Email marketing for small businesses: 8 tips to get you started

I was compelled to write his for two reasons. The first is that a few days ago, I was invited to a blogger party at a local store by some blogger friends of mine. A few days after RSVPing, I received a promotional email from that business that had nothing to do with the party, I had been added to their general email list. More on that later, but not only is it annoying, it’s actually illegal.

And secondly, it seems like every day, Instagram has an algorithm change. If IG is anything like Facebook, then reach is going to continue to get harder and harder to achieve. One thing you can always count on, one thing that you own that no one else does, is your email list. That’s why brands still make email such a priority, and why they’re constantly working on capturing your email address They know how valuable it is.

So here are 8 tips to get you started, if you’re trying to tackle the world of email marketing for bloggers & small business:

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1. Do not add people to your list without permission. Someone giving their email to enter a contest, or for a party invitation (as was the case of the business mentioned above) does not give you the right to email them marketing materials. I made the mistake of forgetting to let people know at Mamas + Makers this year that by entering the raffle, they would be added to the cuteheads email list. And because I forgot to mention it, I couldn’t add them. It was one minor mistake in an overall-successful event, but I’ll remember for next time to be totally transparent about that.

2. Do not buy lists. You might as well be throwing money down the toilet. It’s tempting, but don’t do it.

3. Understand the funnel. One of the most important things you need to figure out about your customers and readers to grow your email list is how to get them point a to point b. In other words, how do you get someone who knows nothing about you to go from clicking on your Instagram photo to being an email subscriber, bought into what you’re all about? One of the things I do is, instead of making the link in my Instagram profile a link to my site or blog, I link directly to my email sign up page. From there, they learn that if they sign up, they get 10% off their first purchase. Just this small change, has had a dramatic effect on the number of subscribers I have and the speed my list is growing.

4. Get familiar with CAN-SPAM. CAN-SPAM is a set of laws that created the first national standards and rules or sending commercial emails. These laws range include: adding an unsubscribe to all emails, adding a commercial address to the bottom of all emails, emails must have relevant subject lines. If your blog or business is making money, you are a business and you must comply with these laws.

5. Make your emails worth their while. Your emails should be filled with relevant content, freebies, printables, behind-the-scenes, and anything else that is special for your email subscribers. I send a lot of email-only coupons to entice people to subscribe, and my emails always include both information about cuteheads and new and relevant blog posts. I make them short, sweet, and to the point, but I always try to think about whatís in it for the subscriber.

6. Be consistent. It’s important to send emails regularly (but not too regularly!). Once a week or once every two weeks is generally considered the standard. This was you stay top of mine without being annoying.

7. Get creative. Reach out to other small brands or bloggers with similar audiences and cross-promote. Have them mention you in their emails and vice versa. Reach out to bloggers with big email lists and talk to them about providing a coupon code just for their readers for your product.

8. Just start! You might think it’s too hard, that you’ll never build your list, but it starts with just that one subscriber. And as you figure out what your subscribers want in their emails, you can fine tune your offerings and make your copy, your headlines, and your content more openable and clickable.

Have you been focusing on email lately?

Esther Freedman

Esther Freedman is the founder and designer of cuteheads, a modern line of kidswear, made with love in Texas. She is also the writer of The Cuteness, a blog all about small business, motherhood and balancing it all. She is mom to two little muses, ages 3 and 11 months.

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