Unless you're living in the dark ages, you've probably heard about email marketing for your small business. And most importantly, how it could benefit you. But you're not sure where to start. Great news - you've come to the right place. Read on and you'll find out everything you need to know.

Having started a business, you might already know how to entice customers to buy your products and services. And how to keep 'em coming back. But to achieve the kind of growth you want, you need to continuously attract new customers while keeping the ones you have happy. Tricky, right? Well, that's where email marketing comes in.

Benefits of email marketing for small businesses

As a business owner, you're probably already super busy running your company, dealing with admin and making sure your orders are fulfilled on time. We get it - your to-do list is longer than a BFCM queue in-store. And who's got the time to worry about marketing? Well, luckily, we do. Partnering with the pros will save you time, effort, and can skyrocket your ROI.

Into the inbox

Taking action to reach your customers in a place they visit almost daily - that is - their email inbox, is a step in the right direction. But there's (a lot) more to it than that. For the secret sauce to work, all the correct ingredients need to be added. This includes your email list, your email content and design, as well as your customer segmentation. Once these are in place, you've got yourself a pretty great recipe for success.

Email marketing can also really help you build strong customer relationships: With the right campaigns, you'll stay top-of-mind all year round. Plus, you can constantly communicate with customers about their orders, abandoned carts and more, using automated email workflows. Email marketing is also a great opportunity to get to know your customers better. A/B testing can help you discover what they like and respond best to. That way, you can send your audience the right campaigns at the right time and get them clicking 'add to cart.'

What can a strong email marketing program do for your business?

  • It can send your ROI through the roof and right into the stratosphere. Targeted holiday campaigns, automated workflows and promotions, list segmentation - all this means you'll be able to increase your revenue - and really optimize engagement.
  • It will seriously upscale your customer service - for example, you can use shipping and delivery confirmation emails and even surveys to continually get a sense of where your customers are at and whether you're meeting their needs or not.
  • Personalized communication helps with relevance. Individual segmentation helps to tailor specific content for audience segments based on many variables like demographics, location, interests, activities and the like.
  • Email marketing gives you, the small business owner, a massive advantage when it comes to sales holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

How email marketing can help you set your business apart

Regular A/B tests will help you decide which days and times you should send your emails, as well as which subject lines work best - and that's just the beginning. From design to content, there's not much you can't test (and you should really be testing everything).

And then there's good ol' automated emails. These are email touches triggered by a customer's action. Abandoning their cart, for example. Or joining your email subscriber list. You can set these up yourself or (ahem), leave it to the email marketing experts for best results.

And the best part about automated emails? Exactly that - they're automated, so once they're created, you can just sit back and watch the orders roll in. Well, sort of. It’s important to note that for flows to really work takes a lot of effort and expertise upfront. They also need constant tweaking here and there, which your email marketing agency can take care of.

The truth is, there's nothing quite like email marketing. You can put up all the billboards you want, but nothing beats that personal connection with your customers.

Customer Retention

Before any of this though, you need to get your email list in order. The bigger, the better really - but start with what you have and grow from there. Once your list is in place, you can create an automated welcome email flow, allowing you to introduce your brand and turn subscribers into customers. And even though you may be tempted to send all your email campaigns to as many people as possible, it's waaay more effective to segment your list. You can segment customers by engagement, purchase history, demographics, location and any other factors that might be relevant for your brand. This will help you personalize and streamline your content, sending your audience hyper-relevant emails that will encourage them to purchase. What's more, segmenting will also help you keep your unsubscribe rates low.

According to wordstream more than 80% of retailers regard email marketing as their most effective driver of customer retention. That's because, from campaigns to automated emails, you're communicating with your customer on every step of the journey. You can give 'window shoppers' more reason to buy, recover abandoned carts and reward customer loyalty. There's no better way to build strong, lucrative relationships with your customers.

Important considerations when you get started

So for all of these beautiful campaigns to work, they actually need to reach your client's inbox. The last thing you want, after all that effort, is your campaign ending up in their spam folder. Good email deliverability is key when it comes to email marketing for small businesses (or any business for that matter). You need to know how to circumvent the spam filters and warm up the IP when you start sending in order for your emails to get to the right place.  

Another vital aspect of any good email marketing program is legal compliance. You'd be amazed at how many businesses don't use double opt-in methods or even send their customers any GDPR/CASL communication at all. Not complying with privacy laws can result in pretty hefty fines. These laws also vary between countries, so you need to know what kind of compliance is required for your specific target audience.

What's more, you want to reach people where they are and these days, that means on their phones. Only about 30% of people read emails on their desktops. Having a kickass design that's optimized and coded for mobile is crucial to any email program's success.

Small business email marketing - ESPs and more

ESPs or Email Service Providers will help you manage campaigns, track data and create automated email flows. There are so many on the market and most offer an initial free package as well as tiered package options with various benefits for each one. 

Mailchimp, Klaviyo, GetResponse, Salesforce Marketing Cloud; these are but a few of the providers that are responsible for the millions of email campaigns flying across cyberspace every second. If you're not sure which one to choose, check out our super-helpful guide.

And once that's taken care of, you'll need a comprehensive, strategy-driven email marketing calendar. This will help you plan each campaign and flow to a T and keep track of what you're sending to who. This is where we come in. The world of email marketing can be complex to navigate at first, but there's no need to worry - we've got you covered. Chat to us today to find out how we can grow your business and help you smash your goals.