Email Marketing for Small Business: The Definitive Guide (2023)

Sania Khan
Sania Khan

Last updated on

April 1, 2024

Digital marketers put in a lot of effort to reach out to their customers through various channels. There may be many contemporary marketing channels, but one cannot just overlook the effectiveness and credibility of email marketing. 

Statistically speaking, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, your return on investment is 4200%. 64% of businesses across the world use email marketing to voice their marketing offers.  

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What is Email Marketing?

Using emails to conduct marketing activities and reaching out to the audience is email marketing. Every now and then, we receive emails from different brands with their products and offers. Email marketing is a two-fold process where the sender and the receiver have their interests. 

Businesses use email marketing to:

uses of email marketing

And the customers are just as involved as the brand because they want to:

  • Fulfil their need or desire
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest offerings
  • Avail discounts and other benefits 

Why is Email Marketing Useful?

Email marketing strategy is essential for every business, whether it has a virtual presence or not. It holds great significance for small businesses specifically because it kickstarts the sales process, strengthens it, and increases customer awareness regarding the brand. 

A carefully curated email marketing strategy boosts conversion and customer acquisition when a business is in an infancy stage. 

Email marketing strategy is an integral part of the sales funnel, too, because it evokes 

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Decision
  • Action

Your business requires the assistance of exceptional email campaigns  because of the following: 

1. Wide reach

Social media channels do not give you as much reach as email marketing does. Emails fill the gaps left by other channels. Since most people carry mobile phones, the mass usage of phones makes it easy to open emails right away. In this hyper-digitalized world, you get notified with a click over phones. 

Head over to Mailmunch to leverage the power of email marketing for wider reach and better conversions than other social media platforms. 

2. Inspires actions

Every message you send forms an impression in the minds of customers. By introducing exciting offers through a compelling tone, and design of your email, you trigger a response from your receiver. By asking people questions, inviting them for free trials, and nudging a sale, email marketing initiates a response from the buyer. 

Targeted emails inspire action. Target them by building customer personas, analyze their behaviors by asking questions, and use it to your advantage. 

3. Creates value

Curated news, specially drafted design, and information in the email tends to create value in the eyes of your customers. When you create value in the eyes of your audience, they trust your brand more. 

4. Room for creativity and experimentation 

Yes, other avenues or channels exist for marketing purposes, but email marketing for small businesses gives you a lot of room to execute your ideas differently from your competitors. 

Send them welcome emails when they subscribe to you and see how they respond. Send them occasional emails for developing a relationship with them.

Get creative with the email types you send, the content, nature of the emails. Test to see what works best for your business. A/B test different versions of the same email and analyze the impression each makes. 

How Does Email Marketing Work?

To understand small business email marketing tactics and strategies, we must first understand how email marketing works. Gone are the days when we manually sent emails and spent hours drafting, scheduling, and tracking the email. Business email marketing in this new era works primarily on automations.  

Small businesses must realize the importance of these elements to devise a top-performing email strategy.

Email marketing works under the following fundamental elements:

1. Active email list of prospects  

For you to pull off successful email campaigns, you need an active email list. This is a database of email contacts who have expressed interest in receiving marketing communications from your brand.

2. Trusted email marketing platform  

An email marketing platform, software, or tool helps you manage your list, design an email campaign, and automate it. These tools personalize your message according to your demographic and their behaviors to boost conversions and engagement

3. Defined goals 

Before setting out an email campaign, align your goals with your email list and tools to stay focused on your strategy and achieve the desired outcome. Email marketing strategy for small businesses is usually for goals like

create sign up forms and pop ups for lead generation

How Does Email Marketing Help Small Businesses?

Why is email marketing important for small businesses? Let us dig a little deeper into the process and the nitty-gritty of email marketing to answer this question. 

Big gains with minimal investment 

Emails generally bring in great ROI for a very little investment. It is a highly cost-effective marketing channel for communicating with your potential leads. 

Small businesses usually have low capital and means to grow and market. They want to reach the masses while keeping their expenditure low. 

