emailmarketingConsumers are overwhelmed with the daily onslaught of marketing emails they receive daily. Unless they’re compulsive email checkers, they’re likely greeted with over 25 messages every time they check their inbox. The delete button is way easier than sifting through e-junk, so they hit it over and over again.

Occasionally, they stop. They read what a company is saying, because it’s interesting, helpful, and likely saves them money. These are the messages that weren’t just shuttled out from an email marketing software program with little thought to how it would be received. These are the messages that were lovingly crafted and sent to recipients who had demonstrated their interest.

As a small business owner, don’t you want to be in that second pile? The one that missed the trash? It’s easier than you would think. Instead of just using your email marketing software as an easy button, use it as a tool.


You need to shape your message for your intended audience. Use your software to distribute it to only that audience. Craft another one for another group. Distribute it. Rinse and repeat, until you’ve gotten your message out in a way that will target each of your client’s personas.


Now, it’s not quite so simple as just tailoring the message for your audience. You want them to actually open it, right? Use some best practices and make your messages shine with actual personality—not just marketing lingo. If you’re a homespun business, don’t be afraid to throw some “y’alls” in there. If you’re chic and modern, hire an actual graphic designer to work with you. Every piece of the message, from the subject line to the display font, matters.


Speaking of every last detail, don’t send marketing emails from a no-reply address. This makes it impossible for community members to interact with you. Why wouldn’t you want them contacting you? Leave that tactic to the big boys who don’t have the time for customer interactions.

Testing, testing

Don’t be sloppy. Test your email marketing campaign before it goes live. It’s easy, just create a test list with you, some kind-hearted employees, a friend who happens to be a grammar snob, and your mom. She won’t mind. Ask all of them to look for any errors. Anyone who finds one gets a candy bar. It’s for the greater good.


Let’s chat about this one just once more. Do not blindly send untargeted emails out using a spammy email list you bought off of someone who lives a couple continents away. It will only generate ill-will and bad karma. Keep the “unsubscribe” button visible, and curate your list carefully. From there, put them into categories. Some may be moms, others may be interested in gardening, some are just on your list for sales. Create groups based on your knowledge of who comes through your doors.


Include one call to action per email and gear it toward each individual group. Don’t just mass produce “Visit our store!” People are very clear on the fact you want them to come to you. It’s better to say things like, “Check out our new spring line!” or “Come see our selection of unicorn horns—they’re on sale!” Make it personal and pointed, and they’re more likely to follow your advice.

Final Thoughts

Always check your links to make sure they’re pointing to the right landing page. Keep data on which emails do the best, and work from those in the future. Don’t get complacent, though! Keep mixing things up to ensure you’re doing the best you can for your small business.