Email Marketing in 2021

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Here’s Why Your Small Business Needs Email Marketing in 2021

It’s a new decade. There is a new effective way to get your customers’ attention.

Small businesses are often pronounced the “backbone of the economy,” so it’s important that the world knows about your small business and what it does. In 2021, the ability to get attention largely determines your success, and email marketing is one of the best ways in the new year to get that attention. In addition to getting your customers’ attention, email provides a way to keep customer interest and turn it into leads. The benefits of email marketing especially gained notice in the mid-2010s. However, email is expected to reach new heights in 2020, so you have an opportunity to make the next decade count.

There is consistent statistical proof that email is a relevant and effective marketing channel.

Knowing where to invest your money in marketing as a small business is critical to your success, and email is a proven investment for various businesses. As with any marketing method, you’re usually concerned with the financial outcome and whether it satisfies the investment or not. With email marketing, the average return on investment (ROI) is just one quantifier of its potential success, but it is enough to motivate some businesses. As confirmed by the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) in a 2019 report, an average of $42 can be expected back from every $1 invested.

If you’re questioning the longevity of email marketing, then looking at its global prominence and its wide usage is helpful. In 2019 alone, just under 294 billion emails were sent and received per day worldwide (Statista, 2020). This number is only expected to grow in 2023 to almost 348 billion emails (Statista, 2020). Clearly, email marketing is here to stay. It’s become a global language, and learning how to speak will give your small business a relevant, modern approach to marketing.

Small businesses have an advantage in email marketing.

The email involves customer personalization and relationships. Small businesses already offer more intimate approaches to having good customer relationships The evidence of email marketing’s overall success is evident. Still, it’s wise to consider why small businesses are particularly apt to use it. One of email marketing’s biggest contributing features is that it enables personalized marketing. Compared to a generic message, businesses can increase transaction rates six times when they tailor automated emails based on consumer activity (Omnicore, 2019). This is good news for small businesses because making those personal connections with customers typically drives significant business in smaller establishments. Community engagement, bonding, and customer personalization are all famously attributed to small businesses. This is especially true posited next to large, corporate businesses that sometimes struggle to establish those authentic connections with their customers.

Personalization for storefront small businesses 

Using strong customer relationships with email marketing can be as simple as writing a subject line that resonates with a customer’s sentiment for the local area where your small business is located. For some customers, support for a hometown or city through local business largely influences their purchase decisions, and these customers will likely open an email that mentions their local area. This is also a good strategy for small businesses that want to retain non-local customers in tourist areas.

A few emails a week can be just the friendly reminder tourists need to revisit a store they discovered in their favorite vacation spot. Email campaigns that specifically mention the small businesses’ special connection with the area can motivate previous customers to become fans of the area and revisit your store.

Personalization for eCommerce small businesses

Email marketing can also be beneficial for small eCommerce businesses. Since these establishments don’t typically have a local scene to associate with their store, retaining customers via email is almost necessary. However, your online presence makes it a bit easier to collect an email list than a physical store. Because you sell online, customers are inclined to give you their email for confirmation numbers and purchase information so you can avoid asking to send them promotional material. Small businesses in the eCommerce space can also encourage customers to complete a sale through email personalization. This is often a helpful tip when businesses want to give customers an incentive to return to abandoned online carts. Notification emails informing the customer of an incomplete purchase have a 40.5% chance of being opened, eventually converting to sales (Omnicore, 2019). Understanding how email enables businesses to be more engaged with their customers also leads to how it can be more effective than traditional marketing channels.

Email Can Do What a Lot of Other Marketing Channels Can’t Do.

Since small businesses typically have more limited spending abilities, effective marketing strategies are critical to their success. So, what distinguishes email from other marketing channels besides the statistics? Identify your target audience with email and minimize empty marketing attempts. First, email marketing allows you to identify your target audience and eliminate empty marketing attempts. The email marketing model operates on the understanding that customers who are interested in your products or services will subscribe to your email list and provide you their information while uninterested parties won’t. This means that everyone you send an email to is interested in your brand on some level, which removes the uncertainty of sending future marketing campaigns to an unreceptive demographic.

Promote accessibility and increase your customer demographic

Email also stands out from other marketing channels because it’s accessible on multiple devices. Remember, it’s important to go where the attention is, especially when it comes to the mobile space and email. In 2018, a recorded 49% of all emails were opened on a mobile device (Oberlo, 2019). Email’s accessibility also has the potential to increase your customer demographic among age groups. While it’s a popular opinion that younger audiences typically have a knack for mobile use, older users who especially don’t have access to a computer or avoid website activity are prone to interact with email via their mobile device.

Retain customers

Expanding your customer base and connections is another advantage to email marketing. It doesn’t just expand your customer demographic; it provides a way to retain those new customers, which is often a challenge for some marketers after being brought in business. Promotional material sent regularly to a customer’s inbox keeps the customer informed and engaged with your brand. Out of sight, out of mind is often an unfortunate reality for some small businesses, but email marketing helps you keep your customer’s attention.

Measure the success of your marketing campaigns

Connecting with consumers via email also allows marketers to measure the success of a specific marketing campaign and, from there, retarget campaigns to the right audience. In other words, with email marketing software, brands can compare and identify campaigns that convert against those that don’t. As a seller, you want to create email campaigns that consumers are actually responsive to. Instead of pumping out content and hopelessly wondering if it converts sales, email marketing allows you to test what type of content successfully vibes with your customers. Then, tailor the rest of your marketing copy based on what your customers respond to.

You can make email marketing work for your small business using these techniques right now in 2020

Identify your customers’ favorite content from you using key performance indicators (KPIs)

So how exactly can you test a successful email marketing campaign? How can you obtain that data to produce your prime type of content and receptive audience? The answer is key performance indicators, otherwise known as (KPIs). These indicators can be found in the analytics portion of your email marketing software. “Positive” KPIs, of course, shows what a marketer would consider good customer responses to emails, such as the number of clicks an email received or the number of sales and conversions it produced (Oberlo, 2019).

Negative KPIs show a lack of response to emails, opt-out, and spam reports (Oberlo, 2019). As a marketer with intention, you’ll want to keep a record of both negative and positive KPIs, but especially positive ones, since they show exactly what your customer

Identify the time when your customers are most responsive to your content.

Data from your email marketing software also tells you the best time to send an email when customers are most responsive to your emails. This is a good example of how email is especially a resourceful channel for testing marketing campaigns. Sending emails at different times to determine maximum activity allows you to test the customer’s attention rates. Once you gauge the window more accurately, you can target those times to send emails and get more promotional material in front of the customer directly.

Structure Your Emails with Purpose and Clarity

Again, subject lines that resonate with the customer are highly effective tools to achieve better opening rates. However, keeping customers engaged with concise promotional material and calls to action are equally important. It’s just as easy to close an email as it is to open it. This means that your emails need to have clear and meaningful promotions to pique customer interest, followed by a call to action where they can interact with your brand.

There’s less marketing guesswork than you might think.

Finally, it’s important to think of how each email can add value to the customer, not just if the email can convert. Creating emails that point the customer to a new feature on the website or highlighting a cause your small business is involved in is equally important to an email promoting a product. If you can use email marketing to inspire customers to engage with your small business, then you’ve already found success, and you should build from there. The important thing to do is start testing and find the most effective email campaigns that enhance your unique small business.

Olivia Lee Davis is a digital marketing writer and musician from Massachusetts.  Coupled with her career as a working drummer, Olivia specializes in promoting musical brands through digital marketing in the music industry.  To check out more of her work, please visit

Works Cited

Email Marketing in 2021

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