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Email Marketing Guide For Small Business (2023)

There are many marketing channels, but there’s nothing like email marketing. According to Litmus, the email ROI is impressive – $36 for every dollar spent, on average. If you’re still not taking advantage of email marketing or you’re not sure how to do it right, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for your small business. 

Not to worry, though, because we’ve prepared a detailed email marketing guide for your small business success. Just follow through.

How Email Marketing Benefits Small Business

Email marketing benefits your small business in a number of ways. On one hand, it allows you to build long-standing relationships with your customers. Creating meaningful email campaigns helps you keep your customers informed and engaged. Done the right way, email marketing enables you to boost your conversion rates as well. It has the power to reach a wider audience, increase brand awareness among your leads, and eventually drive more sales to your small business.

How to Start Email Marketing For Your Small Business

To start with email marketing, there are a few steps to go through. Follow these guidelines to run a successful email marketing campaign:

Choose an easy-to-use email marketing platform 📧

If you’re managing your email campaigns manually, you probably don’t have the time for anything else. As a small business owner, you cannot afford to lose all your energy on just one aspect of your business, when you have a whole business to run.

Having an email marketing platform is crucial. What is even more important is choosing the right email marketing tool for your business needs. Here are the key features to look for when selecting your email marketing service:

  • User-friendly editor ✏️

First and foremost, search for a tool that has a user-friendly editor. No matter if you’re a tech person or not, an easy-to-use editor will save you much time and effort. This could be a drag-and-drop feature or any other intuitive editor that allows you to build your emails in a few simple clicks.

  • Professional looking emails ✉️

Once you’ve created your email, you wouldn’t want it to look cheap and unprofessional, would you? Look for email marketing tool features that help you create professional looking emails. Such features can be ready-to-use templates, or even better – layouts that you can play around with, depending on your business needs and goals.

  • Customization options ✂️

Another key feature is having customization options in your email marketing service. These will allow you to include your branding in the emails – your logo, brand colors, brand fonts, and others. It’s important to have your customers recognize the email is coming from your brand, based not only on the content but based on its visual appearance as well.

  • Responsive email design 🎨

Your emails should have a responsive design – they need to look equally good, both on desktop and mobile, as nowadays users live in a dynamic world and open your emails on various devices, depending on their current location. That’s a must-have feature of a good email marketing platform – it should allow you to create responsive emails by default.

  • Personalization options 🖌️

With so many emails being sent out every day, you need to be able to personalize yours and try to stand out from the crowd. Personalization options include, for example, the feature to automatically include in the email the first and/or last names of your recipients.

  • Healthy recipients list 📝

To keep a healthy recipients list, you need to be able to easily manage unsubscribed, hard bounced and other such contacts. This will help you have a good record as an email sender/marketer. Your email marketing platform should not only have such features, but they need to be as automated and easy-to-manage as possible.

  • A/B testing 🆎

Having the opportunity to perform A/B testing in the email marketing platform is yet another thing to consider. You might want to split or divide your recipients list and send them different emails in order to test your subject line and/or content effectiveness. Analyze what works for your small business and implement it in your future email campaigns.

  • Analytics tools 📈

Not only the A/B testing results are important. Having an analytics tool is a vital feature of your email marketing platform in general. You need to be able to track the performance of your email campaigns. This will allow you to analyze the results – identify potential weaknesses and strengths, and then eventually improve your upcoming email campaigns.

  • Deliverability 📩

When putting effort into your email campaigns, you would want these emails to reach your recipients’ inboxes. To ensure that this will indeed happen, choose an email marketing platform that has a good deliverability record and reputation.

  • Excellent customer support ☎️

Even the best email marketing platform could cause some issues, things could go wrong, or you might simply have a more technical issue that’s out of your scope. That’s when the customer support team comes to help. Go for an email marketing solution that has excellent customer support. The best way to check that is either from your own experience, or that of other customers – read reviews and ratings to find your way around.

