Email Marketing for Small Businesses: The Basics of Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective mediums for marketing and advertising any product or service, and the perfect tool for getting in touch with your audience.

Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, small business owner, or an online marketer, you’re sure to be familiar with this potent tool. If not, then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. You might also be considering putting some effort into implementing an email marketing campaign for your business—and that’s a totally legitimate thought. After all, isn’t that what this blog post is about?

Why Email Marketing?

At the very least, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about with email marketing, why you should care, and, perhaps most importantly, how it works. Let’s take a quick look at each point, shall we?

Product Awareness

You can’t sell something that you don’t know exists. For your product to be recognized, it first needs to exist. This is why you should care about having an existing customer base and engaging with your audience through email marketing. You can use email campaigns to introduce new products and services, promote existing products and services, and create awareness around a brand or business. Think about all the emails you get daily, whether you buy products or services online or in stores—you’ll see what I mean.

Customer Care

You may be wondering why I, a professional writer and editor, get so worked up over the subject of email marketing. Well, as a customer of a company that provides email marketing services, I can tell you that every email I get offers me an opportunity to be cared for and, sometimes, even remembered. Companies like Benchmark allow me to take advantage of those moments and understand what my customer wants and needs. When you’re not sure what your customer wants, feedback from previous customers can help drive the process and eliminate any misunderstandings.


The general consensus is that every business is “marketing” their product or service to make a profit. However, you can apply this word in multiple ways. First, you can consider email marketing to be a form of marketing. Second, you can consider social media marketing to be a form of marketing. Third, you can consider digital marketing to be a form of marketing. Finally, you can consider all of these to be a part of the larger marketing process, which also includes outdoor and printed marketing. Regardless, you’re using various forms of marketing to get the word out about your product or service. This article will discuss the basics of email marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the practice of using email to communicate with potential customers and engaging them into purchasing your products or services. Typically, you’ll use your company’s email address to send out your marketing emails, but you can use a free email service like MailChimp to do the same thing.

EMAIL MARKETING ISN’T ONE SINGLE TRADITIONAL FORM. While you might still send out a traditional sales letter with a big pink letterhead, today’s email marketer is much more sophisticated.

Here’s a basic overview of what you’ll need to know:

The Three Parts Of An Email Marketing Campaign

As mentioned above, email marketing is made up of three distinct parts: content, design, and performance. Let’s take a quick look at each.

  • Content
  • Design
  • Performance

The first part of your email marketing campaign is the content. This is what you’ll actually be sending out, whether it’s an email marketing automation program (like HubSpot) or a more traditional sales email. You’ll need to have a minimum of 1,000 words in your content to make sure that it’s not too wordy or short to keep your readers engaged. Additionally, you must ensure that the content is easy to understand and doesn’t feature any difficult marketing speak. Ideally, your content will encourage your audience to take action, whether that’s signing up for your email list or making a purchase.

Your content will serve as the backbone for your entire campaign. Once you have established a minimum quota of 1,000 words, you can flesh out the rest of your content. Ensure that this content is unique to your brand and tie it back to a call to action in some way.

The Call to Action

You’ll want to incorporate a call to action in your content somewhere, whether it’s at the end or in the middle. Choosing where to place this CTA is, in fact, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make. Ensure that this call to action is something your audience can’t ignore. In my experience, the perfect place for a call to action for a business is near the end of the email. In the above example, our call to action is inviting the reader to subscribe to our email list. While we want our readers to act now, we also want to make sure we’ve grabbed their attention long enough for them to actually do something.


Your second part, the design, will consist of the actual look and feel of your email. As discussed above, the backbone of your email marketing campaign is your content. Your content will dictate the tone and, therefore, the look and feel of your whole email. As a general rule, you’ll want to stick with a white background with simple text and no complicated designs or graphics.


Finally, we have the performance. The performance part is, quite simply, how your email is going to behave once it’s opened. You’ll want to make sure that your email looks exactly like the email you’ve previously designed and that it’s delivered quickly and without any glitches. In terms of sending out your email, you’ll want to avoid any errors and oversights. Once you’ve established the best possible version of your email, you can go back and tweak it based on actual performance.

How To Create An Email Marketing Strategy

To get started, you’ll need to sit down and put together a list of every single email you’ve ever sent out, whether it’s a sales email or a marketing email. This is called a “to do list.” Once you have this list, you can start to organize it into different categories or stages of your email marketing plan. For example, you might have some emails that you’ve sent out for marketing purposes but have not yet started to measure the success of, or some which you’ve simply forgotten about. You can create a new category for these “unscheduled” or “forgotten” emails.

After you’ve gone through every single one of your emails, whether scheduled or not, you can start to piece together a plan for the upcoming months. You can use your “unscheduled” or “forgotten” emails as a starting point for this plan. Look at where you’ve been successful and try to figure out a way to improve on these projects. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, you can always check out the work of other marketers or business owners for inspiration. Once you have a plan in place, you can start to set benchmarks for yourself and track your progress—this is especially helpful for digital marketers who want to track the effectiveness of their campaigns.

How to Create a Successful Email Marketing List

Now that you have a strategy in place, you can start to populate your email marketing list with relevant, interested parties. As discussed above, relevant means that my customers are more likely to buy what you’re selling. Interested parties mean that you’ve got someone who is actually interested in what you have to say.

To start, you might want to consider using something like MailChimp to create a free email list. MailChimp has numerous advantages, not the least of which is the fact that it’s free. You don’t have to worry about upgrading your account or purchasing additional features to continue using the service, which could wind up costing you money. Using MailChimp, you can easily collect emails from your website visitors, social media followers, and more. To make sure your email list is populated with relevant participants, you can use the “Find Influencers” feature to find people who match your target audience.

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