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Three key email marketing tips for small businesses

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For the time-poor small business owner, email can be an essential marketing tool. It’s a simple way to communicate quickly with existing and potential customers and, importantly, it can be a low-cost operation.

If, however, you’re new to this method of communication, or aren’t getting the results you require, you might need a little help to determine or refine your approach. Here are three key tips to get this straightforward marketing channel working for you!

Personal approach or a newsletter?

Much depends on the relationship you have - or are looking to build - with your recipients and the messages you’re going to communicate.

If your business creates lots of content, and the aim is to simply raise awareness through generating regular readers, then a newsletter formatted into a simple template could be the best way to go.

To do this, it might be easier to sign up with an email marketing platform like MailChimp.

It, and others, offer professional templates that will make your emails look professional.

Simply, add your messages and images, upload a database of addresses, and send.

The alternative is personal emails. If you’re sending a newsletter, a generic address for the sender is fine, but if your email is more personal, friendly, and nuanced, it might be better sent from your own account and written as if you’re just emailing one person.

How to get emails opened: 3 golden rules for writing subject lines

To stand out from other marketing emails you need to craft subject lines that attract attention. That means being direct, simple, using authoritative language, and tantalising the reader with the offer of something worthwhile.


If your subject line tells them exactly what they’ll learn from your email, something that helps build anticipation (like my use of ‘writing subject lines’ in the above heading), this encourages people to open rather than delete. You can then add to that with use of numbers (use of ‘3’) and phrases (use of ‘golden rules’) to reinforce to the reader that what your offering is really going to be of benefit.

What are you going to say?

Remember, people aren’t automatically interested in your emails. You need to give them a reason to open, start reading, then continue reading subsequent messages. It’s a tough ask: you need to tell them something genuinely useful – reward them for their efforts.

Tell them something that will make it easier for them to do business or go about their day – so, that’s sharing tips, imparting your business knowledge, or passing on useful information.

If you can tell your readers something truly interesting or useful (which isn’t quite as easy as it sounds) then they’ll look favourably on the next email from you that drops into their inbox.

Now that you have a killer email, it would be extremely useful to connect your email statistics with data about who is visiting your website.

Can you see a pattern of regular users? Does your email deliver traffic back to your site? What pages are people looking at once they are brought to your web destination? Can you find any interesting connections that will help your business develop?

If you are not sure where to start with and find it difficult to connect the dots, you might want to use a smart dashboard (like 9 Spokes) to see you data come to life in a clear and intelligible way. 

The smart dashboard from 9 Spokes lets you see your business more clearly - so it’s easier to make the big decisions.

Connect your favourite software to your own smart dashboard, and in a matter of minutes you’ll see key metrics across essential areas of your business.

Having these insights gives you an overview of how your business is performing, so it’s easier to make the right calls. 9 Spokes is free to join.