are examples of people who had massive growth from using OptinMonster’s advanced targeting rules.

But, remember, the heroes in these stories aren’t professional marketers or coding experts.

Instead, they’re regular small business owners trying to expand their company, just like you.

And that’s it! These have been 7 actionable small business email marketing tips that you can start using today.

Kickstart Your Small Business Email Marketing Today!

We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, you might want to read the following posts:

These resources will have everything you need to take your small business email marketing to the next level.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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