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10 Small Business Experts Share Their Best Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing is one of the most profitable marketing channels for ecommerce businesses. It’s a great way to stay in front of past customers and new subscribers without spending money on ads.

But if you want it to be effective, you need a smart strategy. And that can be challenging for small businesses that are newer to email marketing and strapped for time.

Fortunately, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Plenty of marketers and entrepreneurs who have done this before are more than happy to share their secrets to success. So, we talked to ten business owners and marketing professionals to learn their best advice for successful email marketing.

1. Set SMART goals

First, you need to clearly understand why you’re doing email marketing. What do you want to achieve? By setting SMART goals, you’ll set yourself up for success from day one.

If you’re unfamiliar, the SMART acronym describes goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.


Learn more: How to Set Up Smart Goals for Your Email Marketing and Measure Them

2. Proactively grow your list with website popups

It’s not enough to just email your customers. If you want to get the most out of your emails, you need a way to consistently grow your list and reach more potential customers, too.


You can also use content-powered popups to capture even more email addresses without annoying customers or cutting into your profit margins.

Typical popups convert less than 2% of visitors on average. But when you offer a piece of free content that’s relevant to your audience — like Everly does in the example below — that conversion rate jumps to somewhere between 5% and 20%.

Everly's content-powered popup targeting their keto audience
Everly’s content-powered popup


Learn more: How to Increase Your Website Popup Conversion Rate by 1000%

3. Know (and follow) privacy laws

No matter the size of your business, you need to make sure you’re following privacy regulations — both local laws, and the laws in your subscribers’ home countries.


Fortunately, if you understand the basics of GDPR legislation, you’re probably covered. GDPR applies specifically to the UK, but it’s a pretty good proxy for privacy laws around the world.

Learn more: GDPR Requirements List in Plain English

4. Know thy audience



Learn more: 5 Ways to Create Super-Effective Emails with Buyer Personas

5. Segment your email list

As much as we’d all like to believe our subscribers are waiting on bated breath to receive our emails, the truth is, most are still going straight to the trash bin.

The best way to combat this is email segmentation. Simply put, segmentation means sending target emails to different subsets of your audience based on demographics, website activity, shopping history, etc.

Mailchimp has found that segmented emails get a 14.3% higher open rate and 101% more clicks than non-segmented emails. That’s because they’re more personal and relevant — a win for both you and your subscribers.


Learn more: How to Use Email Segmentation for Smarter Ecommerce

6. Get personal

7. Make your emails mobile-friendly

Raise your hand if you’ve ever checked your email from bed in the morning. On the train on the way to work? While waiting in line at the grocery store?

Thought so.

That’s why it’s absolutely critical to send emails that look good on mobile, not just desktop computers.


Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Klaviyo offer mobile responsive templates in their products, and a quick Google search will give you thousands more options.

Learn more: 900+ Free Responsive Email Templates to Help You Start with Email Design

8. Focus on micro conversions

Remember: The goal of your email is to bring subscribers back to your website. Yes, you want them to make a purchase — but you’ll have more success if you take it one step at a time.

When you think of each piece of your emails as a micro conversion, you can be more strategic about testing different tactics and optimizing your emails to get better results.


To really nail the formula that works for you, consider using A/B testing to learn what influences readers to open, read, and click. Make sure you’re only testing one variable at a time so you know what’s working and what’s not.

9. Use social proof to build trust

Social proof is the phenomenon that makes us implicitly trust and subconsciously imitate others. And in the crowded ecommerce landscape, social proof is more important than ever. It can come in the form of customer reviews, influencer photos, unboxing videos…the list goes on.

And the results are powerful. 82% of people say product reviews have convinced them to make a purchase. Consider using reviews or another form of social proof in your emails to get your audience interested.



Learn more: Improve Your Email Clickthrough Rate with 5 Types of Social Proof

10. Be useful and engaging with blog content

40% of people want branded emails to be more informative and less promotional, an Adobe survey found.

Your subscribers don’t want to be flooded with emails promoting your products. Instead, they want emails that entertain and educate them. When you have high-quality content on your website, your audience views you as a trusted resource. And when you send that content via email, you’re continuing to provide value — not just blasting subscribers with “buy now!” emails.

Petite Dressing blog screenshot - online retailer

For Chi, founder of the women’s clothing boutique Petite Dressing, this means offering resources and styling tips for petite women. Her blog content doesn’t just plug her store’s products; it offers useful, well-researched fashion advice and feature products from a variety of places. This makes Petite Dressing feel like a fashion magazine or a stylish friend, not just an online store.



Learn more: How to Get Started with an Email Newsletter for Your Ecommerce Store


There you have it: ten ways to send marketing emails that get better results.

For more tips like these, sign up for our email series, Content Marketing for Growing Brands. You’ll receive 6 lessons on content marketing right to your inbox, including lessons on email marketing, Facebook ads, and more.


Feature image provided by Pau Casals

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