10 Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Business Owners | Magic Assistant Blog

10 Email Marketing Best Practices for Small Business Owners

Franchesca Palattao
Franchesca Palattao
May 21, 2022
A Magic Assistant creating an email marketing campaign

Email marketing is more than just churning out newsletters. To ensure sustainable growth for your business, you need to find the right tactics⁠—from building email marketing lists to coding your content. In this article, we’ll cover ten email marketing best practices for doing just that.

Is email marketing good for small business owners?

Email marketing is just one aspect of digital marketing but holds just as much value as other strategies. You can generate significant returns by reaching a large audience and retaining your existing customer base with minimal investment. This applies especially to small businesses that typically have limited budgets. 

Below are some benefits of email marketing for small businesses: 

  • Ability to personalize content to different segments of your target audience
  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing strategies (e.g. social media advertising, paid ads, pay-per-click, etc.)
  • A valuable list of subscribers for future marketing campaigns
  • A direct method of communication with your target audience and prospects

10 Best Email Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Email marketing connects business to consumers

Build email marketing lists

Your existing subscribers and potential customers are not always at the same stage of the customer journey. Some may have only just signed up, while others may have purchased from you more than three times. 

Building an email list allows you to group your target audience into your preferred metrics and personalize your content for each segment. For instance, you may send a newsletter detailing a shipping discount to subscribers outside of your geographical vicinity, while your local audience may receive one about a separate coupon.

For starters, below are some methods to build an email list:

  • Create timed pop-up ads for your website’s page. A user can receive a pop-up on the page they’re spending a certain amount of time on. Depending on their behavior or the content of that page, the ad or sign-up form may appear as they are leaving the page or after they’ve scrolled through a particular portion of the page. You can also design it based on where the user came from and their intent (i.e. the pop-up won’t show up when they’re directed by a newsletter or when they’re on a sales page).
  • Optimize your call to action (CTA). Once you’ve determined where and how your pop-up ads will appear on your site, you must create an engaging CTA. Be straightforward with the value you are offering. Instead of explicitly using “subscribe” or “sign up,” you can use terms like, “Download,” “Exclusive,” or “Featured.” For instance, Magic takes the upfront approach for CTAs such as, “Book a Call Now” and “Get Assistants.”
  • Take advantage of your social media accounts. Growing an email list is no easy feat, especially for small businesses that can’t leverage their resources due to budget constraints. So, you can try to increase your subscribers by including a link to it anywhere on your Instagram, Facebook, and other social media accounts. Places where you can place it include your bios or about section, Instagram and Facebook Stories, and captions in each of your posts.
  • Create more landing pages on your website. According to HubSpot research, both B2B and B2C companies saw a 55% increase in leads upon increasing their landing pages up to 15. Doing so gives you more conversion opportunities and increases website traffic.

Test email content through A/B testing

To ensure your content is being sent out in the way you want them to be, you need to run A/B tests.

A/B testing in email marketing is when you send different variations of your campaign to different subsets of your subscribers.

The goal is to find out which one generates the best results and then tailor your strategy accordingly. You can test different elements of your campaign depending on your goals, including: 

  • Subject line
  • Send times
  • From names
  • Content length and tone
  • Images

Use a professional email marketing tool

Some marketers start their marketing campaigns using tools like Outlook with their own company domain. However, there will come a point where your business grows big enough that you’ll need a platform that has more features.

Most email marketing tools offer automation features that enable you to personalize your content based on customer journeys, dates or milestones, and consumer behavior.

With these, you can send emails, such as:

  • Abandoned cart emails. When a visitor reaches the checkout page but does not finish the purchase, an automated abandon cart email can be sent to their inbox to remind them about their in-cart items.
  • Birthday discount emails. Email subscription forms typically prompt potential subscribers to input their birthdays. You can then use this data to send automated emails with birthday offers or codes as a gift.
  • Transactional emails. After a customer completes an order, they can receive an automated transactional email that includes their order details. This kind of email helps boost customer satisfaction and engagement as well.
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Here are some professional email marketing tools you can tap into:
  • Mailchimp is a marketing platform complete with features suitable for both small businesses and established ones. They have built-in tools that handle everything from audience management to insights and analytics. Magic uses Mailchimp to build effective email campaigns and respond to notifications automatically.
  • Campaign Monitor is an email marketing software that offers email automation, segmentation, personalization, and seamless integration with e-commerce platforms, websites, and CRMs. Moreover, their latest feature, the Link Review tool, provides alerts and updates when you have any broken or missing links in your email marketing campaign.

