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Updated Mar 28, 2024

6 Benefits of Email Marketing for Small Businesses

If you're new to email marketing, it's easy to get started and start seeing results immediately.

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Written By: Jamie JohnsonBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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The first email was sent in 1971; it permanently changed how we communicate with one another. Today, businesses use email to connect with their audience, build credibility in their industry and increase sales.

If you’re new to email marketing, it’s easy to get started and start seeing results immediately.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a marketing strategy that involves sending emails to your target audience. It’s one of the best ways to turn prospects into buyers and one-off customers into engaged and loyal brand advocates.

Your email marketing strategy can include sending weekly newsletters, promotional emails and special customer deals. It allows you to create relationships with your audience and steadily build customer loyalty.

What are the business benefits of email marketing?

For small businesses without a sizable marketing budget, email marketing can drive impressive results. Below are six of the most significant benefits small businesses can gain through email marketing:

1. Email marketing can bring a high ROI.

According to 2020 data, email marketing can yield an ROI of up to $45 per dollar spent, with an average of $36 per dollar spent. And if you implement techniques like A/B testing, using a double opt-in and sticking to a regular schedule, you can increase this number.

To track the ROI of your email campaigns, use the following formula:

Net profit = Gross profits from email marketing – Email marketing costs

Net profit / Email marketing costs = ROI

For example, if you earned $2,000 in sales from one email marketing campaign after spending $150:

($2,000 – $150.00) / $150 = 12.33

You have an ROI of 12.33. That means for every dollar you spent on the campaign, you earned $12.33 back.

Did You Know?Did you know
Many businesses use ROI calculations to identify marketing and advertising methods that yield the highest return based on prior successes.

2. Email marketing can appeal to different audience segments.

Email marketing allows you to create targeted campaigns by leveraging data about your email subscribers to better reach your target customers.

If you’re new to email marketing, creating personalized content can feel daunting and overwhelming. However, personalizing your content can be as simple as using a subscriber’s first name in your email. Research shows that adding a subscriber’s first name to the subject line can improve email open rates by as much as 23 percent.

As your email list grows and you get more comfortable with email marketing, you can use customer segmentation to group your audience members based on age, income level, gender or how long they’ve been customers.

3. Email marketing can save you time and money.

Most business owners are short on time and money. Luckily, email marketing automation makes interacting with customers and prospects easy and cost-effective.

After building an email contact list, create a new email campaign with a carefully crafted offer and email design. Then, your email marketing software can automatically send your messages to the target list. You can engage with your audience and create new customers while working on other aspects of running your business.

Of course, you must track your email campaigns and tweak things occasionally. Still, email marketing is one of the most hands-off marketing strategies around.

It’s also relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other methods, like paid advertising. You can develop a professional email campaign that goes to thousands of subscribers for very little money.

4. Email marketing can create stronger customer relationships.

Marketing involves demonstrating value to consumers and showing your audience how they can take the next step with your business. Once someone joins your email list, you have an opportunity to send them helpful, relevant content.

Not every email you send customers should involve selling them products or services. Instead, focus on providing value. When you can demonstrate the value you provide your customers, they’ll look forward to hearing from you every week. 

List your social media accounts in your emails, and encourage subscribers to connect with you on those channels. Social media interactions help build credibility with your audience; if they are intrigued by a particular email you’ve sent, they can learn more about your products or services by clicking on your social media links.

Email content that delivers value includes helpful information, newsletters, product tips, videos and blog posts.

5. Email marketing can increase sales.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to boost sales, especially when traffic to your brick-and-mortar store is down significantly.

Some customers will make a buying decision if they receive a well-timed offer. Adding urgency to your offers and providing generous deals or free shipping are excellent ways to convert subscribers to customers.

Email marketing is also a great way to upsell current customers and re-engage customers who haven’t purchased in a while.

By creating personalized and targeted offers for consumers on your list, you can motivate your audience to purchase from your business.

6. Email marketing can build a valuable subscriber base.

One of the downsides of social media marketing is that you don’t own your followers. If your Facebook Business page is unexpectedly shut down (which isn’t uncommon), you’ll lose access to the following you’ve spent months or even years building.

