Why Email Marketing Works and How It Can Work for Your Business

Lots of small businesses ask us whether email marketing campaigns still work, and if so, what the formula for success is. The short answer is yes, email marketing strategies can be effective no matter where the audience is in the marketing funnel. Effective email marketing campaigns deliver quality content relevant to their specific audience and nurture the client relationship with an element of relatability.

Email marketing strategies are becoming increasingly relevant as more and more users access email via mobile device, and email subscribers are easily reachable and quickly develop familiarity with your brand. That is, if you’re delivering the right content. 

With audience targeting and customization, email marketing tools can help you reach your perfect client, at the perfect time. Here are some of the benefits of cultivating email lists and targeting the right audiences with the right email campaigns.


How Email Marketing Works

More than 91 percent of consumers check their email on a daily or more frequent basis, which means marketers are ignoring a huge potential customer pool if they ignore the power of a good email marketing campaign. With more than 60 percent of all emails  opened and read via mobile, email marketing remains accessible to the online shopper who is increasingly on the go. 

Our lives are hectic, and email is one form of communication which carries an air of productivity and business, so working folks are likely to feel less guilt scrolling through emails than scrolling through social media throughout the day. Offering relevant content to an audience that wants to improve, either personally or professionally, is a great way to establish that communication.

Here are some of the benefits of email marketing strategies for small businesses:

Customizable Audience Creation

Email campaigns are highly effective tools for shaping the customer experience with your brand, while using mailing lists within your contact list to personalize the buyer journey. Whether your goal is generating more brand awareness, reaching a broader audience, educating your consumer base, positioning your business as an industry expert, or making immediate sales, there’s an email strategy for it.

Using customer browsing and site interaction data and a personalized approach to customer communication, you can decide the email deliverability of your campaign based on customer behaviors and email marketing statistics. Careful automation can help you reach email users at their exact point in the buyer journey with content that helps solve a real-time need or celebrate a virtual interaction with the brand.

For example, if you know that first-time users are the most likely to abandon a shopping cart, you might automate this site action with a time-delayed confirmation email meant to reinforce the brand-client relationship. Whether through a promotional email exclusive to your “new customer” email marketing list or a piece of free content that solves a common pain-point within your audience, you can create email marketing automation that represents your brand voice and values to nurture the client relationship.

Real-Time Relevance

An email address is the most valuable takeaway from lead magnets and other marketing materials, because it paves your way for continuous communication with the potential customer over time. Not only can you position your business as an industry expert through useful and trustworthy content, you can also reach your audience very quickly when something big happens.

It might be a national event, a piece of very important industry news, or big news about your brand, but when you want immediate attention from your online audience, email lists are key. One of the many benefits of email marketing is this client accessibility immediately following an event, because it gives your business the opportunity to be the first voice addressing it with the audience online. 

Build Brand Value For Your Ideal Client

Email campaigns and marketing emails, when used with intent and brand alignment, can create value within your brand with little upfront investment. Taking time to develop a strategy for your email content that offers value to the client is important. But what does that mean?

Building brand value for your client might mean offering a library of blog posts or email newsletters that provide content that your audience will respond well to. But how do you determine what kind of email marketing effort they will respond to? 

Think about the common pain-points within your current client base and your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What kinds of problems are they trying to solve? Is there something that you can offer, as an industry expert, that might help your ideal customer but would cost your business little time or effort?

One example might be free fitness programming from a personal training website, in exchange for the client’s email address and potentially a trial-introduction to the business. While it takes few resources for the business to write a training program (because they’re experts) the client will see the value in a customized program designed around their specific fitness goals. However, while that content is very valuable to the client, it doesn’t replace a large part of the value of a personal trainer: the accountability, discipline, and confidence clients need to stay on track. 


Another major benefit of email marketing is the affordability. It costs very little to email clients regularly for the trade-off of having nearly constant, often immediate accessibility to your audience. Personalized emails based on customer actions or important dates can go a long way in nurturing brand loyalty. 

Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Despite the many benefits of email marketing strategies, there are a lot of ways to do it wrong, and we’ve all seen it time and time again. 

It usually goes something like: you subscribe to content that has some value to you, or is generated by a brand you’re already familiar with. The business has a great opportunity to continue offering more of what you love, and maybe they do for a while. Then the spamming starts, you try to adjust your subscriber settings to sift through content, or you unsubscribe altogether. 

The question here is, how does a small business owner decide what types of email appeal to their audience, and what types don’t? Here are some common mistakes marketing teams want you to avoid:

Emailing Too Often

Even if you have great content, your audience has a lot going on outside of your relationship with them. They’ve got a lot of other relationships, obligations, and emails to read, so your email frequency and content need to be mindful of that. Overwhelming your email list with content is a sure way to increase unsubscribe rates and end up in the spam folder. 

Marketing data such as click rates, open rates, and conversion rates for email campaigns can help you narrow-down the frequency of your email correspondence with clients. Even the most avid gardener doesn’t need to hear from their organic lawn care company every day, or even every week. Deciding frequency of automations should also depend on where the user is in the customer journey and what their interactions with your brand have looked like in the past. Other aspects of your digital marketing strategy, like social media marketing efforts and search engine marketing strategy will help determine email marketing goals as well.

Irrelevant Content

Missing the mark on content relevancy can be as awkward within the user experience as it is in real-world interactions because today’s online shopper likes to know and identify with their favorite brands. Delivering content that does not offer value to your audience can be disappointing for them and create a negative association with the brand experience. That’s why content is key!

There are a couple of ways to approach content relevancy through email marketing campaigns. One way is through more specific audience targeting by using highly segmented lists to categorize your target audience members. Some members might be at earlier or later stages of the brand relationship, or be seeking different services or service locations from your business. Highly targeted campaigns focused on email segmentation deliver more relevant content than mass emails.

Another way is through segmenting your content delivery by type across different virtual platforms. For example, you might use your social media channels to provide very timely, more informal content while you use educational emails to draw attention to your blog posts about industry-specific best practices. Knowing your audience and understanding their needs are crucial in determining content relevancy. 

Not Optimized For Mobile

One of the major advantages of today’s email marketing efforts that differ from the early days of email is the mobile accessibility. Today’s consumer finds the product they need when it’s top of mind to them, and most have a cell phone in hand or close by at nearly all times. Email marketing, like social media marketing, has the advantage of being accessible to the mobile user at their convenience, no matter where or when.

That being said, not optimizing your campaigns for mobile is a huge missed opportunity for creating a positive brand experience and connecting your audience with important information. Online shoppers have little time to invest in connecting with you outside of the business transactions they have with you, so you can be certain that if they open your email on mobile and have difficulty interacting with it, they’ll be unlikely to repeat that mistake. 

Not Understanding the Buyer Persona

Who you think you want your business to reach and who your business actually reaches online may be two very different audiences. Knowing your audience requires understanding your products or services, what solutions you offer for clients, and what value you provide to them. Your email marketing efforts need to be coordinated and purposeful, and should nurture customer loyalty by making your audience feel understood on a consistent basis. 

Consistency and accessibility are key for modern email marketing strategies! Email marketing is just one part of your content marketing strategy, and a successful campaign considers the customer experience across all digital touchpoints. Engaged subscribers are happy subscribers, so knowing the buyer personas within your target audience is key. 

If you’re a small business owner and you’re wondering whether email marketing is worth your efforts, it is! Keep in mind that knowing your ideal customer and their needs are important first steps. Be consistent, deliver quality content, and don’t bombard your contact list with low-quality content that goes unopened. It’s okay to test different approaches and  design elements, just use your brand guidelines and messaging house to inform the content decisions. Happy emailing!