Email Marketing for Small Businesses: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Linkedin
  • Facebook
  • Whatsapp
  • Twitter

The biggest problem you, as a small business owner, have to face is lack of big-budget and shortage of time. You have to do marketing and other tasks all by yourself without much help. This makes it very difficult for you to focus on marketing your product. At times, you must wonder if there is an easier and better way to acquire business leads in 2021. Fortunately, there is - Email Marketing.

In this guide, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of email marketing for small businesses and how you, as an SMB owner, can leverage email marketing to acquire and nurture leads.

Table of contents

Email marketing for small businesses and enterprises

Email marketing is both cost-effective and time-efficient. The latest survey shows that companies generate an ROI of 51.52 USD for every dollar spent on email marketing. With growing internet accessibility and usage, email marketing has much potential for small businesses that need to be tapped into to fast-track growth.

How email marketing can increase your small businesses growth

Jay Abraham formulated the concept that companies can increase revenue by increasing either the number of customers (C ), the number of purchases per customer (F), or by increasing the average order value (AOV).

With email marketing, you can influence all three growth multipliers at once.

The number of customers (C )- Email outreach for brand-building and turning your subscribers into customers.

Examples of campaigns: Welcome or onboarding email campaigns, or newsletters

The number of purchases per customer(F)- Email automation campaigns based on customer actions for promotion and sending valuable content to customers for building brand loyalty.

Example: Abandoned cart or browse abandonment campaigns, Product or service update, newsletters, emails containing content like case studies or tips and tricks.

Average order value(AOV)- Upsell and cross-sells through promotional emails, product recommendations, win-back emails, offer emails.

Email can also increase lifetime value (LTV) and customer retention through win-back campaigns. To understand why email marketing is effective for small businesses, let’s take a deep dive into the benefits of using email marketing to promote and sell as an SMB/SME owner.

Benefits of email marketing for small business

Here are the benefits that small businesses can enjoy by adopting email marketing.

Email marketing helps you scale up customer-acquisition

With a proper email marketing strategy, small businesses’ interested leads can be turned into users, inactive users into regular users, and active users into customers. Email marketing is a scalable process. You just need an email list, a well-written, and designed email, and you can connect with all of them with one click.

Related guide: 11 Email Acquisition Strategies to Grow Your Subscriber Database

Email marketing has a low cost per customer.

Most companies spend about $750 to $1,500 per month on SEO, while social media plans tend to range from around $4,000 to $7,000. Email, on the other hand, has low to no setup costs, and while the price varies on the factors like the number of emails sent the size of the contact list, and the email platform pricing. Small and mid-sized companies can get started with email marketing from anywhere between $9 to $1000.

Email marketing helps in building personalized relations with customers

Email is the top channel for personalized marketing from recipient name to industry and pain point, while segmentation allows for more contextualizing. Email marketing helps small businesses create brand loyalty and increase leads conversion by personalized marketing.

Email marketing gives you more ownership than other marketing channels

Email provides you control over your platform and your audience, making email marketing more reliable and stable.

  1. Platform: Email marketing does not depend upon centralized networks or third parties, nor are you subject to any usage fees.

  2. Platform algorithm: Another hurdle for small businesses is that they are left out in the cold if they don't catch up with the change in social media or search engine algorithms, but email marketing has no such problem.

  3. Audience: You own your contact list and can access it no matter where you are or which service provider you use. You can move your database between platforms based on your needs.

Related guide: 13 Benefits of Email Marketing For Businesses in 2022

Challenges of email marketing for small business

Despite the many benefits of using email marketing, there are a few hurdles that you need to jump. We have mentioned the challenges and how to resolve them in the following.

Challenge 1: Delivery issues

Reaching the inbox of your subscribers is one of the most significant challenges for an email marketer.

This problem can be solved by:

  • Remove unresponsive individuals

  • Testing and validating email ids before sending

  • Having an active sun-set policy

Challenge 2: Avoid being spammy

Landing in the inbox and not the spam folder is a huge challenge. This can be resolved by:

This problem can be solved by:

  • Sending relevant emails

  • Regularly update your mailing list

  • Make it easy for the users to unsubscribe to avoid spam complaints

  • Domain warmup

  • Monitor and work on your sender's reputation

Challenge 3: Design problems

One of the major challenges of email marketing for small businesses is that people receive emails on different gadgets. Hence, the responsive design is a must so that readers can view the email comfortably, regardless of the device they are using. However, creating responsive design requires development work which could be a huge challenge for you.

This problem can be solved by using an email marketing platform that can help you create responsive emails without any hassle.

Creating an email marketing funnel

An email funnel is a process and journey to convert your target audience to leads to customers through a mix of informative and promotional content.

The biggest disadvantage small businesses face over large-scale businesses is the awareness of their product among regular folks. Hence, it becomes even more important to have a detailed and robust email marketing funnel for small businesses.

Below are the four stages for building an email marketing funnel:

Steps to create email marketing funnel

Stage 1: Building your email list

An email list generally refers to the subscriber base you build through your website or blog. Building your email list is the first and most important stage of an email marketing funnel.