That’s why it’s essential to build and manage an email list to keep a handle on your subscriber base. You have a valuable list of customers and a way to contact them. Even if you switch email providers, you own your contact list.

How to get started with email marketing

Many business owners know they should build a list of email contacts but are unsure how to get started. These four steps will walk you through the process:

1. Choose your email marketing provider.

The first step is choosing the right email marketing service. When you’re evaluating service providers, consider the following:

  • The provider’s deliverability rate
  • Whether the provider offers templates and allows you to customize your emails
  • Whether the software is intuitive and user-friendly
  • Advanced features the service offers, like A/B testing, analytics and segmentation tools
  • The level of customer support the company provides

Once you’ve settled on a service provider, sign up for a free trial (which most providers offer). That way, you can test the software to ensure it’s the best fit for your needs (more on choosing an email marketing service provider below).

2. Create a free but compelling opt-in.

You must give your audience an excellent reason why they should join your email list. The best way to incentivize them is by creating a free opt-in.

The type of opt-in you create depends on your customers and their needs. For instance, if you target a B2B audience, you might create an in-depth white paper around a topic they’re interested in.

Once you’ve created your opt-in, you can set up a lead capture form on your website. Your audience will sign up with their email address; from there, they can download your opt-in. You can also promote your opt-in on all your social media channels to drive more email list sign-ups.

Did You Know?Did you know
Opt-in email marketing helps you comply with FTC regulations that require getting people's express permission before sending them emails.

3. Send a weekly newsletter.

Your subscribers want to know what they can expect from you, and the best way to do that is by sending a weekly email newsletter.

Your newsletter is another way to share helpful and relevant content with your audience – again, it’s a way you can provide value to subscribers.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your newsletter:

  • Use a template to design your newsletter.
  • Keep it brief. Your audience may lose interest if your emails are too long.
  • Personalize the subject line so subscribers are more inclined to open your emails.
  • Add a compelling call to action at the end.
  • Optimize your newsletter so it looks good on mobile devices.

4. Track your analytics.

Finally, one of the most important aspects of email marketing is tracking your results. Tracking analytics helps you determine what resonates with your audience.

Open rate and click-through rate are among the most crucial email metrics to track

  • Open rate: Your open rate is one of the first analytics you want to look at. Typically, a good email open rate ranges from 15 percent to 25 percent. An open rate under 15 percent could indicate that your subject line needs revising. However, your open rate will likely fall as your email list grows.
  • Click-through rate: The next analytic is your click-through rate. This is the percentage of email recipients who click on the links in your emails. Depending on your industry, your target click-through rate should be a mere 2 percent to 5 percent.
Did You Know?Did you know
Neglecting email analytics is a typical email marketing mistake. Without monitoring analytics, improving your email marketing strategy will be challenging.

The best email marketing software

Once you’re ready to email customers, sign up for one of the best email marketing software providers. We recommend choosing one of the following options:

  • Campaigner: This email marketing software provider includes tools for customizing your emails to your target audience and creating automated email drip campaigns. Explore additional Campaigner customization and automation features via our Campaigner review.
  • A platform with extensive customer relationship management and project management capabilities, is excellent for creating automated workflows and building campaigns from templates. Learn more via our detailed email marketing review.
  • Constant Contact: You’ll get a comparably large number of features per dollar spent with this highly user-friendly email marketing platform. Read our Constant Contact review to learn exactly what this email marketing service includes.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Between its AI-derived insights and 24/7 customer support, Salesforce’s email marketing solution is among the most powerful around. Our Salesforce Marketing Cloud review goes deep on this platform’s features and advantages.
  • Freshworks Freshmarketer: This platform is designed to integrate with all kinds of solutions for powering sales teams. Our full Freshworks Freshmarketer review details why coupling this platform with the Freshworks CRM is great for lead capture and nurturing.

Emailing your way to sales

There is a learning curve when you’re getting started with email marketing, but it isn’t a steep one. If anything, by following the tips in this article – and adjusting your strategies as your list grows and you become more comfortable with email marketing software – you’ll find the benefits are well worth it. In all likelihood, you’ll also find yourself making more sales and earning revenue. And you’ll have done it all with hands-off automations and user-friendly software.

Max Freedman contributed to this article.

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Written By: Jamie JohnsonBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
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