While we often hear about search engine optimization (SEO), video marketing, mobile analytics, and other marketing buzzwords, we don't hear enough about email marketing. Some believe newer marketing strategies have killed email marketing, but they are incorrect.

Email marketing can be a highly effective marketing tool, especially for small businesses. Studies predict email usage will continue to grow in the coming years. A list of current or potential customers and an email marketing strategy can be essential to your business growth.

This article will discuss what email marketing is and how it can help your business. Keep reading to learn marketing tips for developing an email marketing strategy and how you can make the most of your marketing efforts.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a form of online marketing used to promote brand awareness and help you connect with your target audience. In the age of online shopping, email marketing campaigns can be successful at attracting new customers.

Let's say an e-commerce business offers 10% off of a customers' first order. New customers then complete a sign-up form to get the offer. In doing so, they opt-in to the email list. In this case, the small business can improve customer relations by sending a welcome email to the new subscriber.

Email marketing can target potential customers, new customers, and returning customers alike. And when done correctly, it can be great for lead generation.

Is Email Marketing Effective?

Although it has been around for quite some time, email marketing is still incredibly effective. Email marketing still outranks popular marketing tools. Moreover, digital marketing experts are finding companies with a successful email marketing strategy have higher sales.

Since this marketing effort is cost-effective, businesses using it are seeing a great return on investment (ROI). Email marketing generates the highest ROI for marketers. Research shows for every dollar spent, email marketing has a $44 ROI.

As you can see, an email marketing strategy can be impactful for your small business. So, what makes email marketing effective for small business owners? Well, it's much more than adding a carefully crafted subject line.

Reach (Almost) Everyone

Although the use of social media is on the rise, only 72% of adults use a minimum of one social media site. For this reason, email is a great way to engage with potential customers. Marketers recommend encouraging customers to share as much as possible. Offering specials, new products, and discounts is a great email marketing strategy to encourage your customers to share with friends.

Life Span

Although social media sites come and go, email is here to stay. Think back to less than a decade ago. One day, Vine was a popular social media site, and then it vanished. Years later, TikTok has taken over. Throughout all of this, email hasn't gone anywhere.

Real-Time Communication

About 54% of all emails are viewed on mobile devices. Many times, we see a notification pop up on our phones and immediately react. Successful marketers know this and will place specific call to actions (CTAs), driving traffic to their websites. This has proven very successful, as more than 25% of last year's sales can be attributed to email marketing campaigns.

Marketing Automation

Email marketing automation allows small businesses to send relevant and personalized email campaigns to subscribers. For example, remember the welcome email the e-commerce business sent to the new subscriber? It was an automated email.

Email automation saves time while also enabling you to target subscribers. As a small business owner, it can prove difficult to send emails to new subscribers as your business grows. For this reason, automation features can help improve your email marketing strategy.

Connect With Your Target Audience

Email marketing campaigns help you stay connected with your target audience and keep them informed of what's happening with your business. Virtually everyone has an email account, and many of us are glued to our devices. Email is convenient and an easy place to start increasing brand engagement.

Email marketing also tends to be more intimate. Building customer trust by showing them who you are can be a great way to foster relationships.

Easy to Use

In the past, email marketing platforms were difficult to use. This made it necessary to hire email marketers, spend a great deal of time learning the ropes, or completely ignoring email marketing.

Today, the story is different. Email marketing platforms have evolved, making it easier than ever before to send professional emails. In fact, you might find sending an email newsletter is easier than ad campaigns on social media.

Access to Key Metrics

Being able to measure the success of a marketing strategy is important. As a small business, it's especially important because you have to wear many hats.

With accurate metrics in hand, you can track the success of your email marketing campaign in little time. Most email marketing tools will show you key metrics so you'll have a better understanding of how your marketing efforts are working and what you can tweak.

Most email marketing tools track:

  • Bounce rate: A bounce rate tells you how many emails weren't delivered. It's rare if an email marketing campaign has a 100% deliverability rate. The bounce rate is usually about 2%.
  • Delivery rate: This metric tells people the percentage of emails delivered. Good email marketing campaigns usually have a delivery rate of 95% or higher.
  • Unsubscribe rate: This is the number of people who've unsubscribed to your emails. An unsubscribe rate of below 0.5% is considered good.
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR): The CTR is a metric measuring the number of people who clicked on the CTA within the email. Consistently looking at the CTR can tell you how effective your current email marketing strategies are or if you need to step up your game. Most marketing experts agree successful email marketing campaigns have a CTR of 20% to 30%.
  • Open rate: The average open rate shows how many people opened an email compared to the number of emails delivered during the email marketing campaign. A good open rate is usually between 15% and 25%.

Is Email Marketing Expensive?

What's better than reaching large numbers of potential customers for less than a penny per message? Not much.

