Your Guide to Effective Email Marketing for Small Businesses in 2024

An illustration of a person holding an envelope in one hand, and flying a kite with the other. Symbolically representing what email marketing for small businessesI have some bad news for you if you’re looking to learn about effective email marketing for small businesses. Most of the information out there is completely inapplicable to a small business. And in fact, you’re more likely to just end up with overwhelm than see any actual results if you tried to apply it.

The good news is that we put together this really nice guide about what you need to focus on as a small business. It has everything you need, and nothing that you don’t need. This is all the highest-leverage stuff you need to focus on in order to start seeing results, fast.

Beat your competitors by doing this one thing to build your list

If there’s one big mistake that small businesses make, it has to be this one. They are way too shy about asking for email addresses. It’s almost like they’re afraid to get prospective customers into an email list. 

The good news is that if you’re a small business, most of your competitors are like this, so improving this is an easy way to crush the competition. All you have to do is just decide to leverage every possibility to ask for an email address that you can.

And I don’t mean just the obvious stuff like having a newsletter signup form on your website. You have to think about every type of inquiry you have from customers, and leverage that to get an email address. 

For example, do you have prospective customers who ask lots of questions? Well, ask them to book a consultation, and use booking software that asks for their email address. We recommend Calendly, and actually have a really nice Calendly integration.

There is absolutely no reason to answer a bunch of questions “for free”. And when I say for free, I mean to people who have invested nothing. The very least they can do is provide an email address.

Same thing if people DM you on social media channels. Have ready-made answers that direct them to some sort of an email-signup page. It could be the previously mentioned consultation booking page, or some sort of a super-valuable lead-magnet that you can pitch to anyone that asks you about anything.

And it’s not just about inquiries. You also have to leverage any type of content you ever produce. For example, do you have a social media content strategy? Use every opportunity, and every posting to lead people to your email list. 

Same thing if you post any videos to YouTube. Every video should mention and call people to register for your email newsletter. In fact, that should be the main call-to-action of any video you upload.

Avoid this one mistake at all costs, it will ruin your reputation

Look, I get it, when you run a small business, time is a luxury, and most everyone in your business is wearing multiple hats. It almost seems like there is never enough time to implement all of the ideas you want to. And email marketing often ends up as one of these things that you “don’t have time to get around to”.

But here’s the thing, there is one thing that you must do to make sure that your email lists are not ruined, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. If you fail to do this one thing, you’re setting up a bad reputation which is hard to recover from.

What am I talking about? It’s when business owners decide to start an email list, get an email sending account, and start adding people to a list, but never email them! I usually hear things like “We don’t have time to build out our email marketing now, we’re just collecting addresses for now” and “We’ll email them when we have something to say”.

So what’s the big deal here?

Well, when you do eventually “come around to it”, the people you do email will mark you as a spammer. They will not remember who you are, or that they gave you an email address. This will tarnish your reputation, ensuring that many of your future emails end up in the spam folder. Not a good thing, and not easy to recover from.

The solution is simple. Setup a simple welcome sequence. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be amazing. Any welcome sequence that you implement today will massively boost your chances of doing well when you do get around to emailing subscribers more often.

If you want an easy starting guide to welcome emails, check out Best Practices for Welcome Emails, where we keep it really simple. And if you’re more ambitious, you can also check out our Guide to Creating a Welcome Email Series.

Commit to consistency over intensity

I indirectly hinted at this issue in the previous point, but I find that many small businesses put off implementing email marketing due to an insidious misunderstanding. They believe that email marketing has to be exceptionally amazing, and they should only do it when they have time to do everything the professional marketers say you have to do.

Here’s the deal – even your bare minimum effort can get you better results than waiting until you can do amazing “pro email marketer stuff”.

At least if you’re investing it in the high-leverage, important stuff. You know those couple of things that get you 90% of the results in email marketing, as opposed to the hundred other things which barely make a difference.

The same thing is true when it comes to volume. Even if you commit to only sending a simple email every 2-3 weeks, you’ll do so much better than waiting until you have time to become a “professional email marketer grandmaster that sends multiple emails a week”.

Prioritize consistency over intensity. You can always increase volume and utilize fancier features later on. To start with, you can set up a simple welcome email (or even better, a welcoming sequence), and start broadcasting twice a month.

This will put you light years ahead of your competitors. You can always get fancier and increase the volume over time. But you do need to start doing the bare minimum from day one.