Email marketing is a very popular channel for reaching the masses, retaining an online presence under such circumstances. 

Get to know your customer

Knowing your prospects is necessary to grow your business and deepen your roots in the online habitat. Email marketing paves the way for direct communication with your customers. Since it is a two-way process, the brand sends its message, and the customer responds accordingly. 

The response is then tracked, studied, and measured to understand your customer. Emails give insight through open, click, bounce, and engagement rates. 

So the purpose of email marketing is to facilitate small businesses.

Steps For a Successful Small Business Email Marketing Strategy 

To understand the email marketing dynamics for small businesses, let’s see how to use email marketing through these four steps. 

1. Build the email list through sign-ups 

To send out emails, you have to build a contact list first. To make an email list, you create sign-up forms and popups. The subscribers will then receive your emails once they sign-up for your newsletter and emails. 

2. Plan email type

After carefully making the email list, plan the type of email you want to send to your subscribers. Email types depend on your business size, needs, audience, and your resources.  

There are five main types of emails:

  1. Blast emails for general announcements
  2. Monthly newsletter
  3. Welcome emails for new subscribers
  4. Reminder emails for abandoned cart purchases
  5. Promotional emails for offers, benefits, and incentives 

Be the judge yourself to see which email is best for small businesses. For example in the picture below you can see different email types, thank you note, blast email, promotional email, and a newsletter.

3. Design your emails

Design email in a manner that resonates with your audience and has an appealing tone. A lot goes into designing the perfect email. A perfectly curated email has an eye-catching, attention-grabbing, attractive, and appealing design. 

Most people just skim through the information, therefore, add bold colors, words, and appealing visuals to stand out. Designing an email is art, so invest some time in coming up with the right design, visuals, and information.

design your emails according to your promotional goals

4. Track results

Email marketing tracking/measuring is an excellent way to learn from your mistakes. You learn from your customers through their responses to your emails. Track the performance, and if anything falls short of perfection, go over the entire process to analyze your mistake and redo after correction. 

Track the purchases and queries after hitting that send button to see whether your email marketing KPIs are met or not. Always look for ways to improve your campaign.


See how your emails perform in real time
Mailmunch offers advanced analytics to track the performance of your email campaigns, so you can come up with more effective ones.
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Benefits of Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing strategy for small businesses has multiple benefits that can help grow and scale up your business. Enjoy the following perks of email marketing and generate leads for higher ROI and sales.

1. Permission-based marketing form 

It is in bad taste to enter someplace uninvited. Sending your customer an email is equivalent to entering into someone’s space, but you should do so only with permission. The customer trusts you with their email address when they subscribe or sign-up for your newsletters. The permission lets you engage with the customer and develops a cordial relationship with a probable lead to initiate the conversion process. 

2. Direct contact with your prospects

Direct email marketing lets you interact with your customers directly through an email campaign. The email reaches directly in their inbox, their personal space. It is an excellent way of building and nurturing a relationship with a potential lead since it allows direct communication. 99% of people usually check their emails daily because of easy access to mobiles and other devices. It is highly likely that when you send an email, your customer will view it. 

3. Sales booster 

Whoever thinks email marketing is no longer an ideal form of marketing must be surprised to hear that 66% of the customers make an online purchase because of an email. Email marketing is a trigger for impulse buying, so there are good chances that the customer, if impressed by your email, will likely make a purchase right after viewing your email.

Emails encourage you to complete your purchase if you abandon the cart on your way out. Automated emails help increase sales revenue. 

4. Personalized content

Personalization helps in improving sales via emails. Targeted or personalized emails add an emotional touch to the emails. When you address someone by their name, the impact is different and affects the customer on a deeper level. Personalized subject lines have a 26% higher chance of impacting the open rate. Higher the personalization, the more the satisfaction and trust of the customer. 

personalize your email content for better results

5. Measurable impact 

The effectiveness of email marketing strategy for small businesses is easy to measure with marketing automation. When you automate the process, you get a complete analysis of your marketing performance. The success rate of the automated process is high.  Improving emails is relatively straightforward when there is a detailed analysis of open, click-through, bounce rates, and other analytics. 

