Small Business Email Marketing (2021 Guide) 

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Have you ever heard the phrase “bigger is better”?

How about “go big or go home”?

As a society, we tend to want the biggest, the fastest, the latest and greatest.

But, what about the saying, “Good things come in small packages”?

Email marketing and email outreach software are often seen as solutions meant for big business and large corporations.

We’re here to tell you that a business of any size – big or small – can benefit from an email marketing strategy and here’s how.

What is Email Marketing?

Seems like a simple question but before we begin, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to exactly what email marketing means.

Among all the new and popular digital marketing channels like webinars, podcasts, video and more, in terms of marketing strategy, email has actually been around for quite some time and is a tried-and-true marketing method that continues to gain traction! 

It started when the very first email was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson. It looked nothing like we know today, but that simple string of monochromatic letters and numbers sparked a new form of communication and revolutionized the marketing world.

Fast forward to today, with 4 billion daily email users across the globe as of 2021 and after a year of working and communicating virtually via different platforms - including email - we see skyrocketing email numbers! 

In fact, HubSpot reports that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.

In addition, research from OmniSend analyzed 2.5 billion emails and saw a lift of 31% in email open rates during the post-COVID period, along with a lift of 22% in email conversion rates.

This is great news for marketers! 

More people are opening and clicking links in emails. Which means more ROI for you and your business.

You can see how email marketing continues to prove itself a powerful tool to communicate with existing customers and reach new leads and prospects. Email marketing allows us to keep in touch, stay top of mind and communicate our value and worth as a company - all in the inbox!

Want a better system for getting leads and clients with email? 

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Email Marketing for Small Businesses

If a large marketing budget is not an option, then email marketing can quickly become the lifeline of your business.

Email marketing allows you to collect leads and provides a direct connection to your prospects and existing customers, enabling you to build relationships, affect sales and gain the trust of your customers.

More specifically, it allows you to communicate benefits, highlight sales and promotions, collect useful data about your leads and customers and spread the word to potential customers. 

But there is a big problem.

Businesses everywhere rely on email, creating a lot of noise out there. Everyone competes for attention. Inboxes are being bombarded with messages from other companies trying to do the exact same thing you are. Breaking through that clutter and building trust to create that personal connection is key.

Keep reading to learn how to stand out, cut through inbox clutter, and increase your email marketing ROI.

Email Marketing Guidelines

Email marketing outreach is part science, and you want to find the perfect formula to reach your best prospects. Luckily, it’s a formula that can be tweaked as necessary. Here are a few email marketing guidelines.  

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #1 - Keep it Simple. 

With volumes of emails filling inboxes each day, email campaigns must be eye-catching, captivating to get and keep customer’s eyes on your message. You may have a deep, resonating message but people are busy and don’t have time to read a book through email.

Use personalization and dynamic content including images, gifs, and video when possible and make sure copy is quick and to the point. You have a few seconds to grab their attention before they click away - personalization increases the likelihood that you stay relevant and are able to connect in a more meaningful way. 

A new trend in email engagement is the use of GIFs (images that add a sense of playfulness in conveying a message). In fact, according to a Litmus’ 2021 email marketing report, “those who “often or always” included them saw an ROI of 37:1, while those who never included them saw an ROI of 18:1. 

These numbers of course depend on many factors, but you can see a significant increase in engagement and hence ROI just by including dynamic content and personalization.

Finally, don’t forget the subject line. You don’t want to be too salesy or break any email rules, but you also want to capture their attention. The subject line serves as your first impression so make it thought provoking and powerful. Remember it’s purpose: to get them to open and read your email.

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #2 – Use Authentic Messaging. 

No one likes canned copy that feels cold and impersonal. If you want to build relationships, you need to get personal. Use unique messaging that makes your prospects feel like you are speaking directly to them. 

Respect people’s limited time with short messages that get to the point and show how you can help solve a problem or fulfill a need better than anyone else. 

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #3 - Timing is Everything. 

We wish this were an exact science, but it’s not. Email timing can vary greatly based on the industry, target market, product or service offering, psychographics and a host of other factors.

As a general rule of thumb “the highest click-to-open rates are 10am at 21%, 1pm at 22%, and spike near 6pm.”1 The key is to know your audience and analyze your data to let the numbers tell your story. 

