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Guide to email marketing
Business advice

Guide to email marketing

15 October 2021

4 min read

There are plenty of ways to market a small business – from social ads to SEO. But one tool in your armoury that shouldn’t necessarily be overlooked is email marketing. How should you market through email and what are the benefits? Our small business guide to email marketing may reveal more.

What is email marketing?

As the name suggests, email marketing refers to the messages you email to existing and would-be customers. There can be various reasons for marketing by email; for example, to sell a product, keep customers engaged, build loyalty, or provide necessary updates.

The benefits of email marketing for small businesses

In a world where we’re often glued to our screens, email marketing is arguably a great way to connect with existing customers and reach new ones. Here are some reasons why business owners may wish to embrace email marketing:

Grow an audience. There are more than 4 billion email users worldwide, and this is set to rise to 4.6 billion by 2026, according to Statista. If you’re looking to reach new customers, email marketing fans will tell you there are plenty of fish in the sea!

Build a rapport. Emails offer an opportunity to communicate directly with your customers. You can send tailored messages to mark special occasions like birthdays, provided you meet your GDPR obligations in holding personal data for legitimate purposes.

Product launches. One benefit of email marketing is the opportunity to announce new products (and special offers) if you’re looking to freshen up your inventory.

Events. If you’re keen to fill seats at an event, emails offer a quick route to inviting your subscribers and monitoring who’s a yes, no or maybe.

Expectation management. Not everything goes swimmingly all the time, but if you need to send an important message – from an apology to crisis comms – the lengthy format of an email gives you more words to play with. In fact, carefully worded emails have helped businesses manage customer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-Brexit supply chain challenges.

Email marketing solutions for small businesses

While the ‘best’ email marketing solution is purely subjective, you might find that rather than sending emails manually, your business could benefit from using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. CRM tools such as Salesforce and Mailchimp can help you manage and send a whole suite of communications to your mailing lists, which you can regularly update and assess through analytics. CRM communications can include email marketing, but other messages too, like customer service updates and internal memos.

How to market through email

Once you’ve decided you’d like to promote your business through email campaigns, what next? Here, we’ve broken down what a small business email marketing strategy looks like in three simple steps.

Step one – grow your list

If you’re going to become an email marketing guru, you’ll need a core readership. A simple opt-in form on your website or e-commerce checkout gives anyone browsing your site the chance to sign-up. Remember, in order to lawfully market through email, you’ll also need to allow recipients to opt-out through an ‘unsubscribe’ feature, and you must not conceal your identity. As you grow your list, you could also encourage new subscribers at events, in-store if you have a premises, or whenever you’re out and about.

Step two – create your content

Getting the design and copy right is the next important step in creating an email marketing campaign. For the text, consider a short newsletter-style message, a clear call-to-action, and of course, no rogue typos. For the visuals, you might want to ensure the design is mobile-friendly and in keeping with your branding elsewhere. There are email design templates available on platforms like Sendinblue, Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor.

Step three – monitor performance

Once you’ve started sending out your emails, you can begin tracking the performance of your campaigns. You can assess the open rates, which refers to the percentage of subscribers who open each email, and the click-through rate, which indicates what percentage of emails resulted in one click or more. According to Campaign Monitor, the average email open rate is between 12 and 25%, and the average click-through rate is 2 to 5%.

More from Tyl Talks

Over at Tyl Talks we’ve got plenty more articles and guides to help you market your business. Looking for some inspiration? Try some of these for size.

How to go paperless

A guide to email receipts

How to issue a refund.


This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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