Brighter Messaging

Your 10-Step Small Business Email Marketing Strategy

In the small business world, every marketing move has to work hard for you. Email marketing can be a highly beneficial and cost-effective way to promote your products and services. But don’t mash the send button just yet! Making the most of small business email marketing means stepping back and considering your strategy. To ensure that you’re reaching the right people at the right time, it’s essential to create an email strategy that forms a strategic component of your overall business plan and goals. Only when you have all the aspects of your small business marketing plan working in tandem can you reap the real benefits.

Here’s your 10-step small business email marketing plan to set you up for success:

1. Establish email goals

Effective email marketing strategies begin with clear goals. Define what you want to achieve with your emails, whether it’s increasing sales, driving website traffic, or enhancing brand awareness. Set specific, measurable, and attainable objectives to guide your content creation.

Remember, your budget, your business size, and even your familiarity with email marketing can influence what you aim for. If you’re just starting, you might focus on growing your subscriber list. If you’re a pro, you might be eyeing higher conversion rates. 

While setting your goals, you should also determine which metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure success. These KPIs should be directly tied to your goal. For example, you might decide that you want to have a 6% higher click-through rate on your emails by the end of the quarter; this would be your KPI that tells you how you’re doing.

You may also be interested in: What email marketing strategies work best for small businesses?

2. Choose an email marketing platform

Picking the perfect email marketing platform is like finding the right partner for your dance routine—it makes the whole process flow effortlessly. With a fully-equipped email marketing platform, you can send emails to hundreds, thousands, or even more people with a few clicks.

There are several email marketing platforms to choose from, so let us make things simple for you: use ActiveCampaign. We’ve done the research and found ActiveCampiagn to be the most user-friendly, powerful, and cost-efficient platform for small businesses. Of course, you’ll need to ensure the tool’s features and capabilities cover your needs, but we highly recommend adding ActiveCampaign to your shortlist.

3. Determine your target audience

Who’s receiving your emails? And who are they? Knowing who you’re talking to will help your emails take shape. To determine and understand your target audience(s), create detailed profiles and hone in on the specific characteristics of your ideal readers—their needs, preferences, and pain points. Don’t cast a wide net; instead, go where the fish are swimming. When you know your audience inside-out and understand who you’re writing to, you can craft your emails to speak their language and become messages that matter to them.

4. Build your email list

There’s no point in sending an email if you have no one to send it to. A crucial part of any email marketing strategy is getting your newly defined target audience’s email addresses onto your list.

Here are some ways to build your email list:

  • Strategically position or link your sign-up forms on high-traffic spots like your homepage, blog, social media bios, and email signatures
  • Include a call to action in your email signatures
  • Create a lead magnet—a valuable piece of content that readers may access by submitting their email addresses


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Top Tips:

  • Whatever you do, ensure that your practices align with legal regulations related to email
  • Focus on building a quality audience that’s genuinely engaged
  • Employ double opt-in sign-up forms to enhance accuracy and maintain compliance with laws
  • Offer compelling incentives and streamline the sign-up process
5. Segment your email list

One of our newer clients, who builds custom homes, still needs to build a list of prospective clients. At the moment, their email list consists mainly of previous clients and business partners. There’s no point advertising their services to this audience who’ve already had their homes built—that’s one way to get on the unsubscribe list. Rather, we’ve chosen to segment their list and send emails about collaborating on custom builds to their realtor audience. 

Not all your customers have the same needs, which is why segmenting your email lists is a vital part of a winning email blast marketing strategy. Segmenting different groups into their separate email lists allows you to send targeted emails to your recipients, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion. 

You can segment your subscribers based on a number of factors, including:

  • Demographics
  • Behavior
  • Purchase history
  • Preferences
  • Email engagement

Inspired to learn all about email marketing for your small business?

