Email marketing strategies for small business owners.

by | May 2, 2020 | Business, Digital Marketing

image displaying email marketing.

Small business owners tend to think email marketing is not viable.

Small businesses and service providers commonly express they have neither the time or resources to invest into email marketing strategies.

They think it will not deliver results and has no feasible use cases for their business

Well counter to this, email marketing has some of the highest ROI of any digital marketing platforms out there.

According to an article from CampaignMonitor, ROI for email marketing can be as high as 4400%!

Won’t we annoy our customers?

Small business owners are also wary of email marketing in fear of annoying their customers.

If you are explicitly using email marketing for shameless self promotion then yes, you may be pushing away potential leads.

Unlike like large enterprises with wide scale brand notability, small businesses cannot afford to push away customers with spam email campaigns.

However, brands and businesses that consistently provide quality information, tips, and advice through email marketing are perceived as an authoritative helpful presence by their customers, not annoying.

It’s all in utilizing the right use cases for your audience, which can be tough to identify for your small or service based business.

How should a small business get started with email marketing?

Best yet, email marketing is very easy to manage when using the right CRM(what is a CRM?) or Email Marketing service provider. Using email marketing optimally for your small business has a variety of benefits, all dependent on your audience and use case.

You’ll want to start building your email list organically from the get go though. For some strategies on how to build your email list check out this article at Hubspot.

Have a look at the below email marketing use cases and determine which might be best for you. These are cost effective and common uses specific to small businesses and service based businesses.

1. Seasonal promotion.

First off, don’t let seasonal slumps get you down. Your business’ peak revenue might be made in only 2 seasons of the year.

Use email marketing campaigns to remind past customers to be loyal to your brand during your off season.

Grow anticipation for your services by offering valuable information relevant to your service, industry or business to remind customers of your trade’s authority,

Check out this article from CampaignMonitor for some other off-season marketing strategies you can employ for your small business.

2. Newsletter email send outs.

Newsletters keep email marketing for small business fresh.

They can help keep your brand on the mind of your clients, customers and associates.

Use newsletters to pass on valuable information and the most critical news about your business.

Try to structure your newsletter in a way as to avoid ‘spammy’ self-promotion.

A newsletter done correctly and complemented by your website, blogging and social media will show your industry that your company is here to help and add value. 

Past customers will appreciate pointers on how to maintain, upkeep, or even upgrade a product they’ve received from you.

Email newsletters are overall the perfect vehicle to build a sense of community among clients and customers – you’re all interested in the same things!

Great stuff here from Constant Contact on building your credibility and expertise with email newsletters.

3. Promotional and service or product sale emails.

Advertise your sales and low prices with an email marketing campaign.

This is one of few opportunities small businesses have to practice en masse email self promotion without appearing to be spam to your customers. Exclusive deals available only to your past customers or subscribers will build brand loyalty.

Importantly, your customers will also be more inclined to share your subscription links (to your newsletter, blog etc) to social circles so their groups can receive the exclusive deals as well. This all means more traffic and potential conversions for your site.

Many local businesses offer rewards or loyalty programs, and email is a great way to do this. Let your customers enroll, and explain the program to them. Putting call to action buttons on your emails is key to increasing your click through rate on your email campaigns.

PNG image of call to action
Did you click on this button? It doesn’t do anything…. Call to action buttons are a great addition to your email marketing content for increasing conversions and click through rates.

4. Check in and follow-up emails.

Double check that your past customers and clients are happy with your services or products.

Effective email marketing for small business means you need to follow up, and follow up and follow up.

Give them the option to review your product or services after they’ve had a few days to properly evaluate opinions.

Automating these emails is must. Use email marketing software to customize emails per product or service.

5. You are offering a new service or product.

Let your existing customers and clients know when you’re providing a new service or product.

Provide back links to your site product/services page where more details can be had.

This is audience dependent of course, but should give your customers quick access to your new services and quickly increase your online exposure.

Remember, past customers have already purchased from you. Always invest your time into re-engaging with past customers, they will be typically more receptive to your email marketing techniques which results in higher conversion rates.

6. Content campaigns to build your brand.

Email marketing is an awesome way to develop your brand. With all your email marketing campaigns, newsletters, promotions etc. use the same tone and style. This will instill a brand imagery and content connection in your customers and subscribers. Small business especially need to develop unique and memorable branding in their local spheres. This will help your business stand out from big corporations you may be competing with.

7. Send out a warm welcoming email to new customers.

If you are running an online store this is a must have, and can be setup to automatically route to new customers whom have just made a purchase. If selling from a physical location ask the customer if it would be alright to add them to your email list or newsletter. Deal with objections by explaining you are only offering your valuable information for free, and any promotions you send out are only exclusive deals for your subscribers.

Once singed on to the email list, a welcome email will get shot over to your new customer. Generally welcome emails are well received. They have an average read rate of 34%. This is 42% higher than the average of all other email types. Reference a recent study by Return Path for more information.


  • Send on the same day the customer signs ups
  • Clear and engaging subject line
  • Visual greeting in the email
  • Tell recipients what to do next(read a guide, login to their account, complete a task, complete their profile etc)

See some of the best welcome email examples here.

image showing the word welcome in various languages


For small businesses, email marketing is probably the most relevant source of online digital marketing there is.

A well strategized email marketing campaign will net you the highest ROI of all your online marketing options.

If you operate a physical location dependent service business don’t think you can’t benefit from email marketing either.

Stand out from the crowd, engage your customers, and let them know you’re here and involved in the community.

As a small business, your brand identity is being challenged by the big dogs in your industry.

Email marketing gives you a level of professionalism and accessibility needed to promote your brand as the smaller value-add business your customers want to choose over the competition.

Stay unique, build your brand, and promote your services efficiently.

Email marketing, for small business owners, has arguably the least amount of time investment to operate properly.

There are specific use cases of email marketing for small business that make the most sense. Other use cases are best kept to larger enterprises and stores.

When combined with local search engine optimization, email marketing can help to keep organic site visitors engaged with your brand.

We’re curious, small business or not, for what reasons might have you stayed away from email marketing in the past? 

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