5 powerful email marketing tips for small business owners

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “The money is in the list?”

It seems trite. But, when it comes to your digital marketing strategy, it’s certainly true that investing in your email list could give you one of the biggest “bangs” for your marketing buck. 

So, in this post, I’m sharing 5 email marketing tips that you can put into practice today. 

Benefits of email marketing for small businesses

First things first. Let’s back up and look at why email marketing for small business owners is such a powerful tool.

You know me… I’m a sucker for data! And, when it comes to email marketing, I have stats to beat the band, like...

The average return on investment for email marketing is 3,600%

That’s not a typo! When done well, you could enjoy an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent. I challenge you to come up with another marketing activity that could have so much potential for your business.

When it comes to generating conversions, email beats social media hands down

Email enjoys an average click-through rate of 2.5%, compared to a measly 0.07% on Facebook

The fact is, with social media you’re not in control of your audience. You don’t “own” your followers. You can’t control what the algorithm does (much to your dismay when you find your organic reach slashed yet again). 

With email, on the other hand, you’re building an asset for your business. You’re in control of how often your subscribers hear from you. And, you have the power to reach every single person on your list. 

It’s clear that the power of email marketing is immense. But, maybe you feel confused about where to start?

Not to worry, I have your back with actionable email marketing tips to get you up and running…

5 email marketing tips for your business

1. Build your email list with relevant lead magnets

Offering a lead magnet, or “opt-in freebie”, is a great way to build your email list. 

This is a free piece of content - a short e-book, printable checklist, planner, or spreadsheet - that helps your client solve a small but pressing problem in their life or business in exchange for their email address. 

A good lead magnet is

  1. Simple and digestible - it should be something that your audience can immediately put into action. 

  2. Relevant - the freebie should be relevant to your audience, but it also needs to be relevant to your product or service offering. You want to build a list of people who are interested in buying from you, so your freebie needs to address something that leads your audience into your sales funnel. 

Related reading: Are you marketing the right solutions for your client’s problems?

In case you’re not convinced, here’s a case study from a client I’ve recently started helping with their list-building strategy. 

I added a simple lead magnet opt-in to their website. The lead magnet itself was not promoted anywhere else, and I implemented it as a straightforward website banner, with a one-sentence description and a call-to-action button. 

The result? Their subscriber list grew 300% in 6 months.

That’s a pretty impressive growth rate for just adding ONE lead magnet to their website! 

2. What should you send your list?

Once you’ve cracked your lead magnet, you should start to see a regular trickle of new subscribers on your list. 

And this is where it starts to get more challenging.

There’s so much focus on the act of building your list.

The problem is, when you focus all your efforts on adding new subscribers, it’s easy to forget to properly engage your existing audience. 

So, it’s important to have a strategy in place to nurture your hard-won audience. Here are two things to keep in mind:

Consider using automated email sequences

When a new subscriber signs up to your list, what do they experience?

They might get a thank you email from your email service provider, but then what happens?

The fact is, your audience is NEVER as engaged with you and your brand as when they first sign up to your list. 

So, if they sign up and then don’t hear from you for a few weeks, what do you think might happen?

Yup, they’ll lose interest, won’t open your emails, and you’ve lost an engaged subscriber.

On the other hand, setting up a short automated email sequence that welcomes new readers to your list, lets them know what to expect and signposts them to your most valuable content can be an effective way of building a loyal audience from day one.

In fact, the stats show that welcome sequences enjoy 10x as many opens and 4x as many clicks as regular broadcast emails - which is pretty powerful!

And, the beauty of automated email sequences is how flexible they are. You can use them to nurture new leads or even to sell a product or service on autopilot. 

Send valuable content

There are no hard and fast rules for the kind of content to send your list - the only caveats being that your emails should be relevant and valuable to your subscribers. 

So, you could share a hot tip, an inside look at how you’ve helped a client, lessons you’ve learned in your life or business, or simply promote your latest products and offers. 

3. How often should you email your subscribers?

This is the million-dollar question!

The fact is, there isn’t always one “right” answer - it very much depends on your business and audience. 

You clearly don’t want to send TOO many emails and be seen as spammy, but it can be just as damaging to your business to send too few emails. 

When it comes to emailing your list, it’s natural to feel fearful of “annoying” people or clogging up their inboxes. 

But, unless your audience hears from you consistently, they simply won’t be engaged. 

On the other hand, there’s no point in sending emails just for the sake of it - the key is sending valuable content consistently. So, pick an email frequency and stick to it.

4. How to make sure your emails are delivered and read

There is NOTHING more annoying than spending time crafting an amazing email… only for it to sit in your audience inbox unread or, even worse, not get delivered at all. 

Tips to improve email deliverability:
Avoid large file sizes

Emails with large files are more likely to bounce, so be sure to compress big files or link to a file-sharing site instead of attaching it to the email. 

Avoid “spam” words

Open up your spam folder in your email account, and you’ll see what I mean by this! For a full list of words and phrases to avoid in your emails, check out this Hubspot article

Respect and follow privacy laws to minimise complaints

You want to avoid your emails being reported as spam by recipients, as this will ultimately impact your list “health” and decrease deliverability. 

The best way to avoid this is to respect privacy laws and only send emails to subscribers who have genuinely consented. 

Ideas to improve email open rates:
Work on your subject and preview lines

Your email subject lines are often the primary reason somebody will click to open and read the email (or not!). 

Are your subject lines engaging? Do they capture attention (without being click-bait)? 

The more you practice, the easier this becomes. For more tips, check out this post on writing headlines and subject lines.  

Deliver consistent, valuable content

If you’re anything like me, then there are a handful of business owners whose emails you ALWAYS open - no matter what the subject line. 

These are the brands that have regularly sent valuable content that’s relevant to where you are in your life and business. In short, they’ve “earned” that open. 

By being consistent and showing up week after week in your audience’s inbox, you too can enjoy higher open rates and better engagement.  

5. Measure key data to ensure your email strategy is working

Like all business activities, unless you’re tracking some key metrics, you won’t have any real understanding of what’s working for your email marketing. 

Some metrics you could look to track include:

Email opt-in conversion rate:

What % of your website visitors are opting in to your email list? 

Which pages or blog posts are driving the most sign-ups? How can you improve the conversion rate on your other pages?

Open rate: 

What % of your subscribers are opening your emails? 

Keeping track of this can help to understand how effective your subject lines are, but with the recent Apple iOS 15 update, open rates aren’t as effective an indicator as they used to be.

So, you should pay more attention to…

Click-through rate:

What % of email readers are taking action on your email and clicking through the links in your emails? 


Unsubscribes aren’t a bad thing - you only want engaged readers who are keen to hear from you on your list. 

However, it does make sense to pay attention to unsubscribe trends - do you see any spikes after you send a certain type of campaign, for instance?


This is the crucial one. The above metrics on their own don’t really mean much unless you look at them in the context of the results your emails are generating. 

These results could be intangible - such as brand engagement (people replying to your emails and positive feedback) or tangible (people booking calls or hiring you). 


There you have it, my 5 best email marketing tips to get you started. 

Want to get going, but wondering what is the best email marketing software for beginners? 

I use and LOVE Active Campaign (affiliate link). This tool is easy to navigate as a beginner, but grows with you as your business grows, with powerful Customer Relationship Management functionality. So, you can maximise your customer experience and have more of your business running on autopilot!

Need some help with your email marketing strategy? Email tech and implementation got you stumped? Book your free, no-obligation, call here and let’s see how we can get email working for your business.

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