Have a goal with each email sent

This is another common mistake I see with small businesses, a lack of direction. I can’t blame them though, as most advice on email marketing is overwhelming. It’s difficult to know where to start, and what to focus on.

This is why at Emercury we prioritize avoiding the overwhelm, and focusing on what matters. You can start with a goal-driven email marketing strategy from day one, even if you’re a small business. And here’s how you do that.

Understand that each email needs to be sent for a reason. It might be getting people to check out your product catalog, it could be simply welcoming people to your email list, or any reason at all. But there has to be a goal that the email seeks to accomplish. It could be to inform people, entertain people, sell them something, or simply provide value.

Sending emails just for the sake of sending emails will backfire on you. And I would rather that you start off sending fewer emails that have a clear goal, rather than just sending as much email as possible. You can always get fancier and increase the volume later on. But never sacrifice clarity of goal for volume.

Avoid the overwhelm, don’t try to do everything at once

The unfortunate fact is that most marketing advice out there is not written for you as a small business. Most of it is written assuming that you have unlimited resources and teams at your disposal. In other words, most advice out there is written with enterprise Fortune 500 companies in mind.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed looking at everything you “should do” when implementing email marketing, this is why. Here’s the good news though, you don’t need to implement every little detail and fancy feature you read about.

If you implement the basics (consistently) you will beat your competitors and really see great returns on your investment. Instead of trying to implement everything, focus on the things we discuss in this guide, and understand that you can implement the rest over time.

Implement personalization from day one

Just like everything else on this list, personalization is one of those things that can be overwhelming if you focus on the wrong things. Nowadays, we have some really advanced features and ways to personalize that can seem overwhelming to a small business. 

However, again, the good news is that you can just focus on the basics of automation, and get most of the same benefits. When it comes to personalization that means starting with basic merge tags. For example, your email can have a subject line like “Did you see this offer yet {first_name}?”, leveraging the ability to address them by name.

Even just implementing this really basic thing can substantially increase your open rates and engagement, and it’s something you can implement on day one. 

And then, you can take it a step further by learning about and implementing segmentation, in combination with utilizing an Emercury-exclusive feature called Smart Personalization

If you want a step-by-step guide to implementing personalization in your business, check out Our Guide To Personalized Email for Higher Conversions.

Leverage automation, the easy way

Nowadays it’s possible (at least in theory) to automate almost every aspect of your email marketing. However, if you’re a small business, this is neither necessary nor practical. Whilst building elaborate fancy automations can be fun, it’s a good idea to start off simple.

Going back to a previous point, what you will want to do is to first automate your welcome sequence, and keep it simple to start with. Just set it up as a simple drip sequence with each email being sent a certain number of days after the previous one.

Then, as you get more comfortable with automation, you can start utilizing more advanced features. For example, using it to collect data, tag users, create multiple alternate scenarios based on behavior, and so much more.

To learn more about approaching automation in this structured step-by-step way, see 9 Key Steps to Utilizing Marketing Automation for Small Business.

Commit to tracking your results

This is another one of those things that I suggest you start doing from day one. Looking at your email reports is not something “advanced” that you do after you’ve become an advanced marketer. It is something you need to get comfortable with from day one.

Fortunately, with a platform like Emercury we make this super simple and straightforward. In fact a lot of the marketers who move to Emercury tell us that they love how easy it is to check out their reports, and see their results at a glance.

And here’s the other thing, unlike web and social media analytics where you have hundreds of parameters, with email it’s a lot simpler. You only have to pay attention to your open rates and your clickthrough rates.

So as you start implementing more email marketing strategies and leverage more features, you can track how it is improving your results. An improvement will result in higher open and click through rates, and a less-useful-tweak will either make no difference, or even decrease your rates.

Keep it simple, avoid the bells and whistles

One of the sad things about most email marketing platforms is that they engage in what I like to call “featurette marketing”. This is where they try to trigger your sense of “perceived value” by bombarding you “all the things” their software can do. This is good for their profits, but not for your results as a small business.

At Emercury our focus is on helping you grow your business with email marketing. One of the ways we achieve that is by removing the overwhelm. We have a simplified workflow that removes the distractions and focuses on exactly what you need to grow faster. 

Mind you, we still have all the cool features and featurettes which you’ll need as you become more advanced. We just don’t clutter your experience with all the things you’re unlikely to need if you’re just getting started and need to focus on the stuff with the highest leverage.

Get A Strategic Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about email marketing strategies. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Note that we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *