Small Business Email Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It?

Email marketing is undoubtedly a very powerful technique for small businesses to scale up their sales graphs. Unlike large corporates, these small set ups are more flexible when it comes to their brand image and their marketing strategies.

Needless to say, marketing techniques and tools for SMBs (Small and medium businesses) are being widely accepted and are in demand.

While there are various email marketing tools like email scrubbing, list building, email list segmentation, A/B testing, etc, it is important to understand the level of support that your business needs.

The article walks you through subjects like the importance of email marketing for small businesses, commonly used tools, types of email marketing campaigns, techniques to launch a campaign and some top notch tips to include within it.

Why is email marketing important for small businesses?

Data received from Statista 2020 report says that “global email users in 2019 were calculated at 3.9 billion, and is expected to go up to 4.3 billion in 2023

The Widespread Usage of Email

If you think email marketing for small businesses is the same as that of the larger ones, think again.  The truth is, small businesses unlike the corporate giants have specialized needs.

They often come with tighter budget constraints for marketing and promotion. As small businesses do not have the luxury of a bulky budget, each and every dollar spent on marketing should not go waste.

 In fact, a unique strategy is certainly needed for small businesses to stand high amongst the corporate giants who rule over the market.

When it comes to email marketing, they have more flexibility in creating their own brand image. For small businesses, the best way to build up brand awareness promptly is by building a personal relationship with the customers and the leads.

Email marketing is undoubtedly a powerful tool to personally connect with your customers.

Just imagine how amazing it would be to get an email addressed to your name from a brand.

In a recent market research, it has been shown that customers actually love to receive emails from the brands of their choice, informing them about the recent developments in business. Although social media is out there for quite some time, emails on the other hand acts as a direct channel for small businesses to reach out to the customers.

Important email marketing tools

Since email marketing is all about relationship building, there are a good number of options to choose from when it comes to the tools that are needed to make that happen.

Modern day email marketing platforms are not just about shooting promotional messages. They are packed with various features and functions to smoothen your journey.

So what are the most important email marketing tools that a small business would need to kick start their campaign?

Following are some of the important tools that you should look for in your email marketing service provider:

1. Management tools:

These include tools that offer intelligent imports from excels, CSV, API, automated email cleansing tools, category segmentation tools, online form builders, customer database building tools etc.

2. Creation tools :

These include Drag and Drop Email editors, built in image editors, dynamic and personalised content creators, ready made newsletter templates, mobile friendly newsletter creation tools, and sometimes, online survey creation tools as well.

3. Delivery tools:

These include creation of API triggered emails, advanced targeting tools with segmentation features, autoresponders, and A/B testing tools.

4. Tracking tools :

These include integrated analytics dashboards, delivery failure trackers, website analytic tools like Google Analytics, Realtime callbacks, location tracking tools, device engagements, etc.

Gmail accounts for small business

Gmail accounts are quite lucrative for small and medium businesses who have a limited set of employees.

To create an email group for a small bunch of employees, all you need is to select the contact that you want in the group and click on the “Group icon”. As your business expands and more and more employees join the bandwagon, you can add more contact to the pre-existing group.

Gmail

Similarly, it is equally easy to remove the some of the participants from the group as and when they leave the contact list.

So what advantages does creating a gmail group account have for SMBs?

To start with, it is definitely a time saver. As a business owner, you do not need to communicate separately with each employee. Secondly, it gives you the options of segmenting your lists to get better results.

Needless to mention, it helps you stay in regular touch with your client contact list, your employees, your vendors as well as your business partners

Types of email marketing campaigns that SMBs can use

Email marketing campaigns for small businesses vary depending on the type of requirements and goals of the marketing department of the organisation.

However, as an SMB owner, you need to be more flexible in your strategies and be willing to experiment with new ideas. While there are various examples of email marketing campaigns that you can use to create a brand image, there is no fixed list to focus on.

Various occasions call for more personalised and customised campaigns to fit your unique requirements.

It is also a good idea to follow the leads of certain corporate giants within your niche.However, as a small business enterprise owner, it is important that you have an understanding of your customers, your repeat clients, their needs, your scope of work, targets and outreach.

Various commonly used business email marketing campaigns include:

  • Welcome emails
  • Product feedback messages
  • Notification emails
  • New feature update related messages
  • Email confirmation messages
  • Holiday emails
  • Thank you messages
  • Personalised birthday and anniversary messages
  • Business milestone informational messages
  • Monthly newsletters for business growth
  • Gifts and discount related emails.