6. Growth opportunities

You can mold email marketing strategies to scale your opportunities without extra strain on your budget or resources. Email marketing is a flexible process that incorporates different elements without compromising on quality. With a bit of personalization, an improvement upon the existing designs, scheduling, and other tricks, you can scale your campaigns to have an enhanced effect on the audience. 

7. High ROI  

Compared to print media and traditional direct marketing channels, email marketing is relatively cheaper, cost-effective, and has a higher rate of return. As mentioned above, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, your return is $42. This is a fair deal considering numerous other benefits email marketing has for small businesses. It is a cost-effective solution for mass communication campaigns. 

8. High customer retention rate 

Emails are a great way to boost engagement between the company and customers. Consistent communication and engagement between two entities can build a strong relationship of trust and reliability. Higher the trust more will be the customer retention rate. You can now reach your customer wherever they are, through their inbox. 

9. Authoritative position 

Your goal as a service provider is to provide solutions to customer needs and problems. By doing so, you establish yourself as the expert in your niche and go-to solution provider. Email marketing will establish you as an authority that deals in high-quality products and services. Your goal as a small business owner is to establish and maintain the authority to scale your business and deepen your roots in your niche to make an impact. 

10. Increase leads

Email marketing is an excellent medium to nurture leads and boost conversions. It works best for small businesses by informing them strategically regarding the new products, promotions, offers, incentives, resources, and any company update. It increases brand awareness which eventually increases leads and speeds up the conversion process. You can also keep a tab of bad leads and stop wasting your time on lost causes. 

generate leads through email marketing

Tips and Tricks of Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing campaigns are useless if poorly executed without a strategic approach. You can achieve your campaign goals and KPIs by incorporating the following tips and tricks for your small business. 

1. Easy register and subscribe options 

As a small business that wishes to expand and scale business operations, you have to take some basic steps to garner attention. The foremost step is to make it easy for your customers to register or subscribe to your email list. Do not complicate the process by asking for too much unnecessary information or lengthy registration forms. All you require is a name and a valid email address with a single-click signup option. 

2. Offer incentives and offers

Give subscribers and customers incentives when they sign-up for your email campaigns. They should know what benefit they will get, what value you deliver, what discounts and sale offers are running, and how valuable your business is. Incentivizing your subscribers encourages more leads and helps small businesses to expand their market. 

3. Honesty is the best policy 

Be honest with your subscribers and tell them truthfully what they should expect from you. Do not send what they did not sign up for. Tell them what kind of content, message, and information they should expect from you and how often. Be very clear about your schedule and try not to make false promises. Making false promises is the most harmful thing anyone can do to a small business. 

4. Customize your emails 

Spend some time to personalize your emails instead of blasting them with generic messages. A simple salutation with a name is enough to attract your subscriber. The moment somebody reads their name on the email, they feel an instant connection with the sender. The engagement rate is directly proportional to personalization.  

5. Easy readability and alt tags for pictures

It is unrealistic of you to expect subscribers to read every email you send. They will skim through your stuff mostly. You have to add easy text and entertaining pictures that grab attention at the first glimpse. Format your content, simplify it, work on the titles, and add alt tags for images. Use small paragraphs, spaces, and headings to seem clutter-free. 

6. Don’t overdo the process

Often companies think that sending more emails increases open rates. This is not necessarily true. Schedule your emails according to what you promised. If you promised monthly, then don’t go overboard since it will tarnish your credibility. Give your customers the option to change their preferences. Do not, I repeat, do not spam their folder. You will end up losing your subscribers and credibility. 

