Smart Marketing Basics

Email Marketing Best Practices for Your Small Business

As a 20+ year marketing veteran, and founder of the website, (templates and tips to get small businesses marketing fast), I often get requests for email marketing tips on how small businesses owners and marketers can avoid their outbound emails being considered as “spam” by propsects they reach out to. 

The two main things I ask them to focus on are: 1) developing and managing a quality list, and 2)  creating compelling messages and content that resonates with their list recipients. 

List development
It is important to seek out list sources that let you filter against a variety of demographics and job titles, so you can reach someone who is as close to your target customer as possible.  Generic lists to an untargeted mass audience will lead to a high number of spam blocking and unsubscribe requests.  The more targeted you get, and the better your open rates and click through metrics will be. 

Focus on quality contacts, versus quantity.  A bigger list isn’t always better.  Requiring your targets to “opt-in” to your list, versus you spamming them without permission, will lead to a better email responses.  For example, having  a form on your website, or including an offer in your outbound emails, that ask them to sign up to receive your content, leads to a better quality list.  Additionally, asking your list contacts to re-opt in on a regular basis, say annually, guarantees that you keep your list clean and healthy. 

Lastly, be sure to use a legitimate email service provider, whether its Constant Contact, MyEmma, or proven marketing automation vendor, that can provide you with master unsubscribe capabilities – this is a must-do to keeping your email reputation clean!

Content and Message
Another key factor to avoiding high levels of unsubscribes, is to be sure you provide relevant and compelling content to your email recipients.  This does not have to be an expensive or daunting undertaking.  At, we advocate marketing your thought leadership by developing case studies, customer win announcements, and providing other business insights, such as a top ten list of tips around a certain topic (these could focus on the basic services that your company offers). 

For example, if you are a small business providing accounting services, you could create a “top ten list for year-end tax planning” email message and provide relevant action items, and a call-to-action to get more insight through a free consultation. 

Content development seems to be a big obstacle for small businesses to undertaking, but it can easily be done (we offer templates to help with this).  All a small business has to do is look at their daily business activities for ideas. 

Hope this helps, and I would welcome your comments and insights.  For more help on creating compelling messages for email marketing, check out our low cost templates available for download by going to:
Email Marketing Templates for Small Businesses

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