How To Start Email Marketing For Small Businesses in 2024?

Imagine you've just launched your own small online shop, selling unique handcrafted goods. You've spent weeks designing and creating these one-of-a-kind products that you know people will love.

However, in the digital world, it can be challenging to make your new storefront stand out among all the other options available.

That's where email marketing comes in. It's like sending alerts or reminders to promote your business. By using opt-in forms on your website, you can collect the email addresses of your visitors and send them various types of email campaigns. Tip: Don't forget to use double opt-in to ensure that a subscriber really wants to subscribe and to avoid spam signups.

It allows you to keep your store at the forefront of potential customers' minds, without having to spend money on advertising.

So, starting email marketing for small businesses is perfect for letting subscribers know about new item launches, flash sales or just showing off some of the items in your shop to spark their interest and nurture them to customers.

In this blog post, we'll show you how to get started with email marketing for your business in practical steps to ensure your success.


Why is email marketing more popular than ever?

It's estimated that the revenue generated from email marketing will reach nearly 12 billion USD by the end of 2024. So, you have no reason not to start your email marketing campaigns today!

While some may believe that email has become outdated in our app-dominated world, the reality is that email marketing is more powerful and popular than ever before.

Email marketing revenue - email marketing for small businesses Image Source

Nowadays, people are highly selective about where they spend their time online due to information overload and short attention spans (understandably). However, emails offer a direct line of communication that cuts through the noise. The open rate of email messages often exceeds 20%, providing businesses with a captive audience via email.

In addition, smartphones have made emails accessible anywhere, anytime. People now check their inboxes multiple times a day, creating endless opportunities for brands to connect. As privacy and data concerns continue to grow, email lists based on opt-in subscribers offer a trusted relationship that many people feel comfortable with.

Unlike the past, email marketing today uniquely engages customers at scale across all their devices in a low-effort personalized experience.


How to get started with email marketing in 5 easy steps

Setting up your first email campaign can be a breeze with the right framework. We have broken down the setup process into 5 simple steps to help you become familiar with email marketing for small businesses.


1. Design an email campaign

Creating an email campaign requires a holistic view of your overall goals and strategies.

For instance, welcome campaigns are designed to introduce new subscribers and establish a connection with them. Promotional campaigns, on the other hand, involve offering special deals or discounts to encourage sales. Nurturing campaigns focus on providing valuable information and insights to educate recipients and establish expertise.


These different types of email campaigns help you connect with your audience, build relationships, and achieve your goals.

To design an email campaign, determine your goal and outline what your email should say. You can get input from others on what they find most interesting or compelling.

The key at this stage is getting concepts down on paper before refining design details or workflow automations. Planning will help you determine the direction.


2. Write your emails copy

Now it's time to start filling in each message with thoughtfully written content. Open a blank document and consider the interests of your subscribers and what might appeal to them the most. You can refer to newsletter templates for guidance on how to structure your emails.

Ensure that your writing style is easy to read, using clear language and short sentences. Leave room for personalization by including dynamic keywords such as {first name}, {last name}, etc.

Additionally, you may want to explore the use of AI tools like ChatGPT or Bing Chat to enhance your content or start from scratch. If you choose to utilize AI-generated content, it's important to monitor and revise it as needed.


3. Build and grow your email list

Growing your email subscribers is an important way to share updates about your work and stay connected with interested readers. However, it's not always obvious how to build that list. Here are some friendly suggestions:

  • Offer helpful freebies related to your expertise. Whether it's templates, infographics, checklists, PDF files, or guides, people will love to download them for free! Just be clear about what they'll receive by signing up.
  • Use popup form plugins to convert visitors who want to download your freebies.
  • Record a video course. Film short video modules over time and bundle them into a single course for email subscribers to access.
  • Host an online workshop. Run a free 1-hour webinar teaching a key skill and provide the replay and materials by email afterwards.
  • Place a subscribe or contact form on your website as well.


4. Send emails using the right platform

While personal email accounts may be suitable for individual messages, they are not designed to handle bulk emails efficiently.

For businesses, sending mass emails requires a dedicated platform that can handle large volumes of messages, ensure deliverability, and provide essential features for managing subscribers and campaigns.

When choosing a platform to run email marketing for small businesses, consider the following factors:

User-friendly interface Simplify campaign management by selecting an intuitive platform with easy-to-use features.
Scalability As your business grows, you'll need a platform that can handle a growing subscriber list while also offering advanced automation capabilities.
Deliverability rates Ensure that the platform provides high deliverability rates to ensure that emails reach recipients' inboxes.
Analytics and reporting Look for robust analytics and reporting features to track campaign performance, measure engagement metrics, and make data-driven decisions.
Integration capabilities Consider platforms that seamlessly integrate with other tools, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.
Pricing structure Verify that the platform's pricing structure aligns with your budget and expected return on investment (ROI).


5. Ensure email deliverability and compliance

Email deliverability refers to the ability of an email to successfully reach the recipient's inbox without being filtered into spam folders or bounced back. It is influenced by various factors, including:

  • The sender's reputation (such as email and IP reputation)
  • Validity of email addresses
  • Email content (does it sound spammy?)
  • Recipient engagement

Email compliance, on the other hand, refers to adhering to legal and ethical standards in email marketing. It involves following regulations and guidelines set forth by bodies such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act.

