10 Steps to Start Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Email Marketing May 30, 2023

10 Steps to Start Email Marketing for Small Businesses


Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, nurture leads, and drive conversions. In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up and implementing an effective email marketing strategy. From building your email list to crafting compelling campaigns, this guide covers everything you need to know to succeed in British Columbia email marketing!

Step 1: Define Your Email Marketing Goals

  • Clearly identify your objectives, such as increasing sales, generating leads, building brand awareness, or improving customer retention.
  • Set measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives to track your progress.
  • The Constant Contact SMART Goals resource is a great place to start.

Step 2: Choose an Email Service Provider (ESP)

  • Research and select a reliable ESP that offers features like list management, automation, analytics, and responsive email templates.
  • Consider factors such as pricing, deliverability rates, user-friendliness, and integration capabilities.
  • Check out the OneSignal blog on “How to Choose the Perfect Email Provider for Your Needs” for more information on ESP

Step 3: Build and Grow Your Email List

  • Create opt-in forms on your website, landing pages, and social media channels to collect email addresses.
  • Offer incentives, such as exclusive content, discounts, or freebies, to encourage sign-ups.
  • Ensure compliance with data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR) by obtaining explicit consent and providing clear privacy policies.
  • Hubspot has an informative resource summarizing 39 Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List

Step 4: Segment Your Email List

  • Divide your email list into segments based on demographics, interests, purchase history, or engagement levels.
  • Segmenting allows you to send targeted and relevant content to different groups, increasing engagement and conversion rates.
  • Start by reading the Zapier “Why email segmentation matters and 12 ideas to get started” resource to get started on segmentation of your email lists

Step 5: Craft Compelling Email Content

  • Write engaging subject lines to grab readers’ attention and entice them to open your emails.
  • Create personalized content that aligns with your subscribers’ needs and interests.
  • Use a conversational tone, clear call-to-actions (CTAs), and compelling visuals to make your emails visually appealing and easy to follow.
  • Start by reading “The Comprehensive Guide to Writing High-Performing Emails” on Campaign Monitor and implimenting their suggestions on your industry!

Step 6: Implement Marketing Automation

  • Set up automated email workflows to deliver personalized messages based on triggers like sign-ups, purchases, or browsing behaviour.
  • Utilize drip campaigns, welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and re-engagement sequences to nurture leads and drive conversions.
  • Automation depends on which ESP you’re using. Google “Automated Emails” and the name of your ESP – follow the automation steps on their website!

Step 7: Test and Optimize Your Email Campaigns

Step 8: Ensure Email Deliverability

  • Follow best practices to avoid spam filters, such as using a reputable ESP (eg. google, yahoo, hotmail, outlook), maintaining a clean email list, and sending relevant content.
  • Monitor your sender reputation and address any deliverability issues promptly. Keep an eye out for undelivered or bounce-back emails!

Step 9: Stay Compliant with Email Marketing Regulations

  • Familiarize yourself with relevant email marketing regulations, such as CAN-SPAM Act or CASL, and ensure compliance in your campaigns. It depends on what geographic area you’re in, but for British Columbians, familiarize with the CASL Act.
  • Include an unsubscribe link in every email and honour unsubscribe requests promptly.
  • We HIGHLY recommend reading the Government of Canada page “FAQs about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation” page.
  • There are three main requirements for sending a commercial electronic message (CEM) to an electronic address in Canada. You need
    • 1) consent
    • 2) identification information
    • 3) an unsubscribe mechanism. The questions under this heading relate to the third requirement – an unsubscribe mechanism.

Step 10: Continuously Monitor, Analyze, and Adapt

  • Regularly review your email marketing performance using analytics and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Stay updated with industry trends, best practices, and new tools to stay ahead in email marketing. Check in with your team for suggestions!


Remember – Tag SLBC on Instagram, and reach out if you have any questions / inquires!