An Email Marketing Checklist for Small Businesses

January 23, 2024

Quick Answer:

Quick Overview

AI Powered Marketing by

Unlimited Marketing powered by AI, driven by humans, for less than $20 a day.

Paid Ads
Organic Marketing
Automations Reviews

Are you overwhelmed by the thought of email marketing? Our email marketing checklist for small businesses is here to simplify the process, ensuring you get the most out of this timeless marketing tool. Designed specifically for entrepreneurs and brands looking to connect and engage with their audience, this guide will be your roadmap to email marketing success. Let’s dive in!

Email Marketing at a Glance

In the vast ocean of digital communication, email marketing stands out as a lighthouse guiding businesses to success. And the proof is in the numbers: an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent is pretty hard to ignore. 

Such impressive figures place email marketing at the forefront of advertising strategies, especially for businesses looking for the best bang for their buck. With so many platforms vying for their attention, the cost-effectiveness of email marketing presents an invaluable advantage for budget-conscious small businesses.

But it’s not just about the numbers. Beyond those striking stats, email marketing allows you to create personalized bridges between your brand and your customers. And every subsequent email builds on that carefully cultivated relationship.

What are the Requirements for Email Marketing?

Email marketing demands much more than just enthusiasm. You also need the right equipment. And at the heart of this is your email marketing platform, an indispensable tool that acts as your mission control. Email marketing platforms enable you to send emails in bulk, segment your audience, and deep dive into analytics. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Mailchimp: Known for its user-friendly interface and versatile templates. It also provides insightful analytics for your campaigns.
  2. Constant Contact: Offers a wide variety of templates and an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, ideal for those just getting started.
  3. SendinBlue: Boasts advanced features like transactional emails and SMS campaigns, making it great for scaling small businesses.
  4. GetResponse: More than just an email tool, it also offers webinar hosting, landing pages, and automated sales funnels.
  5. ActiveCampaign: Combines email marketing, automation, and CRM functionalities. Great for businesses looking to do more than just email.
  6. AWeber: Praised for its top-notch customer service and easy-to-use platform, it’s a staple for many small businesses.
  7. MailerLite: An affordable option with a simple interface, ideal for those who want no-fuss email marketing.
  8. ConvertKit: Tailored for bloggers, authors, and creators. Its strength lies in its simplicity and a clear focus on the creator market.
  9. Benchmark Email: Offers an easy-to-use interface with a free plan that can be ideal for businesses just starting out.
  10. Moosend: An affordable platform with a user-friendly interface offering advanced automation options.

Of course, while this technology lays the foundation, the true essence of email marketing blooms from your content and your audience. You should aim to craft messages that resonate, touch hearts, and spark action. It’s also equally vital to understand your target audience, connecting with their aspirations, pain points, and dreams. Marrying these with clear, actionable goals sets the stage for an impactful email marketing campaign. Ready, set, engage!

The Small Business Email Marketing Checklist

So, what should be your checklist before sending an email? It’s not a mere game of ‘send & forget.’ From strategy to execution, every email you send must echo your brand’s vision and purpose. Here’s everything you need to create a successful email marketing campaign.

1. Define Your Goal and Expectations

Before setting sail, you have to know your destination. And the same principle applies to email marketing. Whether you’re aiming to boost your website traffic, add people to your sales funnel, or announce the launch of a new, revolutionary product, you must identify your goals before you start. 

By choosing your objectives at the beginning, you anchor every element of your email campaign, including text, images, or CTAs, to steer toward that end. Clear goals also pave the way for more measurable results, ensuring a direct effort rather than a shot in the dark.

2. Choose Your Email KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aren’t just jargon; they’re the heartbeat of your campaign. They’re the compass of your email campaigns, pointing you towards what’s working and what’s not. They turn abstract goals into tangible metrics that you can use to gauge the success of your email marketing. So, choose wisely! 

3. Create and Segment Your Target Audience

Think of your audience as an orchestra, each section playing a distinct tune that makes up your entire customer or follower base. Once you understand these different sections (preferences, purchasing history, age, gender, geography, and much more), you can segment your audience and personalize your email campaigns. This approach not only amplifies engagement but also cultivates a sense of individual connection, which nurtures brand loyalty.

4. Choose the Right Email List

That said, an orchestra is only as good as its musicians. Similarly, the success of your campaign hinges on the quality of your email list, and we always recommend quality over quantity. Rather than aiming for a colossal subscriber count, focus on cultivating an engaged and genuinely interested list. Remember: a small, responsive list will always outperform a massive, passive one.

5. Clean Your Email List

People change, and that includes the ones on your email list. So, you should take the time to sift through your email list, weeding out dormant subscribers or invalid email addresses. This ensures you communicate with a genuinely invested audience, optimizes your engagement rates, and boosts your campaign results.

6. Enable A/B Testing

Digital marketing gives you a lot of room to play around with different ideas. A/B testing is a perfect example of what’s possible with email marketing, allowing you to test variations of subject lines, content, and send times to create the ideal email marketing campaign for your brand and business.

7. Choose Your Sender Name and Email

Think of the last time you received an email from “” - it felt impersonal, right? When you see an email from a name you don’t recognize, do you even look at it? Or do you delete it on sight?

Your sender identity isn’t just an address; it’s your first impression. So, choose a name and email address that reflects your brand and builds trust. A familiar, authentic sender identity can often be the difference between an opened email and a skipped one.

8. Write a Gripping Subject Line

Your subject line is your email’s handshake, so you need it to be firm, confident, and inviting. Your goal is to encapsulate the essence of your message in very few words, so experiment with different tones, from urgent calls to action to light-hearted teasers. And always be conscious of character length. Remember, a mobile audience might see a smaller version of the full subject line, so make every word count!