7. Catchy subject line 

The first impression is the last one too. This is quite right when it comes to email marketing strategy for small businesses. It determines whether or not the reader will open your email. It should have the C.U.R.V.E framework. You get it right, and traffic starts pouring in. Your email should have a subject line that sparks curiosity and urgency. It should be relevant to your customer’s demands, interests, and likes. It should have elements of value and emotion, so the subscribers feel the need to click on it and read the text.  

use catchy subject lines in your emails for better open rates

8. Mobile-responsive emails

Marketing campaigns generate conversions and increase sales. Since most people nowadays carry mobiles, it is easier to have them than laptops and other devices. Mobile-optimize your emails for greater visibility and reach. Mobile optimization improves the overall user experience. 

Use responsive designs to increase leads. More than 50% of people use mobiles to view emails, so don’t let those leads and conversions go down the drain by letting go of an essential aspect of emails. Before you roll out the final version of your email draft, test it against all devices to experience yourself first. 

9. Focus on competition

It is wise to look out for competitor’s moves. You cannot succeed without knowing what user experience your competitors are giving. Subscribe to your competitor’s email list for receiving their monthly or weekly updates. Get an idea of their tone, format, design, and overall UX. You don’t want to copy their ways and content, instead, take inspiration and ideas to ensure your content is one step ahead of them. This is a practical strategic move. 

10. Option to unsubscribe 

The biggest mistake anyone can ever do their business is not letting go of their customers. It is a good move to try and retain them but never hide the unsubscribe button for fear of losing leads. 

You would rather want to be unsubscribed than moved to spam or junk folder. Always show and place the unsubscribe option somewhere on your email copy. Those who wish to leave will leave. It only increases their disdain and irritation towards your business if you hide the button. 

So in case you are wondering how to do marketing for small businesses, this is the guide for you. 

add an unsubscribe button to your emails

Best Email Marketing Service For Small Businesses

Many tools and services are currently assisting small businesses with email marketing strategies, but the ones mentioned below take the cake.  

1. Mailmunch - The one-stop solution for all email marketing needs

Mailmunch stands out in the email marketing software list. Since its inception, it has excelled in lead generation and email marketing assistance for every business. It has evolved its operations over time to provide a 360-degree view of email campaigns to businesses around the globe. 

Mailmunch lets you:

  • Create beautiful campaigns with customizable themes 
  • Automate your emails 
  • Stay ahead of your competitors with advanced analytics and get a detailed analysis of each email campaign
  • Use hundreds of enticing and customizable themes for your email campaigns 
  • Avail exclusive white label email marketing solutions 
  • Rebrand your content through white label email solutions and stay on top of your game
  • Customize your campaigns and time them according to your schedule
  • Create an automated experience with the customer journey builder
  • Build stunning campaigns and newsletters with the intuitive drag and drop builder
  • Verify all the email address through the email validation feature enabled on forms, pop-ups, and landing pages 

2. Sendy

Sendy is a self-hosted newsletter application. It operates on the principle of trackable emails. It uses “Amazon simple email service (SES)” for sending trackable emails. It is a relatively cheap application because it offers extremely low price services with good deliverability. The SES makes bulk emails easy to send.  

Some of the notable features of this service are,

  • It sends multi-thread emails. The price quotient is $1 for 10,000 emails.  
  • Send multiple email campaigns. 
  • See detailed analytics of a campaign and autoresponders in a beautifully curated format.
  • Allows you to export segments of subscribers for the retargeting  purpose
  • Lets you see an analysis of open, click, bounces, complaints, and other charts 

With Sendy, use personalization tags and send beautiful emails with attachments to increase your customer base.  It is an excellent software for your email marketing needs. 

3. Cakemail 

It is an amazing service for engaging your audience and scaling your online presence. You can now increase your customer base and boost engagement with Cakemail tools and support. They ensure the success of small businesses aiming for email marketing campaigns. It lets you create, send, and track email marketing campaigns. 

Some  features of Cakemail include: 

  • Delivery of important emails with scheduling options 
  • Dynamic content with personalization features
  • Exclusive analytics for each campaign 
  • Mobile-responsive emails for users with different devices
  • Contact list import 
  • Forms to grow your customer base 

Cakemail's integrated business solutions allow small businesses to generate a good customer base along with a smooth revenue stream. 