Get our comprehensive guide: The Power of Email Marketing for Small Businesses.
6. Identify your primary content focus

Craft a compelling content strategy by pinpointing the types of content types that:

  1. Serve your business goals
  2. Add value to your audience’s lives 


  • Sharing informative blog posts
  • Spotlighting new product launches
  • Providing valuable insights
  • Extending exclusive discounts and promotional offers 
  • Sending seasonal greetings 
  • Creating a monthly newsletter that can share all of the above 

With our clients, we typically implement a regular email newsletter that shares their content, along with any news and offers. We also send our own newsletter with helpful small business marketing insights.

Click here to sign up if you haven’t already.

BM Email Marketing
7. Create your email design

Studies show that brands with a consistent look and feel have 33% greater revenue than those without consistency. Email marketing is largely template-driven, which helps you achieve this level of branding consistency. When you use a branded template, all you need to do is tweak the content; the basic design and look and feel will remain the same. 

Using templates also helps you remain agile by expediting campaign creation and deployment. Even if you’re not a design pro, most email marketing tools have easy-to-use drag-and-drop editors to help you design stunning email marketing campaigns


  • Look for a template that allows you to include multimedia elements
  • Make sure your template is mobile-friendly 
  • Make your emails scannable using headings, images, bullet lists, and videos 
  • There’s no need to go OTT with your designs; email is supposed to save you time, so don’t sweat over creating overly elaborate and complex emails


You may also be interested in: Best practices for email template design


  • Write concise and engaging text
  • Include captivating visuals and relevant multimedia, but don’t go overboard
  • Infuse clear calls to action (CTAs) to guide recipients toward desired actions
  • Craft subject lines that spark curiosity
  • Ensure your content delivers what customers need
  • Always have a reason for sending emails
  • Reward readers with high-quality content that provides a tangible value to your readers’ lives
8. Craft compelling email content

Does your email content inform, entertain, or solve your subscriber’s problems? If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Every email should be sent with a purpose. If that purpose isn’t clear from the start and if your emails don’t provide value right from the subject line, your subscribers are unlikely to engage further.

9. Plan your sending schedule

You’ve got your goals, audience, design, and content. Now it’s time to start sending! Your email marketing campaign strategy should include email frequency and timing guidelines to optimize engagement and interaction. Tailor your approach based on your audience’s behaviors and preferences to enhance open and click-through rates, i.e. don’t send emails at 1 am! You can experiment with varying send times and days to uncover the most effective schedule for your recipients.

Remember that when establishing your email sending schedule as a small business, ensure it aligns with your business capacity and content creation pace. You don’t want to come out hot with an email a week if it’s not going to be sustainable. Instead, strike a balance between sending enough emails to remain relevant without overwhelming yourself or your subscribers. 

You may also be interested in: What are the steps of an email campaign?

10. Monitor and analyze results

The best email marketing strategies don’t end after hitting send! Unlike many other channels, the beauty of email is that it allows you to track results, analyze data, and adjust strategies to improve future outcomes. 

Email marketing is a cycle of learning, adapting, and refining:

  1. When strategizing your email marketing, pinpoint the key performance indicators (KPIs) crucial to your business (such as open rates, conversion rates, and subscriber engagement).
  2. Track how these indicators respond to your efforts.
  3. Use these insights to fine-tune your approach and continually enhance your email campaigns—stop wasting time on tactics that don’t bring results, and focus your efforts on those that generate the best ROI.

Elevate your game with a strategic email marketing plan

There’s a difference between sending emails to your customers willy-nilly and creating a strategic email marketing plan. By following this 10-step email strategy, you’ll be equipped to create compelling email campaigns that forge stronger customer relationships and drive results. Remember, successful email marketing is an ongoing journey of learning and adaptation. Stay attuned to your audience’s needs, track your progress, and fine-tune your email marketing strategy to achieve lasting success. 

Need an email marketing starter plan?

If all of this sounds like a bit too much for you right now, don’t hesitate to reach out to the email marketing experts at Brighter Messaging. We’d be happy to help you develop an effective email marketing strategy for your small business.

You may also be interested in: What are 5 advantages to using email marketing? 

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Brighter Messaging is a digital marketing strategy company that specializes in supporting small, service-based businesses in their digital marketing efforts.

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