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Without any guidance or significant experience, it can be challenging for a small business owner to conduct a successful email marketing campaign. Yet industry experts widely agree that such campaigns can be critical for the ultimate success of a business.

Fortunately for small business owners, many experts are willing to share tips and tricks to help entrepreneurs improve their email marketing campaigns. A quick Google search will bring up any number of links to email best practices and various tips about creating effective email campaigns. Below are just a few ideas to consider.

Start with Why

To borrow an idea from author Simon Sinek, you should start the planning for every marketing campaign (email or otherwise) by asking yourself the simple question – why? Why are you sending out this email? Are you looking to drive website visits and sales? Do you have news you want to share with your customers about a new product? Is the message part of a long-term strategy to engage with your customers on a regular basis? If you’re starting your email program from the ground floor, it may be as basic as deciding what information you want to share with your email subscribers. As you answer the question, you may note that your reasoning is more focused on longer term messaging or one-time announcements. Plan your email strategy (timing, content, etc.) based on your answer to “why.”

Stay Compliant

However you decide to structure your email program – a monthly newsletter, daily hot offer, ad-hoc special announcements, etc. – it is imperative that you follow all relevant governmental regulations. In the U.S. this means adhering to the rules set up in the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The Act sets up guidelines for companies to follow when emailing prospects and customers. While there are multiple aspects to the Act, one of the most basic is that recipients must be given the ability to opt out of receiving future emails and those unsubscribe requests must be honored. Failure to follow the rules can leave to fines, legal fees, and damage to its brand image.  If you are reaching users uutside of the US, there are numerous other regulations to consider, based on country and region.  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect on May 25, 2018 is one of the biggest of these, since it will cover the entire EU and even companies that don’t have a physical presence in an EU country are still impacted by the regulation, if they reach users in the EU.

Target your audiences

While it may make sense to simply send out a one-size-fits-all newsletter to all of your subscribers, you may find that performance can be optimized by tailoring the content to be more relevant to key audience segments within your subscriber list. One of the easiest ways to go about creating email list segments is to look to the way you already segment your customers within your business. Do you have different sets of products and services, especially where customers tend to buy one product or product category rather than another? If so, this may be a great place start with creating an email list segment.

By: Tom Wozniak, Executive Director of Marketing