9. Create your Email Content

In the vast sea of email marketing, diversity of content will set you apart. And there are many types of email campaigns, including newsletters, transaction confirmations, educational pieces, flash sale promotions, and more! Each email campaign in your arsenal is super important, and you don’t want to set yourself up as a one-trick pony.

Crafting your email campaign requires you to be in sync with its purpose. Does it inform, motivate, or reassure? Are you trying to elicit a response? If so, what kind of response are you looking for? Make sure your content not only aligns with the intent but also adds value to the ongoing conversation you’re having with your customers. And most importantly, invest in your content’s quality.

Tips for Writing Killer Email Copy

Crafting compelling email copy is an art, so here are some tips to help you master it.

  1. Make it Relevant: Dive deep into understanding your audience, then tailor your content to speak directly to them, addressing their needs or curiosities.
  2. Offer Exclusive Deals: Everyone loves feeling special. Offering exclusive deals can spark interest and make subscribers feel valued.
  3. Include a CTA: Your email should have direction. Clear CTAs guide your subscribers, illuminating the path you want them to take.
  4. Proofread and Spellcheck: Small errors can be massive credibility killers. So, take the time to ensure your content is polished and error-free.
  5. Include Contact Information: Build bridges, not walls. Make it easy for subscribers to reach out, fostering deeper connections.
  6. Provide an Unsubscribe Link: Being open and transparent about subscription choices shows your subscribers that you respect them, their time, and their ability to choose to continue their relationship with you.
  7. Engage with Storytelling: We’re all wired for stories, and a compelling narrative can make your email more memorable.
  8. Use Scarcity: Like many psychological principles, the ticking clock phenomenon is real. Remind subscribers of limited offers or deadlines, encouraging prompt action.
  9. Prioritize Clarity: Communicate clearly, ensuring your content is easily digestible without oversimplifying your message.
  10. Be Consistent: From the tone of your message to its visual elements, consistency fortifies brand recognition and trust, which helps your customers remember who you are.
  11. Invest in High-Quality Images: Images can make or break your email campaigns, so if you’re going to include them, make sure they’re high quality and relevant.

10. Avoid the Spam Folder

Landing in the spam folder is like being invisible, so you should do everything in your power to avoid that. And that goes beyond just following the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines. You also have to ensure that your email doesn’t come across as unsolicited or spammy. 

We highly recommend using authentic email service providers known for their high delivery rates. Using certain words or phrases in your subject line or email content can trigger spam filters, so do lots of research to avoid these pitfalls. Also, regularly encourage your subscribers to add you to their contacts or whitelist your email address – this can go a long way in helping your emails consistently land in their primary inbox, ensuring better visibility and engagement.

11. Boost Accessibility and Readability

In this digital age, being inclusive and accessible isn’t just recommended; it’s essential. Everyone deserves to access your content, regardless of their physical abilities. So, here are some tips to help make your content more accessible:

  1. Choose intuitive layouts that are easy to navigate. 
  2. Your fonts should be legible and appropriately sized, ensuring they’re readable for everyone, including those with visual impairments. 
  3. Make your content responsive on mobile and tablets.
  4. Add meta tags and meta descriptions for all images and graphics.
  5. Use inclusive, inviting language.

By prioritizing accessibility, you’re not only being ethically sound but also expanding your potential audience reach.

12. Send a Test Email

Before the grand reveal, a behind-the-scenes rehearsal is indispensable. And sending a test email is more than just a wise recommendation; it’s your opportunity to catch any glitches or errors in your campaign. Also, the appearance of your email might vary across different email clients, so testing your email before hitting send will help you catch any potential issues that might arise.

13. Choose Your Send Time and Day

Timing isn’t just about precision; it’s about strategy. Studies consistently show that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM are the golden hours for email marketing, with optimal open rates observed across industries. 

That said, while these studies offer a useful starting point, it’s pivotal to remember that every audience is unique. You might try this and realize that your demographic is more responsive during the weekend, or perhaps early-morning emails get a better click-through rate. Analytics tools can help pinpoint when your specific subscribers are most active, allowing you to tailor your send times for your audience.

14. Schedule Your Campaign

Consistent and regular interaction with your audience is the cornerstone of effective email marketing. And by establishing an email frequency, whether it’s sharing daily insights, delivering weekly roundups, or curating monthly newsletters, you ensure your brand remains top of mind. 

Adhering to this schedule not only maintains the brand’s visibility but also fosters trust and anticipation among your subscribers. Over time, this nurtured bond transforms casual subscribers into loyalists, amplifying brand recall and engagement. So, create a schedule that best fits your audience and stick to it!

15. Monitor and Analyze Your Metrics

After hitting send, the real detective work begins. Dive into your campaign metrics to understand your open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes. All the information you can gather is vital to creating the best email marketing campaign possible. 

A high open rate with a low click-through might hint at catchy subject lines but underwhelming content. Conversely, a spike in unsubscribes might indicate content misalignment or over-saturation. Keep your eyes on your data, and you can catch issues as they arise or tweak campaigns to make them more effective.

Comparative analysis is your friend, so pit current metrics against past campaigns to trace your growth and identify emerging patterns. Even the smallest insights can help you optimize your campaigns and set you up for success.

Explore Email Marketing Tips, Tricks, and More!

Embarking on your email marketing journey can initially seem like navigating a labyrinth full of twists and turns. But with this in-depth email marketing checklist, you can elevate your email marketing campaigns and boost your customer relationships and brand recognition.

Of course, the learning shouldn’t stop here. To keep your finger on the pulse and gain access to invaluable industry secrets, subscribe to our newsletter today!