How to launch a small business email marketing strategy?

So now that you have decided to send emails to your customers, you need the right strategy to stir up your marketing campaign.

A successful email marketing campaign will guarantee that your customers will take action, help you get more leads, and boost up your sales.

Various studies have shown that about 90% of adults still consider email as one of the reliable means of communication. Studies have indicated that email works 33% percent better than the other channels.

Another similar study by Emarsys, 2008 says that 81% of SMBs depend on emails as their main channel for customer acquisition and retention”

Email Marketing Helps to Grow Your Business

This makes emails a perfect tool to have a personal touch with all your customers.

However, the amount of background preparation will decide whether your emails will be actually read or eaten up by the spam folder. Thus, comprehensive planning is indeed necessary to shoot the right kind of emails and target the right kind of customers to produce a greater end result.

Let us examine some of the proven steps to launch your email marketing

1. Email list building

Before you plan to shoot up those carefully prepared emails, be ready with your full list of mail addresses.

One of the proven ways by which you can create your own targeted email list is simply by asking your visitor to click on the subscribe button once they visit your website.

These days several companies are resorting to this method as the people who sign in for a newsletter by dropping their email would be genuinely interested in the services you have to offer. To grab email addresses, the easy way is to add a popup window once a user visits your website.

Make sure to clearly mention that they are signing up to receive the newsletter on email. Another effective way is through social media, where the reader could post their email on the comment section.

An exit-intent popup would be a much better option whereby when the cursor moves outside the upper page boundary, a popup window will immediately spring up, asking the visitor to subscribe to a newsletter. This is very helpful in catching the visitors who are planning to close the window.

2. Planning the types of emails needed

Once you have gathered your mailing list, the next step is to decide the type of email which needs to be sent. You can carefully handpick the type, depending on the small business you have.
Some of the email types include:

  • Email Newsletters
  • Welcome Email Series
  • Standard Promotional types
  • Seasonal emails
  • Purchase confirmation emails
  • Re-Engagement newsletters etc.

3. Content plan and email template design

When it comes to newsletters, undoubtedly, content is the king. Superior content quality is a prime factor in determining user engagement.

While writing the newsletter, it is important to understand the type of audience you are writing for. Try to write about the topics in which they are really interested and are relevant to them.

The fact holds that a good percentage of the audience tends to spend very little time in reading an email or a blog. By keeping the content simple, crisp, and engaging, can help you grab the attention of the readers.

Additionally, the email templates should be designed in such a way to make it simple and catchy. Make sure to balance text and images by an approximate ratio of 60:40 to make it more presentable.

4. Promoting the campaign

Once you start sending the newsletters to promote your small business, make sure you send them on a regular basis. Readers who have started liking your newsletters will be anticipating them the next time.

Further, it is crucial to stick on to your promise at the time of user registration in terms of authenticity and timings.  Keep up your plans on the promotional efforts to stay on top of the game.

Small business email marketing tips that you must follow

So, we now understand how to launch an email marketing campaign for a small business. What next? Do we just get started with it?

Well, yes.

But before we jump into the real thing, it is important to understand the goals that we want to achieve when starting the campaign. Afterall, it's all about getting the results, right?

There are tons of email marketing campaign examples to pick up from the web. However, being redundant is the last thing that a business would want, when it comes to getting results.

Remember that as we move towards 2020 and ahead, customer inboxes are getting more and more heavy with multiple email newsletters and notifications popping up from other companies. And some of them are definitely your competitors!

It is therefore essential to look out for new tips and tools to include within your emails in order to make them carry forward your message to the potential customers.

Following are some excellent email marketing tips that you need to take note of while launching your campaign:

1. Focus on quality:

Targeting customer engagement is the primary goal of email campaigns for SMBs. Customers no longer want to be fed with every day promotional messages that they do not find interesting.

In all probability, they are getting a big number of messages from your competitors as well.

What makes you stand out in this case is the quality of your email content. Take time to understand your target audience and their behavioral patterns. Create stuff that your subscribers want. Make sure that every email that is sent out from our end is a value addition for your customers.

2. Use sign-up forms

Needless to say, you want more and more people to sign up for your newsletter services. There are two ways to get that done.

The first one is to create a link that takes them to a sign up place. The second option is to create an inbuilt sign up form within the website itself.

In our opinion, the in-built sign up forms get better customer response than links since they provide a stronger visual presence and accessibility.

