The Best Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2020

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Although the effectiveness of email marketing has been the cause of recent ongoing debate in the entrepreneurial community, there's no doubting that building a reliable online newsletter to distribute to your subscribers is still one of the best ways to digitally market your business.

With direct, one-to-one access to customers who are already interested in your product, this practice can represent the opportunity to attract a healthy conversion rate and ensure that first-time customers become repeat customers – especially if your correspondence is engaging and appealing.

So, what are the best ways to approach this hugely important tactic?

Tips for Email Marketing

To ensure that you are optimising your approach, we've compiled a series of 15 essential tips and tricks to raise click-throughs and improve sales for your business. Whether you're new to the game or a seasoned professional, this is what you need to be doing:

1. Build Your List of Subscribers

Regardless of the number of people subscribed to your mailing list, the bottom line is that the more individuals that receive your newsletter, the better. There are several tricks that you can use to accomplish this, especially as a small business; consider adding a pop-up subscription form on the home page of your website, for instance, as well as listing it on a sidebar or footer.

Whether you have a brick and mortar store or sell products online, ensure that you are collecting email addresses from customers. You can offer small rewards such as discounts off current or future purchases to encourage signups, while many websites A/B test automated page pop-ups to try and find the optimal signup formula.

2. Take Advantage of Mailchimp

Once your subscriber list has grown to a respectable size, it can be time-consuming to manage your email campaigns manually. Therefore, you'll need an email marketing tool, such as Mailchimp.

Mailchimp doesn't just make things easier in terms of organisation, either. One of the critical components of email marketing is visually pleasing content, and such tools enable you to create a unique and engaging aesthetic without the need for any knowledge of HTML. Mailchimp also allows you to create separate mailing lists for multiple customer segments so that you can better target different content and offers to different customer profiles.

The best part of this is that the basic functions of these services are free, with premium options available in line with your company's growth.

3. Analyse the Results and Impact of Your Past Campaigns

Whether you are using a marketing service such as Mailchimp or your website's hosting company to send your newsletter, make the most of the data that these platforms offer.

Thoroughly assess the trends of past campaigns, including what time your emails were opened, what time they were delivered, and what content and subject lines received the most click-throughs. By assessing this information, you will be able to gain insight into what is working most effectively, allowing you to structure future campaigns in a way that will give you the best possible chance of attracting conversions.

4. Stay on Topic

Email subscriber lists are not just a database of leads that you are trying to convert; they also represent a group of people that are interested in your brand and your products. If they have subscribed to your mailing list, then they are likely not just looking for offers – they also want to see information and content that supports your products.

For example, if you are a home décor company, then include articles on decorating ideas, tips on interior store designs for small businesses, or product trends for the upcoming season. If you are a law office, you can explain changes and impacts in recent legislation changes, offer an opinion on industry developments, or highlight areas of expertise in your team. The key is to understand who your audience is and how you can engage with them and reach out to them beyond a barrage of coupons and discount offers. 

Remember: Everybody loves a sale, but over the long term, newsletters need to bring quality content to your readers. Failure to acknowledge this can result in a rise of people unsubscribing. 

5. Be Personal

Instead of addressing your emails to a large group of people, focus on making your communications singular and, as a result, personalised. Address the email using the person's first name, or, if your business is in a more formal niche, with a preceding title (such as Mr Jones or Miss Simpson). Making sure to gather first names when collecting information from future subscribers is pertinent for this very reason; after all, when customers see a subject line greeting them by name – "Hey there, [your name]! We have a surprise for you!" – they are far more likely to read on than if the email begins with "Dear Customer".

Personalisation shouldn't just be restricted to names, either. Utilise your customer data to suggest discounts or recommendations based on previous purchases that the recipient has made. Gearing content to individual customers is one of the key marketing trends of the new decade, and your email campaigns are a great place to capitalise on this. 

6. Ensure that Your Emails are Mobile-Friendly

According to a 2018 IBM report, 49.1% of emails are now read from a mobile device. Therefore, you need to consider additional factors when constructing your newsletters, including the number (and file size) of incorporated images, scaling for landscape or portrait orientation, and a maximum 30-character subject line. To take things a step further, include a pre-header text less than 50 characters, so that readers can have a preview of what is to come once opening the email itself.

Most email management tools ensure that your emails are tablet and smartphone-friendly, but these are still steps that you can take to ensure the user experience is smooth.

