When you own a small ecommerce company, it can be challenging to determine which marketing strategies are worth your time and money. But when it comes to email marketing for small businesses, there's no doubt about it: You're very likely to see a return on your investments.
But how can you build a winning email marketing strategy without spending a fortune? We've gathered the tactics you can use to grow your email list (and your revenue) on any budget.
Is Email Marketing Good for Small Businesses?
In a word, "yes." In a few words, "totally, unequivocally yes." In fact, email marketing is so effective that it generates an average of $36 for every one dollar spent, an increase of 3,500 percent.
Perhaps that's due in part to email's staggering popularity, with more than 4 billion users worldwide and counting:
Most importantly, real small businesses have found that email marketing delivers tangible results. The owners of Soluna Garden Farm, a small business that pivoted to focus on online sales in 2020, said that "every time we send an email, we notice a bump in sales."
And Good Dye Young, a hair dye company with 10–15 employees, saw a 305 percent increase in monthly ecommerce revenue after implementing a more comprehensive email marketing strategy.
So suffice it to say that email marketing for small businesses is a worthwhile endeavor capable of generating measurable results.
What Email Marketing Strategies Work Best for Small Businesses?
Even if you're working with limited resources or don't want to invest a whole lot of money in email marketing just yet, the right budget-friendly techniques can still yield an increase in opens, clicks and sales for your small ecommerce business.
Build Your Email List
Before you can start sending out emails, you first need to have people to send them to. So, begin your efforts by implementing smart email list building tactics.
For example, you can try:
Using non-intrusive pop-ups on your site that encourage visitors to subscribe
Offering a discount in exchange for joining your list
Adding an email subscription call-to-action (CTA) button to your social media pages
Including a subscription link in your email signature
Creating customized email subscription CTAs for each of your site's landing pages and blog posts
Linking to subscription-gated content on social media
If you'd like to spend a modest amount of money to jump-start your email list's growth, you can do so by creating a hyper-targeted social media ad campaign with an email subscription CTA. This certainly isn't required, though, and you can effectively build your list without spending a dime if you'd prefer.
Choose the Right Tools
There are plenty of fantastic paid email marketing platforms out there, but if you're running a small ecommerce business with a limited budget, then you probably want the best bang for your buck.
Luckily, you can choose from a variety of low-cost email marketing tools such as:
MailerLite, whose free tier allows up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 sends per month
Each of those options has its own perks and drawbacks, so be sure to evaluate your business's unique needs and each tool's key features before making a decision.
Send Welcome Emails
Make sure your subscribers feel appreciated by promptly sending welcome emails. You're sure to be glad you did — according to GetResponse, the average open rate for welcome emails is 86 percent, compared to 25 percent for other types of emails.
It gets better: Welcome emails have a click-through rate (CTR) of almost 25 percent, which is 10 times greater than the CTR of other marketing emails.
So in the words of Michal Leszczynski, Head of Marketing at GetResponse, "If you only send one thing, make it a welcome email."
Send Abandoned Cart Emails
Another highly effective type of ecommerce marketing emails are those sent after customers add a product to their cart and never check out. Known as abandoned cart emails, they can serve to recapture sales that would otherwise be lost.
Abandoned cart emails are proven to be effective, too — one study found that they have an open rate of 40 percent across all sectors, as well as an impressive CTR of nearly 29 percent:
So when you're prioritizing which types of emails are the most important to send, place abandoned cart emails toward the top of your list.
Experiment and Measure
As your overall email marketing strategy grows and evolves, you'll naturally want to experiment with different types of emails, sales tactics and wordings.
When you do start to try out new techniques, it's crucial to measure your audience's response with the help of your chosen email marketing software. This will give you the insights you need to make smart decisions, maximize revenue and effectively connect with your subscribers.
Remember to analyze key metrics such as:
Shares and forwards
Conversions and sales
And perhaps most importantly, always remain persistent and consistent with your email marketing efforts. No matter how small your email list, there's always the potential for more growth and higher sales.
That's one of the many reasons why email marketing for small businesses is so valuable — it doesn't need to be expensive to implement, but it can prove to be worth its weight in gold in the long run.
If you need more help with growing your business, Incfile can help. We've successfully walked beside over 500,000 businesses and can help you with taxes, your annual report and more.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.