With low prices and significant ROI, email marketing strategies can prove quite cost-effective for small businesses with lower marketing budgets.

Although email marketing has a great ROI, there are additional costs to consider. Many email marketing solutions charge monthly. Aside from providing you with a way to connect and build customer relationships, email marketing platforms also provide marketing tools to simplify the process.

Even though most email marketing solutions are costly, many platforms offer affordable pricing:

ActiveCampaign Starting at $15 per month
Mailchimp Starting at $9.99 per month
Sendinblue Starting at $25 per month
Omnisend Starting at $16 per month
Moosend Starting at $10 per month
Constant Contact Starting at $20 per month
MailerLite Starting at $15 per month
GetResponse Starting at $15 per month
Drip Starting at $19 per month

In addition to paid plans, many email marketing platforms offer free plans. For example, ConvertKit and AWeber offer basic free plans. They also offer paid plans for more advanced features.

How Can Small Businesses Use Email Marketing?

Having an email marketing strategy will help your business. Although many assume email marketing is only for midsize to large businesses, this is simply not the case.

One of the first things you should consider is the type of email content you plan to send. The content you choose to send should relate to your small business. In virtually every case, an email newsletter is a good place to start, but you can take it a step further.

Depending on your industry, consider sending:

  • Transactional emails: Transactional emails are best for small businesses with a need to send appointment notifications or e-commerce receipts.
  • Loyalty program: If your business offers loyalty programs to returning customers, you may consider sending emails to these customers.
  • Seasonal emails: Regardless of your industry, sending a holiday message or announcing special events can be helpful.
  • Promotional emails: Send emails regarding a sale, new blog, or an upcoming webinar.

The best email marketing is targeted. Instead of sending mass emails to a large email list, you should send smaller, more targeted emails. By segmenting email contacts into smaller groups with similar interests, you can personalize your approach. All in all, segmentation helps you create and send impactful messages to your subscribers.

Personalize your email marketing strategy by breaking contacts up according to:

  • Past purchase behavior (whether they purchase during sales/promotions, preferred product category) and number of purchases
  • Email engagement (do they click on your emails or hardly ever open an email?)
  • Loyalty (returning vs. new subscribers)
  • Demographics (age group, geography, gender, etc.)

Once you've segmented your subscribers into different email lists, you can factor in the design. Even though it is often overlooked, the design of your emails is incredibly important. For instance, where do you plan to place a CTA? Email marketing campaigns usually have buttons to send the reader to a particular landing page. For this reason, you want to make sure the CTA button is clear. When done correctly, placing a CTA in your emails can improve conversions and click rates.

How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Service for Your Small Business

As technology evolves, so does email marketing. Using the right marketing tools can streamline your marketing efforts. There are several great email marketing platforms designed with small businesses in mind, so how do you choose the best?

For an e-commerce business, you can start looking at email marketing platforms designed for online stores. The best email marketing platforms for e-commerce businesses include Mailchimp, Omnisend, and Drip.

The best email marketing services should include these key features:

  • Campaign types: Whatever email marketing platform you choose, make sure it supports a variety of email types (e.g., email newsletters, A/B testing, and autoresponders)
  • Customer support: The best email marketing services offer live chat, phone, or email support. Additionally, many have comprehensive knowledge bases to help you get the most from these functionalities.
  • Drag-and-drop editor: A drag-and-drop editor makes editing an email template easy. This way, you can fully customize your email designs.
  • Deliverability: As many popular email services like Gmail have spam filters, you'll want to choose an email marketing solution with the ability to outwit the spam trigger.
  • Detailed reporting: As touched on earlier, monitoring your email marketing campaign performance can help you adapt your strategy in the future and get better results moving forward. When looking for a provider, be mindful of the metrics they offer, as not all services are built equally.
  • Email automation: When selecting an email marketing solution, consider your email automation needs. Some businesses will need a targeted automation approach, while others might need autoresponders. Whatever the case, it's important the provider you select has automation tools to meet your business needs.
  • Integrations: Your email marketing solution should be able to connect with other key applications. For an e-commerce business, it should connect to the online store. Omnisend does a wonderful job of integrating with BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce. For a blogger, it should be able to integrate into their blog.
  • Sign-up forms: Your service provider should allow you to embed or host a landing page to capture new subscribers on your website.

Keep Track of Your Small Business Finances With Skynova

Small business owners have enough to think about. Running their business, increasing website visitors, and improving their email marketing campaigns can be time-consuming.

At Skynova, we know how difficult it can be to wear every hat for your business, which is why we developed our accounting software. You can see the power of automation tools for email marketing, but what about accounting? Skynova's accounting software automates key accounting processes. For example, your income statement automatically populates, giving you access to the financial health of your small business the moment it's available.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines for email marketing and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a marketer to ensure you're getting the most from your digital marketing strategy.