Some of your contacts may unsubscribe or opt-out of your email campaigns if your emails lack relevance or interest in your product.

Email list enables you to keep your potential customers engaged and nurture them through their journey. While email marketing strategy and campaigns generally revolve around conversion, growing your email list is an important goal that calls for its own strategy and plan.

Learn more about increasing your email list.

You can generate leads in two ways.

1. Add opt-in forms on the website or dedicated landing page The landing page educates your viewers about you and your work. It gives them a fair idea of what value you can add by email communications. Hook up the form to your email campaign.

2. Lead magnets (ebooks. Checklists. Newsletters, etc.) A lead magnet is a free service that is provided to gather data from your viewer. Examples of lead magnets: ebooks, checklists, newsletters, product samples, case studies, surveys, and polls.

Stage 2: Nurture your leads

Once you get a lead, you should keep engaging and nurturing them by sending them the most relevant and personalized information. Lead nurturing helps you gain their trust and increase the chances of them becoming paying customers.

Stage 3: Convert leads into customers

If your customer has crossed the first two stages, it is highly likely that they will become a customer. To ensure that, you can give them time-sensitive offers, send them emails about the products they are interested in, etc.

Stage 4: Retention of customers

Being an SMB, you can’t miss out on any customer. So it is important to convert your occasional customers into regular customers. You can do these things to convert every customer to a regular customer:

  • Good customer support

  • Keep your customers engaged and updated about your product

  • Offer incentives to them for being loyal customers

Setting up your email marketing engine.

If you’re new to email marketing or not too well versed, we suggest you start with some basic material that can bring you up to speed in no time.

If you understand the ins and outs of email marketing, we can skip right to set up your email marketing engine. To set up a robust email marketing channel for your business, we recommend you follow six easy steps:

  1. Create your email strategy and plan

  2. Choose an email marketing platform

  3. Set up an email campaign

  4. Tracking and Optimization

Step1: Create your email strategy

Failure to plan is a plan to failure.

Defining your strategy and plan in the early stage of email marketing is very important for SMBs as they have very little time at hand and no money to waste. Here are points your email strategy should address.

  • Email marketing goals

    Email marketing goals are the targets you want to achieve from your campaign. Without goals, you will not have a clear path to follow, reducing the ROI of email marketing campaigns for your business.

  • Target audience

    The target audience is the group of individuals your campaign is aimed at. These individuals are most likely to convert to actual customers based on the targeted email campaign you send. Finding your targeted audience and marketing your product to them only saves time and resources, which becomes crucial when you are an SMB.

  • Types of emails

    The type of email you should send depends on the type of your small business. Each email type appeals to different segments of the audience. Some of the different types of email are:

    1. Email newsletter

    2. Promotional emails

    3. Transactional emails

  • Frequency of campaigns

    The frequency of your emails mainly depends on your target audience, the marketing strategy and the type of business you own. Therefore, finding the right frequency of emails is very important for a successful marketing campaign.

  • Follow up plan

    You should have a plan to follow up for optimal conversion. Statistics show that only 20% of the leads are followed up, resulting in a low customer conversion rate and being an SMB, you can’t afford to miss out on any lead/customer. Chalk out a strategy over a period of time for sending different campaigns, as per your business requirements, customer profile, and journey.

Step 2: Choose an email marketing platform

Getting the best result from your email marketing campaign while saving time and money is the most important goal for an SMB. Email marketing platforms are meant to help you with your goals in the most efficient way. However, every SMB requires different features based on the domain of the business. So it becomes important for SMBs to find the perfect email marketing platform for them. Below are the factors/features you should consider as an SMB owner while choosing an email marketing platform.

  • Cost-effectiveness of the platform

  • Number of emails you want to send and number of emails the platform allows you to send in a month

  • Does the platform have a drag and drop email builder?

  • How the platform helps you in list management?

  • How the platform helps you in segmentation and personalization?

  • Customer support of the platform

Step 3: Set up an email campaign

An email campaign is a series of emails created to achieve a particular outcome.

Here are steps to create a simple email marketing campaign:

  • Start with outlining the goals of your email campaign.,

  • Choose an email template or build from scratch.

  • Create the content of the emails.

  • Comply with regulations to avoid going into the spam folder

  • Test the emails

  • Schedule the emails according to the plan.

  • Measure your results

Deep dive into creating your email campaign.

Step 4: Tracking and Optimization

Tracking your email marketing metrics helps you find out how successful your marketing campaign is. In addition, tracking enables you to understand which strategy works, and as per the success rate, you can optimize your marketing strategy and get the best results.

Witness growth in your business with email marketing

Email marketing is a an ideal customer acquisition channel for small businesses with one of the highest returns on investment in the marketing domain. Email marketing has both benefits and challenges, but the benefits outweigh the challenges. Moreover, the challenges can even be overcome by simply following a few practices regularly. We at Mailmodo can help you with everything email marketing-related. Sign up with us and schedule a demo whenever you like!

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Sign up now and send 10k free emails/month. Sign up here.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

Send 10k free emails/month