Mind your email length

People usually just scan emails⁠—they don’t read every word. Most people will skim the contents for any words or images that stand out. If your email content is composed of text blocks with little to no visuals, you’ll lose that subscriber’s attention in less than a minute.

Below are some tips you should consider when structuring your email content:

  • Avoid long blocks of text. Keep your paragraphs clear and straight to the point.
  • Use bullet points. The information listed in bullet points or numbered lists is easier to scan and digest.
  • Utilize headers. Use headers to break down your content visually.
  • Add relevant images or graphics. These can act as headers for longer emails, but more visually appealing to draw the reader in.
  • Put important information in bold or highlighted text. Given the reader’s short attention span, the core message of your email must be set apart from the rest of the text.

Write clear and compelling subject lines

Before a subscriber gets to read your email, they’ll have to be drawn in by the subject line first. Excessive emojis and exclamation marks with copy written in all caps are gimmicks that rarely sustain attention. Instead, consider following these tips:
  • Incite a sense of urgency. Let your subscribers know upfront that you have a sale, discount code, or any special promotions for a limited time⁠—and the clock’s ticking.
  • Take note of seasons and events. People tend to make more purchasing decisions when special events are nearing. Be explicit about the upcoming holidays to prompt them to read your email.
  • Keep it short. There is a character limit for most subject lines where, if too long, the latter part of the message gets cut off. Keeping it short also works better for short attention spans.
  • Cut to the chase. There’s no point in adding fluff to your subject lines. Be straightforward about what’s inside the email for the same reason as above.

Establish sending frequency

Your sending frequency and timing are crucial parts of your email marketing strategy that can either make or break your campaign. Send your emails too often and the recipient might just unsubscribe completely. However, the opposite may also happen.

Although there is no set standard for the most effective frequency, consistency will be one of the deciding factors in identifying which strategy yields the highest engagement. Some marketers may send newsletters to their subscribers on a daily basis, while others may do so twice a month. Take note that results vary depending on your product offerings and the industry you’re a part of as well. 

Email responses from a customer

Avoid using a no-reply email address

The allure of email marketing is in its flexibility in personalizing content. When you use a “no-reply@” sender address, you’re basically making yourself look like a bot to the recipient. Doing this effectively cuts off any potential organic communication you may have with your customers. 

More importantly, there’s legislation in the U.S. called the CAN-SPAM Act that establishes rules and regulations for commercial email, one of which prohibits the use of a no-reply email address. It considers it false or misleading information, so a violation is subject to a hefty penalty that can go up to $46,517.

Instead, create an email alias that can allow customers to respond to you. Although it may seem too personalized (e.g. you can set your email alias with your CEO’s name as an example), you can still manage your automated emails with it.

Use double opt-in

Opt-ins refer to the number of times a prospect has to subscribe. By definition, a single opt-in means they only need to subscribe once to receive your emails, while double opt-in means they have to confirm their subscription through a separate link. While single opt-in has its advantages, double opt-in is ideal for long-term goals.

Below is a table highlighting each of their pros and cons:

Single Opt-In

PROS CONS
Faster subscriber list growth Poor-quality subscriber list with low conversions
Immediate access to a brand’s content (e.g. discount codes, special promotions, etc.) Prone to risks of non-compliance with anti-spam regulations

Double Opt-In

PROS CONS
High-quality subscriber list with high conversions and email open rate Longer process for potential subscribers
Prevents fake sign-ups Requires additional confirmation to deploy email content
Provides you with more accurate data and statistics on performance

Manage the performance of your email marketing campaigns

Pay attention to your data and email marketing metrics to make decisions. It provides you with a more accurate insight into what you need to do next to improve your performance. Some metrics you can focus on include:

  • Open rate refers to the percentage of subscribers who open the email you send.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of subscribers who click on a link included in your email content.
  • E-commerce data is your subscribers’ purchase data that can be viewed in email marketing platforms, like Mailchimp, if you’ve connected your store.

Code your email template properly

Depending on the email application you use, emails may not support JavasScript and CSS, unlike web pages. Some JavaScript elements, such as pop-up windows and form submit buttons, may not function properly. Additionally, while email mostly operates with HTML, do take note that your display may not always appear the same way in some recipients’ email programs.

To mitigate that, here are some tips you need to consider:

  • Test how your HTML email renders on other email programs.
  • Take note of spam filters and firewalls when coding your emails.
  • Use an inline CSS so that your background colors, body and head tags, and other elements won’t be removed. 
  • Keep email width under 600px.

With these email marketing best practices, you can now build a strategy that can increase your conversion rates. Although these tips may seem overwhelming for small business owners, you can delegate these tasks to a trained email marketer in Magic. Check our quick guide to learn how you can get started.

Create your email campaign with Magic!

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