  • Scalability 💹

If you’ve done your email marketing right, your small business will keep growing. Then, you’ll need to import more customers and/or leads into your email marketing platform, for example. It would need to have the ability to scale along with your business needs for a reasonable price and with no extra effort on your side.

  • Segmentation options 🗂️

Last, but not least you need to be able to segment your audience in order to send different target groups content that’s relevant to their interests and needs. This further increases your opportunity to drive sales. Segmenting your audience in the email marketing platform should be easy-to-do, e.g. using labels, filters, or else.

Discover everything you need for effective email marketing, all in one place with our SiteGround Email Marketing Tool. Crafted in-house and seamlessly integrated into the SiteGround Client Area, this tool is designed with your business growth in mind. With an inbuilt unsubscribe feature and a suppressed users option, hard bounce contacts are automatically filtered out, ensuring your sender reputation remains pristine. Easily segment your audience using Groups so you can send more targeted emails and increase their effectiveness. Want to see which campaign resonates more? Split your recipient list again with Groups and test different campaigns for optimal results. Once your business starts growing, you can easily increase your quota for sending emails.

Set the Right Goals

Setting the right goals for your email marketing campaign starts with asking yourself the right questions:

What are my business objectives? 

Identify what are the business goals of your email campaign. These could be:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Driving conversions
  • Customer retention

Who is my target audience?

To create relevant content, you need to first get to know your audience. You may consider:

  • Demographics (age; gender; location; education, etc.)
  • Psychographics (interests; hobbies; values; lifestyle, etc.)
  • Professional life (occupation; industry; income, etc.)
  • Behavioral patterns (purchasing and using products and services)

Based on these characteristics, you can segment your followers and start crafting relevant and engaging email marketing campaigns.

What type of content will help me achieve my goals?

Once you know your audience, you can think of the type(s) of content that will resonate with them. Here are some suggestions:

  • Informative (blog posts; articles; white papers; case studies, etc.)
  • Educational (how-to guides; tutorials; webinars; e-learning courses, etc.)
  • Promotional (sales pages; promotional emails; social media ads, etc.)
  • Entertaining (videos; podcasts; quizzes, etc.)
  • Inspirational (interviews; success stories, etc.)
  • News (press releases; newsletters, etc.)

What are my targets in regards to KPIs (what are my benchmarks for success)?

It’s important to measure the success of your email campaigns. Consider the following metrics:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

Set goals for these metrics and monitor them closely after each email campaign. After analyzing the results from these metrics, you can adapt and optimize your email strategy and future email campaigns.

Once you have set your goals, you’re one step closer to your small business success. Let’s check what’s next.

Start Building Your List

Anytime is a good time to start building your mailing list. Here are some smart ways to go about building and maintaining your subscribers audience:

Start by adding a sign-up form on your website. With the SiteGround Email Marketing tool, for example, growing and managing your subscribers has never been easier. Our new lead generation plugin for WordPress helps you create and embed sign-up forms within your website’s theme with a few clicks. If you already have an existing subscribers list, you can simply upload it.

Enhance your email marketing efforts by generating fresh leads. Easily download, activate, and integrate the plugin with the SiteGround Email Marketing tool. In just a few clicks, you can create and add a sign-up form on your site, compatible with both Gutenberg and Elementor. Customize the form to align with your brand and use Groups to segment your audience.

How would you stimulate visitors to sign up for email marketing campaigns?

Use a lead magnet. For example, you can offer some discount, free trial, or samples in exchange for an email address.

Create valuable content. This needs to be qualitative, relevant, engaging and compelling. Publish diverse types of content and do it regularly.

Leverage social media channels. To generate more subscribers, share your valuable content on social media posts and run advertising campaigns on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This way you’ll reach more people and get more traffic to your website.

Organize online and offline events. These could be webinars, onsite conferences, giveaways, workshops, and many others. Use them to encourage your followers to become subscribers.

Work with partners. From influencers to guest bloggers and affiliates, collaboration is key.

Run a referral program. Offer your subscribers some valuable incentive, if they refer a friend to your email list successfully.

