How To: Make More Money With Email Marketing

Updated: May 15, 2020

The article below has been updated to reflect advice for email marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The chart below, created by HubSpot, shows the increased activity email is currently getting. The weeks represented are for 2020 and the data is based on 70,000 global HubSpot users.

Notice that while it is a good sign that open rates have increased, the number of marketing emails has also increased meaning that it is more important than ever to make your emails stand out from the crowd.

Another source, Paved Blog, shared the following data provided by 600+ email newsletters. These newsletters represent over 150 million individual subscribers around the world.

They’ve found that open rates increased 15% globally between late February and late March of 2020.

They also found that emails are being opened faster, the amount of emails opened within the first hour of being sent increased  28.6% from January to February.


Why: Email Marketing is Still King

While email isn’t the shiniest new thing in the marketing world, it still dominates in effectiveness and ROI. There’s a reason it’s been around for years. It works.

People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people that do not receive email offers.

Source: Convince and Convert

Getting a direct link to a potential customer’s email inbox is gold. Especially when most of us are constantly checking our email via laptop, desktop, or mobile devices.  In 2015, Business Insider found that almost 34% of Americans check their email throughout the day.

According to a Forbes article from 2016, the average person checks their email 15 times a day.

In 2019, Small Business Trends looked at an “Adobe Email Usage Study,” to see that Americans check their work email (three-plus hours a day) and personal email (two-plus hours a day).

Bottom Line: Email is here to stay.

Email is a proven method for increasing sales, and creating repeat customers. If you aren’t currently putting time into your email marketing, no sweat. You can start today.


How: How do I collect email addresses?

Of course it makes sense that you should send your marketing emails to  your customers and those interested in what you’re selling.  You can collect their email in a few ways. I strongly recommend you create an email signup on your homepage and collect email addresses there. If I were you, I’d put it at the top of the page.

You can also collect email addresses at the checkout, in classes, at events, etc. Note: If you are currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, consider holding online events where you can collect email addresses.  Click here to read 32 Ways to Grow Your Email List.


What: What do I write about?

Knowing what to write is a challenge we all face. Luckily for you, you have a small business that has a lot to say. Share info on upcoming sales, the month’s most popular products, new products, upcoming classes and events, and more. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you want to read about? What emails do you find valuable and worth your time in your personal life? Note the good you see in other emails so you can replicate it in your own.

From the email marketing I have done, I have learned that piquing a reader’s curiosity works well. Just make sure that you aren’t creating click bait. Pique their curiosity with something that you know they will actually want to have looked at once they get there.

For example, you may say something like this in your email, “I was so excited when I saw this product come into the store.” You then link the word “this” to the product you are talking about.

You may also want to put a P.S. at the bottom to give the email some personality. There you might say something like “We have loved how perfect this product is for summertime!” Again, linking “this product” to something in your store. In my experience, people click on things in the P.S.


Create Great Subject Lines

If you want to decrease the chance of your emails being filtered out by spam filters, be mindful of the types of things they look for. Don’t use language in your subject title that will look like spam. Words such as “free”  may cause your email to be stopped in its tracks.

Do spend time on your subject line. Take a look at your own inbox and notice which promotional emails you want to open.

Why? Do they pique your curiosity? Do they promise savings inside? Will they show you something new and exciting?

Apply these principles in your own email marketing. Take ten minutes to brainstorm a list of great subject lines. Once you have your list, show it to your coworkers or employees and get their feedback.

Test your email subject line by sending a test email to yourself. I always view emails on mobile devices. This way I can see if part of my subject line will be cut off because of its length.

Coming up with a great subject line is worth your time. It could make the difference between a customer exploring what your store has to offer, and your email getting deleted before it ever gets opened.


It’s How You Say It: Tone

If you want to not only avoid spam filters, but also meet your email goals (discussed next), choose a tone that is relatable. Let consumers know that a real person wrote the email that they’re reading. Don’t be afraid to show your excitement about your products and services. After all, Software Advice found that 65% of customers prefer a casual tone in their email.

Many of the emails our company sends out are written from a specific person with that person’s name and photo at the bottom.

We also use code that inserts a subscriber’s first name so we can say, “Happy Friday, Scott!”
Using names, and speaking in a casual, yet still professional tone, helps you connect with your readers and develop a relationship with them that will encourage them to keep reading your emails.


Work Towards Email Goals

Most importantly, have a goal in mind for each email you send.

Is your goal to get email openers to click on a link to your store’s new products?

Is your goal to have them print out a coupon and bring it into the store?

Whatever it is, be sure to make the action easy and obvious for readers to complete. Tell them where to click to learn more about a product or upcoming event, etc.  For the best success,  measure how effective your email is by tracking traffic to your online store (Google Analytics is a great free tool that allows you to do this) or tracking coupons used from your email, etc. Then adjust your tactics based on those results.

When: The Best Day {and Time} to Send out Your Emails

Timing is an important part of marketing. You do all of the work to craft a well-written email that is complete with a call to action, and now it’s time to send it out to the world. But when? You’re hoping that people will click on the CTA you included and start exploring your online store, but they have to open the email first. The great folks at Hubspot have the answer for us. In 2015, they pulled data from 20 MILLION EMAILS over a 10 month period and found the following:

In 2018, CoSchedule analyzed several studies from different sources and also found that Tuesday was the best day to send an email.

As far as time goes, Hubspot says send at 11 AM. CoSchedule says 10 AM. See charts below for further information.

Source: Hubspot

Important to note: the best time of day to send an email will vary by day.

As is always the case when it comes to marketing, do your own testing to verify the best times and days for sending emails to your audience. Different audiences can have different email behaviors. Some age groups would be more likely to be online late at night, others may be early birds. Testing is especially important now as all of the changes caused by COVID-19 have affected email behavior.

Email Frequency

Knowing how often to send emails is also something you should test with your audience. Start off by sending out emails at least once a month, and no more than once a week. According to one study done by Statista,


You may want to survey your audience specifically to ask them how often they would like to receive emails. Getting this info can make a big difference in the long run, since 78% of consumers quoted “too many emails” as the reasoning behind their choice to unsubscribe.


Source: Hubspot


Use the information your email subscribers give you.  They may not all want the same thing. To avoid getting kicked out of consumer inboxes, you can even create separate email lists, those who are interested in receiving more frequent updates, and those who only want to receive an email once a month.


Make Email Marketing a Part of Your Business Plan

So now what? How can you use the insights we’ve shared to bring revenue to your store via email? Start your email marketing campaign by growing your list. Make a plan for how often you plan to send out emails and what those emails contain. You’ll learn as you go, and that’s great. Just get started!


Also published on Medium.

Holly Wade is a lover of words and marketing. She can’t read great writing without smiling, and she can’t watch a commercial without analyzing its success as marketing content. She gets a little carried away every time she goes to the library, and she always sides with using the Oxford comma. She loves writing articles that help small retail businesses find success.

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