4. Benchmark email

Another great tool for uplifting your email game is “Benchmark Email.” Benchmark is committed to set your email campaigns right and direct you in the right direction of growing your small business. It takes care of setting up and personalizing your email campaigns for streamlining your marketing efforts. It stresses the importance of investing in strong customer relationships through email marketing at the right time. 

Some features of Benchmark include:

  • Customized email campaigns to increase the engagement rate
  • Automated emails to subscribers
  • Growth reports strengthening your marketing efforts 
  • Seamless integrations with other platforms

Benchmark’s email suit is the perfect opportunity for you to expand your business. The efficient drag and drop builder, HTML editor, and RSS emails are some of the features and tools that ensure the success of email marketing campaigns for small businesses.  

5. SendX

SendX is an easy-to-use and affordable email marketing software. It allows you to send unlimited email campaigns, build your email lists, and automate advanced email sequences. It offers 24x7 Live Support, a free migration service from any ESP, a bundle of responsive email templates, and over half a million stock free images for your email campaigns.

Some key features of SendX include:

  • Allows sending unlimited emails per day;
  • A wide range of professional-looking and well-optimized email templates to choose from
  • A simple and agile drag-and-drop editor with easy navigation
  • Enables catering to the mobile users with optimization for mobile
  • Offers the collaborative capabilities required, if multiple users need to work on different aspects of a project
  • Countdown timers, Modal popups, and Share buttons to improve conversions;
  • A Heatmap report that gives you a ready overview of which CTAs are working and which links people are clicking visually.

If you are looking for an ESP that can provide you all the capabilities you need to implement your

email marketing strategy, you should consider trying SendX. It’s easy to subscribe with just an email

id and no credit cards are required until you commit to them.

Examples of Email Marketing Strategies For Small Business

Here is a list of creative, engaging, and attention-grabbing email marketing campaigns of small businesses. 

1. The Hell Yeah Group

A great example of a small business creating wonders with its email marketing strategy is “The Hell Yeah Group.” It offers financial services which target creative entrepreneurs. Their email strategy consists of a weekly newsletter with great information and content for readers with related interests. Below is a screenshot of one such newsletter. 

hell yeah group email marketing newsletter

2. Help Scout

Help Scout is killing it with its email campaigns. The ad by this small business shows excellent content, with correct CTA position, color schemes, and social media handles. It has the right content to grow a customer base, and you can increase your customer base while uplifting the brand. For small businesses, such email campaigns focusing on high content can work like magic in gathering good attention from the subscribers and potential customers. 

help scout email marketing campaign

Wrap Up

Email marketing by far is the most preferred channel of communication by most digital marketers. It allows small businesses to reach their desired market share and target audience using the correct tools and metrics. Any small business can make a name for itself by following some of the basics like

  • Learning the basics of email marketing
  • Understanding the business goals and needs
  • Hiring good service for email marketing campaigns 
  • Gathering contact information
  • Designing the perfect content that resonates with the target audience
  • Mapping out the basics for scheduling the content at the desired and right time
  • Tracking each campaign 
  • Learning from other organizations and their practices
  • Keeping an eye out for the competitors for your good

Email marketing is a make-or-break game for your business. Focus on your deliverables, quality of the content, and customer needs. Once you have identified what your customer requires, you need to focus on that pain point and make sure your content has enough value for your target customer. To ensure success, you may fall often, but the key is never to let go of the patience and keep trying till you reach the pinnacle of success. 

Target audiences, schedule campaigns, trigger automations—all from one place!
Mailmunch is an email marketing solution that lets you create, schedule and automate campaigns from one place.
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Author Bio

Sania Khan

Sania Khan is a content creator who has been writing for the past seven years. A content marketer by day and a poet by night, she previously worked for a large multinational and left it to pursue her passion for writing. She enjoys a good read with wit and tea to get her day started.


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