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Small business email marketing basics

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The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guide to Small business email marketing basics is a collaborative project created by users of the SmallBusiness.com WIKI. It provides an overview of basics related to this topic. Find more guides at The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guides Hub.


Email marketing can be a cost effective way to market your firm's goods or services. This article provides a basic overview of email marketing for small businesses.

Some keys to successful email marketing

  • Get high-quality double opt-in email addresses.
    • Monitor the ISP vs. free email address mix
    • Do not load site form with pre-selected opt-in checkboxes
    • Stay away from emails gathered in response to give-away offers
    • It never hurts to ask permission from your base multiple times
  • Determine who is “In-Market" for the offer.
    • Utilize as much demo and behavioral data to define your target audience as you can afford
  • Get the email past spam blockers
    • Develop relationships with the major ISP’s
    • Get Domain SPF (Sender Privacy Network) certified
    • Setup accounts with each major ISP and confirm delivery of each send
    • Assure email is SPAM blocker friendly
  • Get the email opened
    • Compelling subject line
    • Become a recognized and trusted sender
    • Repetition is good to a point, but at least the subject line should vary
  • Assure the email can be viewed
    • Need to assure compatibility with roughly 20 different major email clients, and the email must be preview pane and image-blocker friendly
  • Get the click or initial action
    • Offer must be compelling, relevant, and personal
    • For those that open but don’t click, have a secondary or even tertiary offer ready
  • Get the conversion
    • Assure a seamless and relevant experience from start to finish.

Outsourced email marketing

Many firms offer services to help your company create and send email marketing campaigns. These services usually start with marketing leads you provide and use mail servers dedicated to mass mailing. Some of the services they may provide include:

  • Campaign design
  • Content management software for easy email campaign creation
  • Response tracking
  • Link click tracking
  • An easy method for recipients to remove themselves from your list
  • Subscription list management
  • Subscription list import and export
  • Customer list segmentation and mail merge
  • Tracking of individual email views
  • Image hosting for images appearing in HTML emails
  • Compatibility testing with various email software
  • Spam filter "white listing" to prevent your campaign from being marked as junk email by popular email services