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Small Business Tips

How to build a successful email marketing strategy

Nigel Graber

These days, all the marketing talk is of a brave new world. One in which artificial intelligence, chatbots and video form the future. So why should we give email marketing a second glance?

Well, because the latest figures tell us email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels your business can have. Here are our email-marketing top tips and best practices.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing refers to the practice of collecting email addresses with a view to sending customers and prospects promotional emails.

And these days, if you do business with Europeans, you’ll need to get people to agree to opt-in to your email communications. Or you’ll be in breach of GDPR.

The way this typically happens is, when you have a new website built, a good web designer will ask you what your Most Wanted Action is for your home page.

There are usually two possible answers to this: you either want prospects to pick up the phone and buy, or you want to gather opt-in email addresses.

If you choose the latter, it’s because, based on 2018 data, email marketing is still seen as the best marketing channel open to you. Yes, better than SEO, pay-per-click and social media.

Why? Because just about everyone uses email. You can’t say that about social media. The latest data tells us there are around 3.8 billion email users around the world, and an amazing 4.4 billion active accounts.

This is why it’s more vital than ever that you embrace an email marketing campaign as part of your small-business marketing strategy.

How to do email marketing successfully

Of course, there are a few email marketing tips to bear in mind to get maximum success with your email campaigns and stand out from the crowd.

A compelling subject line

The subject line is often overlooked. But if your subject line doesn’t catch the reader’s attention, you’ll be in their trash folder before they’ve even read the body of your email.

Try to limit your subject line to 50 characters to ensure it fits in the viewing frame. Then appeal to your reader’s self-interest. A quirky approach will often also work well. Here are some examples of good email subject lines:

  • Frankly, my dear, I don’t Instagram
  • Want to be a better copywriter? Open this before midnight
  • Want to make $200 today the lazy way?
  • Your refund is waiting


Always address your email to the person by name — ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Stressed Business Owner’ suggest laziness on the part of the writer.

You should also try to avoid the wall of words. Pick out some interesting graphics to make your content come to life and provide visual understanding.

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Responsive design

These days, emails aren’t just read on PCs. An effective campaign should take into account every device readers use to read email: desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Designing for mobile devices is especially important.

This is called ‘responsive design’ and 73% of businesses today prioritize this smartphone optimization for their email marketing campaigns.

The call to action

Every email you send must have a point — you must want your recipient to do something. You might want them to click through to a landing page, order now, claim a coupon, complete a survey or download some information.

If you really want your reader to take action, repeat it in a P.S. and include a clickable URL. It seems people are irresistibly drawn to postscripts.

Let’s get more complicated

Simple email marketing campaigns are all well and good. But, like everything, the discipline has evolved. Today, the weapon of choice for those who know what they’re doing is the sales funnel.

What’s a sales funnel? Well, there are a number of variants. The overall premise is similar, though. In short, a sales funnel moves people from prospects to buyers in double-quick time.

It all begins by enticing your prospect onto your landing page either organically or through pay-per-click.

You then persuade them to opt-in to your email program by offering them a lead magnet in return. This is usually a document offering useful information about your industry.

Follow this up with great email content. If you’re a web designer, for example, keep them hooked with valuable information about SEO, about the way people read websites, or about use of white space. At the end of the sequence, hit them with a money-off deal or coupon code.

When you’ve turned them from prospect into customer, put them on another email list and sell to them again with more top content. You can even add remarketing to ensure they don’t slip through the net.

What are the benefits of email marketing?

Email marketing is the old favorite marketing method that never really went away. It’s seen as being in the top 3 most effective lead drivers. That’s why it’s worth taking a look at new email marketing techniques each year.

Successful email marketing begins with signing up to the right technology. This is especially true of sales funnels, which need a lot of tricky back-end coding.

Once this is in place, though, the ability to speak directly to proven prospects can help you build a relationship with your public while they’re forging a great relationship with your brand. Get it right and this can become a forever-flowing fountain of funds.

Email is all the more powerful due to recent advancements in machine learning. Thanks to this, we can analyze consumer behavior like never before. This data has allowed analysts to predict and shape the next move of both prospects and customers.

Using this information, you’ll be able to put together creative, tailored email campaigns that get right to the heart of prospects’ needs and wants. You’ll also create an ever-stronger bond between your brand and your customer.

What’s not to love?

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