Further, it is also important to add as many opportunities to create sign up forms as appropriate. These could be linked to the CTA on the homepage, a link on the contact page, or on the web page footer.

Make sure that the sign in forms ask for email addresses of the customers before they complete their orders.

For small businesses, collecting customer data is of prime importance. Getting the e-contact of your audience means that you can approach them again with new campaigns and strategies and create loyal repeat customers out of “first orders”

3. Choose an email template that is in line with your brand image

As a small business owner, you are obviously keen to create a memory and an image in the minds of your customers.

Make sure that your emails reflect your brand image and your audience is able to instantly sort those out amongst the daily bulk that they receive.

Using consistent design guidelines like images, font styles, logo, color palette, etc is recommended. Some common website design elements may also be included within your email templates to make it consistent all over.

4. Create mobile friendly email campaigns

We do know that the present generation is hooked on to their smartphones.

As per a study conducted by Campaign Monitor, around 47% of people across various demographics used mobile applications for checking emails.

With such figures making rounds, it is important to ensure that the email content that you create or your small and medium business is email responsive.

After all, you do not want your subscribers to have trouble viewing the content or for them to miss out on the carefully chosen email template layout?

The email design must fit the screen types across multiple devices like a desktop, a tablet as well as a smartphone to give the best user experience (UX) to your clients.

Various leading email marketing service providers provide easy to manage email designs tools and ready to use email templates for creating a perfect looking professional mail for all mediums.

While you are creating your mobile friendly emails, it is also important to remember that any sign up form links are also accessible on the mobile. Afterall, a good number of people use their mobile devices to complete their purchases too. Make sure that the forms are optimised
for mobile devices.

5. Email list segmentation

As a small business manager, you already know the importance of taking care of your repeat customers.

Understand that a small business email marketing campaign is not just about shooting promotional messages every few days.

It is also about creating  brand loyalty with your loyal subscribers who have bothered to show interest in your company.

In business, relationships are one of the most important assets. Cultivate your bonds with your regular visitors.

List segmentation refers to creating different campaigns for different categories of customers. You could, therefore, have one for your new visitors and have another one for your loyal and repeat clients. The latter could include special offers, discounts, etc to encourage them to continue their relationship with the brand.

6. Use automation

You’re in 2020. Automation is the buzz word here!

Using email automation techniques for your small business can not just help you grow your client numbers but can also prove to be very cost efficient.

Automated welcome emails, automated informational emails (to let your customers know about new products in the market), automated birthday/anniversary emails for relationship management, can give a boost to your small business. Not to mention, it will save you all the time that you would have otherwise spent in creating a template, everytime you wanted to shoot emails.

7. Don’t be a promise breaker

Remember that “unsubscribing” from an email newsletter takes only a fraction of a second.If people don’t find your content relevant for a period of time, this is what you get.

Retaining your subscribers is therefore important. One of the most important tips to do that is to give your customers what you promise during the sign in stage. Be sure to give your audience exactly what you say, and when you say.

8. Get added in your subscribers inboxes

And is there a better way to be visible to your subscribers than to be a part of their address books?

Ensure that your welcome email or even the sign-in form asks them to add you to their mail address list. This will not just improve your services but will help create long term relationships with your contacts when they are willingly telling the email service providers that they would like to receive your monthly letters.

Read more about email marketing tips for small business here.

Choosing an email marketing specialist

More often than  not, email marketing specialists come as a part of your digital marketing contract. These are a group of trained individuals who work on creating the strategies, launching email campaigns, working on email automation software and sending out email blasts.

While deciding to partner with an email marketing specialist, it is important to discuss your company’s marketing objectives with the team.

Ensure that your email marketing specialist provides your business all the support like creating monitoring campaigns for desktops and mobiles, building email lists, securing databases, designing digital ads, performing A/B testing, email scrubbing, create list segmentation, follow up mails, and track the campaigns.

Read more on the the subject in our related article What is an Email Marketing Specialist & Why Does an SMB Need One? and How to Choose and Email Marketing company for SMBs

Final words

Now that you have understood the essence of small business email marketing, you can develop strategies and work out plans to connect with customers in order to drive conversions.

As mentioned earlier, try to figure out a plan which suits your small business and the type of customers who are linked to your organization. Sometimes it is better to try a blend of one or two different marketing tactics at first and monitor the results, until finally deciding the right strategy for you.

Effective email marketing has zoomed up the business graphs for various market leaders. Needless to say, it has immense potential to benefit the SMBs too.