Compliance includes obtaining proper consent from recipients, providing clear and accurate information about your business, including an unsubscribe option, and respecting recipients' preferences and privacy rights.


Protect your email reputation by avoiding spam

Here are some tips on how to build your reputation and avoid spam:

  1. Use an SMTP service or business email hosting to send emails to a group of people. The SMTP server verifies the sender's account before delivering emails and helps prevent messages from being flagged as spam. In other words, you should not send emails through your website hosting server, unless you're using a dedicated IP address (even then, it has to have good reputation). An SMTP service usually has good reputation and thus excellent deliverability.
  2. Sending bulk emails with invalid email addresses in the list can significantly increase your email bounce rate, which in turn negatively impacts your reputation. It is recommended to validate your emails before sending marketing campaigns using services like Email Verifier to ensure the accuracy and deliverability of your email list.
  3. Avoid using spammy keywords or violent images in your email content. For example, words like "babes", "kinky", "fast cash", "free money" and the "V" word can trigger spam filters and move your email into the spam folder.
  4. Send your emails using an email warm-up strategy when you initially engage in email marketing. Email warm-up is a strategic approach to gradually establish a positive sender reputation and improve email deliverability. When starting with a new email sending domain or IP address, or after a period of inactivity, it is crucial to warm up the infrastructure to gain the trust of Internet service providers (ISPs) and email recipients.
    To give you an idea, begin by sending 100 emails per day and gradually increase the volume until you reach the desired number, such as 10,000 emails per day. This gradual approach helps maintain sender reputation and ensures successful email delivery.
  5. Include an unsubscribe option in all of your email content to allow your subscribers to easily opt out, promoting trust and maintaining a positive sender reputation.


The WordPress Newsletter Plugin

If you search a bit, you'll find numerous options to choose from for your email marketing platform.

As someone who has worked with various platforms, including Mailchimp, Drip, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, Growmatik, GetResponse, and even HubSpot, for years, I have found that the Tribulant WordPress Newsletter Plugin is a simple yet powerful platform best suited for  email marketing for small businesses (though, honestly, Tribulant plugins are also used by large businesses like Adobe). It can also integrate with some sending APIs, like Mailchimp, Amazon SES, and others, and you can use any SMTP server with it.

It is true that the Tribulant Newsletter Plugin is only available on WordPress as of now, but it offers a range of user-friendly features that anyone, anywhere (yep, multilingual support!), can use. Even though it has to be installed in a WordPress website, you can still embed the subscribe form elsewhere on any content management system and website.

The Tribulant Newsletter Plugin supports custom fields and dynamic variables/shortcodes, enabling subscribers to receive personalized content. It offers features such as email queue management, snippets for quick content insertion, autoresponders, latest post subscriptions (it sends your WordPress posts based on the interval you chose, to the list(s) you selected - quite customizable), and overview screens to monitor campaign performance, allowing for efficient management of email campaigns.

​​The plugin also provides subscription management tools, enabling businesses to organize subscribers and mailing lists into groups, import/export subscriber lists, and even offer paid subscription options!

Additionally, it keeps you updated on essential email marketing metrics directly from your WordPress dashboard.

I recommend testing the platform, there's a free nearly fully-featured version!


What are the best email marketing strategies?

To maximize the impact of email marketing for small businesses, remember these three essentials: personalization, segmentation, and mobile-friendly design! Let's explore them in more detail.


1. Personalization

The goal is to make subscribers feel as if the message was specifically created for them. Personalization involves customizing the content of the email to align with the audience's interests, preferences, and needs.

By using their name and including relevant information, you can establish a more meaningful connection that makes customers feel valued and understood.

Here is a simple personalization example:

Hi [First Name],

We have a special offer just for you! Get 20% off all camping and hiking gear for the next 48 hours. Use code OUTDOOR20 at checkout to apply the discount. Don't miss out!

Best regards,

[First Name] is a dynamic keyword that changes based on the subscriber's name.


2. Segmentation

Segmentation is the process of dividing your subscribers into smaller, targeted groups based on characteristics or behaviors.

This enables you to create more personalized content that resonates with each segment. Segmentation improves user engagement and strengthens the relationship between businesses and subscribers.

Segmentation allows you to send different emails to different groups of people, avoiding the delivery of similar content to everyone.


3. Mobile-friendly design

Responsive or mobile-friendly email templates ensure that emails adapt to different devices, while clear messaging and concise content capture attention on the go. Therefore, it is advisable to test your email on your mobile device before sending it to a specific segment.


Wrap up

The power of email marketing for small businesses can help you create meaningful connections with your customers, drive conversions, and propel your business forward.

Throughout this blog post, I have attempted to explain some of the methods and valuable insights I've gained from my experience in email marketing. Make today the day you start your email marketing campaign, and tomorrow will be the day you reap the rewards!

About Navid Nekouee

I'm Navid, a happiness ninja and the digital marketing manager at Earth Girl Hosting with years of experience in e-commerce. I am passionate about creating digital marketing strategies integrated with cutting-edge web solutions and enjoy blogging about practical problem-solving approaches in this area.

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