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7 min read

How do I use email marketing to promote my business?

Email is still one of the top channels for marketing a business. Used correctly, it can be an effective and inexpensive way to drive sales and leads, grow brand engagement, increase customer loyalty, promote events, grow your fanbase and conduct research. Whereas communicating with fans on social media relies on the social platform’s algorithm, if you grow your own email database you control how and when you communicate to it. With a campaign monitor, you can truly make it work for you. This article provides step by step introductions and explores practical pointers for getting started and tips for improving your email marketing strategy.

How should I use email marketing?

First, choose which email marketing campaigns service provider you will use. There are many email marketing platforms available where you can store data, create call to action emails, send personalized emails, create responsive email design templates, create, send and track your campaigns. One of the most popular is MailChimp – it’s free, easy to use and integrates well with web builders like WordPress, Shopify and Squarespace. Others include Drip, dotmailer, Constant Contact – take a look to see which has the features and interface that appeal most to you. All have their own marketing tool spin and can provide you with additional marketing tips.

As well as promoting your products, services, promotions and events, emails should give people information that is valuable to them and not purely focus on sales messages. It can’t always be a marketing goal – your customers will catch on! Successful email marketing involves setting goals and thinking about how personal your emails are. Delve into your customer data to understand what they would like to see. A successful campaign will have signs of all of these and you can give yourself a head start. You can offer tips, advice, news and stories that align with your brand values

Emails should be sent at regular frequencies to create a high click through rate (but not so often that you are bombarding) and it’s a good idea to create strategies and tactics for the year so that you can organise your time and plan effective email marketing around events and promotions.

  Events and promos Content ideas
January New Year Healthy recipes
February Valentine’s Day / New menu launch Interview with chef about new menu
March Free bottle of wine Book a meal for two or more in March and get a free bottle of house red / white

2023: the year you became a marketing guru

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Email marketing ideas for small businesses

Take a look at these different small businesses to see how they use email marketing

Mt Hope

Mount Hope

Dan runs an ecommerce business called Mount Hope selling handmade leather notebooks. 

Find out more

Mount Hope send out a monthly email that focuses on how the notebooks are made, the materials used, charities they support and profiles with pictures of customers that use the notebooks for interesting reasons like sketching, poetry and songwriting. 

Pizza Pie

Pizza Pie

Toni runs an Italian street food stall called Pizza Pie. 

Find out more

Every Monday morning Pizza Pie sends an email to its customers with a lunchtime special offer for the week that’s exclusive to the database, they also confirm the week’s opening times, locations and the ‘pizza pie of the week.’  

Pavan Black

PR freelancer

Pavan is a PR freelancer for hotels.

Find out more

Pavan sends out a monthly email that features her top five hospitality industry news stories from the last month, the top five hotel job vacancies and a short case study of one of her latest clients with the press and results she achieved for them. 

Eternally Yours

Eternally Yours

Jemima runs an online shop business selling wedding rings called Eternally Yours.

Find out more

Eternally Yours produces a seasonal wedding ideas online brochure four times a year, available for download when you sign up. The catalogue features latest wedding trends and other partner wedding suppliers as well as the latest Eternally Yours rings. The other suppliers also share the catalogue. It then follows up with bi-weekly sales and latest collection emails to the subscribers whose weddings are still up and coming.  


How can I grow my email marketing database?

Data capture and communications with customers should be a priority for all business owners. Creating a good customer journey and allowing them to feedback with fascinating blog topics allows customer retention. Even if you’re really busy you should make sure you are asking people to agree to receive if they want to hear from you so that you have a strategy in place should things ever get quieter.

Here are some suggestions as to how you can grow your email database: 

  • Website sign ups
    Website sign ups

    Make sign up options prominent on your website by adding them to the header, blog and including a pop-up. You can offer an incentive of a competition, discount or free resource. Ensure the email addresses collected are automatically stored in your email software system.

  • Plants

    If you attend events or have a physical store then have data capture cards or a device with a tool like this Mailchimp app to collect emails.

  • Chatting outside

    Partner with similar brands to drive new customers to your site or to sign up. For example, collaborate with a brand with a similar target market to offer a competition and share the sign ups.

  • On phones in bar
    Social sharing buttons

    Make sure your emails include social sharing and ‘forward to a friend’ buttons so your current database can push the content out to their friend.

  • Tapping at laptop keyboard
    Email signatures

    Include sign up links in the signature of your own emails (and give them a reason to sign up). When obtaining, storing and using email addresses and other data, it’s really important that you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. It states that people must give permission to have their data used for the purpose you intend to use it (and you must keep record proof of this). It must be stored securely and they must be able to see a copy of their data or have it removed in a timely fashion if they request.

How do I make sure my email campaigns are successful?

There are some simple ways to ensure your email campaigns are successful. Making sure you know the right times to send by consulting a marketing team is one. You can look at marketing examples or a marketing guide. The types of emails you send alongside their responsive design will give a higher success rate. Making sure your emails are AB tested is essential. The importance of email marketing is huge. Follow this best practice checklist to go through the steps and considerations to maximise the performance of your campaigns.

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How should I measure and optimise my email campaigns?

Any effective email marketing strategies that you do should be tracked and measured so you know if it’s giving you a return on investment and which content is working best. Knowing your conversion rates and user behaviour is a great measure. You want to know how to boost sales, make sure customers don’t leave their shopping cart empty, and have high clickthrough rates. Any data is better than none so start now, keep it simple and start small. Do market research among your audience. Make sure your optimizing for mobile and your mobile app. Sending your emails and knowing that you’re creating great content will make you one step ahead. Your email service provider will have reporting tools that will provide you with a wide range of stats, the top line being:

  • Open rate (how many people are opening your email and the industry average)
  • Click rate (how many people click on a link within the email)
  • Subscribers and unsubscribes
  • Positive responses like orders and revenue generated (add the supplied code to your website to track orders and revenue generated)

Mailchimp dashboard

For tracking user behaviour on your website beyond the signup form and click and purchase, you can tag the links in your email campaigns with Google Analytics (presuming your website is already using Google Analytics). You’ll be able to identify your target and compare how your online marketing email campaigns stack up against your other referral channels (for example, other websites, Facebook ads, search engines). Measuring email performance and staying on top of it is how you excel.

What is email marketing automation?

Automation tools mean that certain campaigns can be automatically sent out so your effective email marketing can tick along in the background without you having to constantly manage it. They can be set up in your email service provider and will offer additional revenue opportunities and will help to eliminate repetitive tasks. Personalise your automated emails so that you’re saving time without compromising on creativity.


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What other resources are there to get me started with email marketing?

You’ve chosen your service provider, you’ve started a calendar for content, events and tracking and you’re ready to get started. Here are a few more really useful resources and tools to teach you more and help you with brilliant marketing emails…

  • Unsplash – Beautiful photos for you to use for free and without needing to credit. Great for digital marketing and social media marketing.
  • Canva – A great free design tool with loads of templates and images for designing emails, ads and marketing materials. Fantastic marketing content.
  • Really Good Emails – Blog post and resources about creating really good emails plus a stack of other companies actual emails for inspiration.
  • How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week – The Tim Ferris Blog – Never one to do things by halves, Tim Ferris explores Harry’s (a men’s grooming business) pre-launch campaign that gathered 100,000 emails in one week.
  • The Story of Telling Blog – A blog that will help you discover where your value lies and how to tell your brand’s story.
  • HubSpot – Inbound marketing experts HubSpot share resources and blogs to help you, including sales email templates, improving your subject lines and more.
  • Shopify – A useful guide from the ecommerce platform on everything email marketing for your shop.
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