Then, follow up frequently. People get busy, including your prospects. They may have the best of intentions of reaching out, then life happens, and they never do. 

Follow-up with your small business list frequently to stay top of mind, maintain awareness and influence behaviors and future purchasing decisions.

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #4 – Quality vs. Quantity. 

You want to keep your existing customers engaged but you don’t want to bombard, over message or worse be sent to spam. 

Start with looking at the competition to see what they’re doing and do it better and that could mean sending less emails. In terms of email engagement, quality will always win over quantity.

Data is golden when it comes to sending email. Look at the data and see when you have the most open and click through rates and use this as a guide.

It will be different for every business, but your data will tell a story so listen and adjust accordingly.

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #5 – Establish Authority. 

Often times, customers are looking for expertise, advice and knowledge. Providing this outlet through your email strategy will keep existing customers engaged and coming back for more. 

Give them content and resources that will answer their questions, spark interest and pique their curiosity to look forward to the next email. 

One option is to create serialized content that entices customers to look for the next article in a series of helpful tips and opens the door to increased email sends. 

Email Marketing Guideline Tip #6 – Emotional Appeals. 

Create a relationship with customers through email by teaching customer’s a valuable lesson, celebrating birthdays, achievements, milestones and make it about them. 

Get personal. Be their friend. Give them something free – a template, a download, a book, a class, content … make them feel noticed. 

Create a habit and give them something to look forward to. Be personal and use their name, create a story and use these tools to connect with them emotionally.

 Use persuasion and testimonials from other happy customers. Focus on retention by creating loyalty programs that reward customers for staying connected, and referral programs to extend your reach even further.

Want a better system for getting leads and clients with email? 

Sign up for my upcoming workshop that goes step by step through our lead generation process that has been so successful in our clients’ businesses -- the L.E.A.D. Blueprint.  Sign Up Here Free!

Which Email Metrics Should You Track?

The beauty of email marketing is that it’s trackable and shows measurable results, but you have to understand the terminology to measure success.

  • Open Rate – the number of customers that opened your email campaign. Open rates are great but opening and deleting are not, so you have to make sure your email is engaging.
  • Click-to-Open Rate – this helps you identify the number of customers that clicked on any links within the email and helps you identify relevant information to be used in future campaigns.
  • Click-Through Rate – this determines the number of customers that actually opened a link or image within the email to find out more. These are your engaged customers and help you to determine if your email marketing tactics did the trick.

Small Business Email Marketing: Key Takeaways and How Connect 365 Can Help

Once you’ve got your killer creative ready to go and your streamlined, laser focused email list is ready, the next crucial step in the entire process is to make sure you show up in the right place at the right time. You want to be front and center in your top prospects primary inbox waiting to be opened.

Connect 365 can help and our email automation software is the answer! Don’t rely on a 3rd party to do it for you and risk sounding cold or worse enter into the vicious world of spam. With Connect 365, you can send personalized emails to targeted prospects and make a deeper connection and lasting impression. From email automation to lead management to social media automation, our goal is to help you build relationships and create lifetime customers. Request an invite and let’s connect today!

Your Turn

Learn How to Implement The Trust Equation in My Upcoming Lead Blueprint Workshop

Want a better way to get leads and clients? Sign up for my upcoming workshop that goes step by step through our lead generation process that has been so successful in our clients’ businesses -- the L.E.A.D. Blueprint. 

In the workshop, I’ll be teaching:

  • Exactly what an Authority Leadership Platform is and how you can leverage our Authority Amplifier process to position yourself above the competition, putting your business on an entirely different playing field.
  • How to target high-end prospects using online platforms (social media + email) in a unique way that builds instant trust by doing the polar opposite of what most ‘salespeople’ try
  • How to develop real relationships online using a highly-personal Multi-Touchpoint Messaging Campaign to naturally guide the conversation towards an appointment
  • The right way to automate processes that build trust, improve credibility, and increase responsiveness in your campaigns.

Join an upcoming workshop session by signing up here!

Implementing the Trust Equation is a game changer and can propel your small business in front of more prospects, generate more leads and grow your business. 

From email automation to lead management to social media automation, Connect 365 can help you turn those cold leads into warm prospects and create long-lasting, lifetime customers. 

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