Email Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

For small business owners, email marketing can be a powerful tool. Not only is it a great way to offer your customers exclusive content and discounts, but it’s also a simple, yet effective way to continuously engage your subscribers.

However, before you can build yourself a quality email list and make the subscribers on that list feel special and appreciated, you first need to keep these simple, yet critical tips in mind.

Never… I mean NEVER… buy or rent email lists

Just as how we don’t like it when a telemarketer cold calls us, you shouldn’t go around emailing people you haven’t actually connected with, or scraping websites for every address you can find.


Because essentially you’re getting yourself a list of people that haven’t agreed to receive your correspondence, and are thus running the risk of being reported, and fined a significant amount of money. On top of that, you really have no idea how many times these email addresses have been used, or if they are still even active.

Use a double opt-in for your email list

Rather than a single opt-in where a new email address is added to your mailing list without requiring the user to confirm via an emailed link, a double opt-in offers a more qualified list of subscribers. Not only can you can provide proof of consent, which is now legally required by Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), but with a double opt-in you have both the opportunity to communicate with subscribers immediately via the confirmation email, and the ability to create subscriber targeted, personalized emails.

Sure, you might risk the chance of some users not following through with the signup process. But with a double opt-in, you increase your ability to create highly segmented lists of contacts.

By utilizing data, such as subscriber age, location, browsing history, purchase activity, abandoned cart history, etc, you can create actionable segments, and thus craft targeted campaigns for each of these list segment. Remember, it’s quality over quantity.

Follow these guidelines for email engagement and compliance with CASL

With emails now being opened more on smartphones than on computers, optimizing your content for mobile is critical.

Since the text will load before the body of the email, extra care should be taken to ensure that the preheader highlights important information, and avoids coming across as spammy.

Avoid using spam triggers, such as “guaranteed”, “no obligation”, or “FREE”, and refrain from using all caps or exclamation points in your subject line. Furthermore, you will want to enlarge fonts and shrink Images.

Fonts should be large enough for the average reader to read your emails without having to zoom in or out. You’ll also want to avoid using red, invisible or irregular fonts, and optimize pictures using an image optimization plugin or software to make them smaller and more mobile friendly.

To comply with CASL, your email must include:

1. Your business name and the name of anyone on whose behalf you’re sending the message
2. A current mailing address and either a phone number, email or website address in the email footer
3. Accurate contact information that will be valid for at least 60 days after you send the message
4. A clear unsubscribe link in your email footer

That last part is especially critical to CASL compliance. Make sure the unsubscribe link actually works!

Time and time again, email marketing has been shown to be one of the most effective ways a small business can connect with customers and leads. By complying with the law and managing data to create actionable segments, emails give small business owners the power to reach a broad range of consumers through direct personalized messages.

To read more about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, click here.

Looking to freshen up your marketing material? AngelStar Digital has you covered. Give us a call today at (519) 969-0712!