Craft Effective Email Campaigns

By having clear goals and knowing your audience, you’ve already completed the first steps to a successful email campaign. Next on your list should be identifying the email type you’ll send to the selected audience – welcome email, announcement email, monthly newsletter, promotional email and/or reminder email).

Write a compelling subject line, as you want your email campaign to have high open rates. Personalize your email with first/last name greeting in order to appeal to your readers, once they open it. The body of your email should provide valuable and relevant content. Include CTA(s) in the relevant places to stimulate your readers to convert to customers/subscribers. Don’t forget to use a readable and responsive email design, both on mobile and desktop. 

Once ready with all of these, try segmenting your list and performing an A/B test. Then, monitor and analyze the results from your email campaign(s) and the A/B test. Remember to have a consistent sending schedule in order to keep your audience engaged and informed.

Last, but not least, comply with regulations. Make sure your email policy is GDPR-compliant, all your emails include an unsubscribe option, your company’s physical address, etc.

Use eye-catching subject lines

To craft a compelling email subject line, first and foremost, make it short, concise and to the point. Use it to create a sense of urgency in your email and to leverage the curiosity of your readers. For this purpose, you can ask them a question, put numbers and/or emojis, and use actionable language to spark an action. However, avoid spam triggers in your subject line, such as “BUY NOW”. You can also try to personalize your subject line for an additional impact by putting the receiver’s first name in the subject. All these wouldn’t be enough, though, if you don’t highlight the value of your email or offer.

Here are a few examples of eye-catching subject lines:

  • Get 80% off our best-selling beauty product [your product name]
  • Celebrate love with a heart-melting offer – up to 75% off
  • Are you ready for an exclusive deal? Get your free trial with [your brand name]

Remember that you can A/B test your subject lines. A classical A/B test would send Subject line A to 25% of your audience and Subject line B to 25% of your audience. The better performing one (over a certain period of time) will then be sent to the remaining 50% of your audience. You can then track their performance and optimize your future email campaigns, based on the results.

Include Call To Action (CTAs)

To make your emails effective, you need to include a Call-to-action (CTA). There are a couple of rules to follow:

First and foremost, make it visually compelling and appealing in order to grab the attention of your readers. Next, make sure to place it strategically within your email content. Experiment with different formats to find out which one works best for your small business. Test with buttons, links with anchor texts, images, etc. Last, but not least, optimize your CTA for both mobile and desktop alike.

Analyze The Results

Crafting your email campaign is equally important as analyzing the results from the campaign afterward. If the results are not as good as expected, don’t panic. This gives you room for improvement. Here are the main KPIs to monitor (+ a few quick tips on how to improve them):

  • Open rate 

The open rate represents the percentage of recipients who have opened your email.

Tip: Improve your subject lines to achieve higher open rates.

  • CTR (click-through rate)

CTR is the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email.

Tip: Improve link positions and visibility to get higher CTR.

  • Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who took a particular action (e.g. purchase, webinar subscription, etc.) after opening your email.

Tip: Improve the quality and readability of your content to increase conversion rates.

  • Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that were not delivered to your recipients (either a hard bounce, or a soft bounce / permanent or temporary issue).

Tip: Keep a healthy recipients list for better deliverability results.

  • Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who opted out of your email list after they received your email.

Tip: Try sending emails more rarely, because getting too many emails might be annoying for your recipients.

You might also want to keep track of spam complaints (recipients who mark your emails as spam) and forwarding and sharing rates (recipients that share your email’s content to a social network, and/or forward it to a friend).


Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing channels. It allows you to begin instant communication with your subscribers in order to drive new sales and increase customer retention. To make this happen, you need to focus on the quality of both your email’s content and design alike. If things are not working as desired, email marketing lets you measure and monitor your results in real-time, and undertake the necessary actions for improvement.

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Dilyana Kodjamanova

Digital Marketing Specialist

Keen on burying herself in reading and writing both technical and non-technical content.

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