7. Encourage Your Readers to Respond

Not only is this an excellent way to increase the rate of opened newsletters, but it can also help boost your website traffic and attract people to your landing pages. By using targeted content and appealing subject lines, potential readers will be more inclined to click on the links in the email and learn more. This could take the form of asking for feedback on a recent purchase, or asking for input on a new business direction; either, way encourage readers to get in touch.

Sending the campaign from an email address that you monitor regularly allows you to respond to any enquiries or comments arising as a result of the content. This is an opportunity for customers to get to know the people behind your business, as well as gain a deeper connection to your products and services. 

8. Reward People for Reading Your Email

A great way to leverage your subscriber list is to offer small rewards occasionally, such as a free item or a discount on a particular product. Not only will your readers feel like they have access to exclusive offers that non-subscribers don't, but it is also a call to action that people are more likely to act upon. Consequently, you, the business owner, are more likely to get what it is that you are hoping for – sales, referrals, website traffic, or social media interaction – while your customers will feel like they are benefitting, too.

9. Strive for a Strategy That Connects to People

When it comes to a direct mail strategy with your e-newsletter's mailing list, you want to ensure that you are using it to build trust with your customers. By gaining a better understanding of what it is what your readers are looking for – that is, referring to your email marketing analytics for in-depth information – you can adjust your future campaigns to fit with these preferences.

In doing so, you are achieving a greater sense of connection to your audience. As a result, the open rate of your emails will be higher, and more people will engage with your content.

10. Limit Your Email Blasts

No one wants their inbox to become bombarded with emails from the same company daily, let alone multiple times each day. To avoid irritating your readers, opt to send less frequent blasts; instead, include all your essential information in one go, rather than sending one email after another.

Your audience will be more likely to open the email to see what's inside, rather than assuming that it's another unimportant spam message containing nothing of import. While avoiding irking your customers, you are also encouraging them to engage more with the content that you do provide to them.

11. Include an Eye-Catching Subject

A clickable headline is vital for capturing your readers' attention; the subject of the email is the very first thing that a potential reader is going to see, and is often the determining factor of whether or not they choose to open it.

If your headline is boring and contains no message of importance to your audience, they'll have no reason to click it. Naturally, if you are catering the content of the email (and thus, the subject line) to the reader, they'll be more inclined to open it and read on.

12. Include Animations, GIFs, or 3D Designs

When looking to make the content of your emails stand out in 2020, you have to adapt to modern trends. Digital marketing is about taking advantage of what you have available to you, including the addition of animations, GIFs, or 3D designs within the body of your email campaigns.

The inclusion of these elements draw a reader's eyes and subconsciously encourage them to engage. It also is an excellent opportunity to insert some personality into your interactions, helping your audience to understand better who you are and what you have to offer.

13. Plan For Accessible Content

In 2020, accessibility is a critical component to consider when formulating a plan for your direct mail strategy. Today, the World Health Organisation estimates that 1.3bn people have a visual impairment, 36m of whom are blind. Whether you are planning on implementing a drip marketing approach to a single group or one that takes advantage of segmentation (that is, dividing your audience into categories), all emails need to be accessible to their reader.

Modern technology offers voice assistants to read emails aloud to consumers, whether from a computer or a smartphone. With this in mind, write the content of your campaigns with a limit on colloquialisms or difficult-to-pronounce words. Try to use shorter sentences, too.

14. Create a Sense of Community

If you're hoping to build a sense of community with your audience, allow them to connect. The best way to do this is by creating social media groups (particularly on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn) and inviting people to join them through a newsletter announcement. Don't just limit the groups to your direct mail reach, either – ask your other clients and customers, too. This way, you can include sign-up links to the newsletter within the group, harnessing it as one of your digital marketing techniques.

This is also an excellent chance to promote your business, as it gives people a space to speak to one another about their favourite products or services, offer advice, and make recommendations.

15. Be Clear on Your Call to Action

Ultimately, your readers need to do something with the information that they are reading in your newsletter. If you are having a sale, encourage your audience to take advantage of it by making a purchase. If you are launching a new product, let them know why they need it. Regardless of what you are sharing with the reader, let them know how they should react to this new information.

As an email marketing strategy, this can either look like segmentation or drip marketing, so long as you have processed your analytics and are catering your approach to best fit the needs of your readers.


By taking into consideration the campaign tips listed above, you can optimise and increase the promotion of your business. When done right, email marketing is an excellent opportunity to reach a broad spectrum of individuals, all of whom have previously engaged with your company in one way or another. Therefore, you should take the time to cater to their needs, and provide them with the kind of content that illustrates what your company is all about.

What other email marketing tips and tricks would you recommend? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!