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The 6 Emails Every Small Business Needs to Send ASAP

7 min

Despite popular belief, you don’t have to be a marketing mastermind to send great emails as a small business.

Many businesses fumble their email marketing strategies because they try too hard to reinvent the wheel. While you certainly don’t want to play the role of copycat against your competitors, there’s serious power in the tried-and-true emails that small and medium-sized businesses have been using since the dawn of email automation itself.

Think about it: building a solid list of subscribers ultimately comes down to consistency. The more emails you have in your marketing arsenal, the better. If you vary your strategy in terms of the types of emails you’re sending, you can regularly blast awesome messages to your list without breaking a sweat.

Perhaps it’s time to start implementing some fresh newsletter templates to help kick start your business’ email marketing campaigns. The following six types of emails apply beautifully to business ideas from retail to ecommerce and beyond. Meanwhile, you can set these types of messages on autopilot with the help of a smart marketing automation system.

So, where can you start?

1. Keep ‘em hooked on coupons and deals

If you aren’t offering your subscribers some steep deals and discounts on a regular basis, you’re inevitably shooting yourself in the foot.

Think that your list will see such messages as spam? Think again. In fact, over 80% of people opt-in to email lists specifically to receive coupons.

Simply put, discounts are an expectation of your subscribers, and businesses that deliver will inevitably see more engagement with their lists. There’s no reason why your deals need to be equated to spam, either. As long as you set clear expectations for your list in terms of discounts, you’re golden.

This example from Threadless is a classic in-your-face deal that’s difficult to miss:

Threadless example of small business emails

Likewise, coupon codes such as this one from Foundry are also fair game for businesses looking to show their lists some love:

Foundry example of small business emails

How often should you send email blasts with deals and discounts to your list? According to our industry data, frequency varies anywhere between four and twelve monthly emails depending on your niche.

As a rule of thumb, always be testing and try to keep your deals as topical as possible. For example, retail businesses will regularly want to capitalize on holidays and other time-specific deals.

2. Don’t ignore your welcome messages…

A simple welcome can go a long way.

Especially in a day and age where your subscribers are bombarded with marketing messages, welcome messages are too important to ignore.

Seriously. Smart email marketing isn’t always about being the loudest voice in the room, but rather the friendliest. Starting your campaigns with the right greeting not only sets the tone for future messages, but also signals that you value the attention of your subscribers.

Welcome messages come in many shapes and sizes. Here’s a well-crafted welcome from Zillow which sets a positive tone and provides clear actions for new subscribers to take:

zillow example of business emails

Welcome messages are among your business’ most important autoresponders, ultimately representing your first impression with your list for the long-term.

3. …and the rest of your autoresponders

 Rather than spend your time manually chasing each and every subscriber or lead, small businesses should instead put as much of their marketing as possible on autopilot.

After all, three-quarters of marketers who take advantage of marketing automation note that saving time is a key benefit. Meanwhile, those same marketers generate 80% more leads and 77% more conversions by not doing all the legwork themselves.

Autoresponder messages should be the cornerstone of any small business looking to keep their list engaged, but many struggle with ideas. Fortunately, there are plenty of autoresponders you can send to keep in touch with your base such as…

  • “Thank you” messages upon making a purchase or completing an on-site action
  • “We miss you” messages that provide stagnant or quiet subscribers a reason to get back in touch with your business
  • Loyalty messages which reward subscribers with deals or content based on their previous interactions with your business (think: spending a certain threshold, birthday messages, and so on)

The common thread between all of these autoresponders? A positive tone.

This seriously simple “thank you” from Wistia is more than enough to give subscribers a thumbs up for making a purchase:

Wistia example small business emails

Seriously. Minimal, text-based messages combined with a well-segmented list allow marketers to keep in constant touch through evergreen autoresponders. Once you craft these messages the first time, your email solution will do the rest of the heavy lifting for you.

4. Use newsletters to keep customers in the loop

Here’s some food for thought: your subscribers are likely going to sleep on your on-site content unless they’re either…

  • Social followers or
  • Email subscribers

Pretty obvious, right?

However, consider that 90% of people would rather get updated by a business via email versus social media. This is exactly why email subscribers are so powerful versus fickle social followers or random on-site traffic.

And that’s exactly why newsletters are so valuable, too.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“I don’t have time to come up with a newsletter.”

Here’s the thing, though: if you already have any sort of blog or on-site content, you have the makings of a newsletter. Bear in mind that the function of a newsletter is to keep your list in the loop, nothing more, nothing less.

Some of the most popular newsletters out there are little more than content recommendations. Check out this short but sweet example from Medium’s daily digest which suggests relevant content to users:

Medium's daily digest example of small business emails

Yeah, it’s that easy.

A well-done newsletter is all about repackaging what you have already created rather than creating a bunch of new content.

Quotes. Factoids. Fresh blog content. You name it.

For example, CoSchedule’s newsletters primarily consist of a “featured” story from their blog along with some additional relevant posts:

CoSchedule example small business emails

Newsletter are a quick and easy way to deliver messages to your base without having to create anything inherently new. With a snappy subject line and relevant content, you’re well on your way.

5. Show some love with subscriber-only offers

Your email subscribers represent your hottest leads and most loyal customers. As such, it’s your job as a business owner to show them some serious love for giving you their undivided attention.

Oftentimes, exclusive deals and lead magnets are what drive subscribers to our lists in the first place.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rewarding your list through exclusive deals or content. That said, it should be a priority of any business to make sure that their lists feel like they’re getting the sweetest deals as a gift for being a subscriber.

For example, flash sales and free shipping codes (like this one from Chubbies) are what keep subscribers in the world of ecommerce glued to their inboxes:

Chubbies example small business emails

No deals? No problem.

Apply the exact same rules to subscriber-exclusive tips, tricks, and educational content. As long as you butter up your list to help them feel like they’re getting the five-star subscriber treatment, you’re definitely on the right track.

6. Check in every now and then

News flash: you don’t always need an excuse to check in with your subscribers.

When your messages become too laser-focused on offers and deals, it’s easy for subscribers to lose sight of the fact that you represent more than just a business.

Simple check-ins or questioned poised to your audience are an essential but overlooked type of message for modern subscribers. Again, sometimes it’s nice to move away from the noise of marketing and simply touch base with your loyal followers.

Here’s a simple check-in message from pro blogger Jeff Goins who regularly pokes the brains of his audience with straightforward questions and requests:

Jeff Goins, writer, example small business emails

It’s never a bad idea to ask something of your list if you fear that they might be growing cold. Have a question? Want to say “hi?” There’s no reason to be afraid to do so if you’ve made a personal connection with your list.

What kind of messages are you sending?

 If you feel like you’re blasting your base with the same messages again and again, it’s probably time to switch up your strategy. By sending a variety of emails from deals to check-ins and beyond, you better understand what’s working and what isn’t in terms of your email marketing strategy. In addition, you ensure that you always have something fresh to provide your list and make you message heard above your competition.

Which of these types of messages do you think are most important to your audience? Let me know in the comments below!

Jonathan Chan
Jonathan Chan
Jonathan "JC" Chan is the Head of Marketing at Insane Growth and spends his time helping business owners and entrepreneurs achieve their 7 & 8-figure goals. When not writing about anything and everything to do with startups, entrepreneurship, and marketing, JC can be found pretending to be the next MMA star at the gym. Make sure you connect with him on LinkedIn!