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In marketing, it’s all about finding an advantage.

Small businesses are typically at a disadvantage when they go up against the big marketing budgets at the large and medium sized companies. There is no way for a small business to compete with dollars, but the reality is not all bad.

Small businesses can win with guerilla marketing tactics that win over customers that every business in an industry is targeting.

One of the areas often though to belong to the big brands and the large companies is email marketing. Big budgets mean more resources for designers, programmers and marketers to analyze the data and make changes.

Forget about the big budgets.

People, including your target customer, care about one thing in their email: interesting content. If you can be interesting it won’t matter if you’re Coca-Cola or Randy’s Soda. You can win the email marketing work if you’re clever.

Here are five guerrilla email marketing tactics for small businesses.


Be Personal for Better Response

Big companies struggle with being personal with their customers.

Small businesses can be different by being more personal with emails. Your list might be smaller than your larger competitors, but that means you know more about the actual people on the email list and that can lead to better emails.

Think about the specific people on your email list and use it to craft interesting emails that are likely to get better response.

Remember, it’s not always about getting a direct sale from an email. Think about other conversions that can occur on your website like reading a new blog post or checking out a new product. You have the advantage because you can get personal with your customers and subscribers.


Get Aggressive with List Growth

Big businesses have rules and guidelines. Small businesses also have rules and guidelines, but there is more leeway for change and that’s where there is an advantage with email marketing.

Think about the people you meet during your day-to-day business activity. Do you ask for their email address in person or on the phone? Do they have a website or social media profile that has their email address?

Depending on whom you ask it can be perfectly fine to add these people to your list if you feel that your email content will be interesting to them.

Be sure to always give people the option to opt-out. You might be able to get more aggressive with the list growth, but you don’t want to create a list of people to spam. You want to target the right people so you’ll get good response to your campaigns.

It’s all about getting good response.


Focus on Writing Instead of Design

Designers are great for email campaigns, but they’re expensive. Big businesses can afford designers, but most small businesses need to find other ways to increase response rates.

Focus on your writing skills instead of your design skills. There are a number of emails that only use basic formatting and get huge amounts of opens, clicks and sales. You have a much better chance of getting a response if you write an interesting email with interesting words than you do if you try to hone your design skills.

Tell stories. Get personal again with your emails. People connect with people. If you can connect with your subscribers through your writing they’ll feel like they can trust you and that leads to conversions.


Upsell Products and Services

Small businesses can get creative with upsell opportunities.

Something most (if not all) small businesses should have is a client email list. You can send out newsletters that are monthly or even weekly. Include an interesting story from the week, but also feature a new service or maybe a service your clients might not know about.

It’s a great way to upsell to your current clients. They’re already on board with your company. That was a big commitment on their part. Getting them to make another purchase is not as difficult.


Test Like Crazy

Another way you can get more out of your email program without spending too much money or really any money is to test like crazy.

Segment your list if you have enough people and try different email formats. Try telling a long story versus a short story in the email. See which one gets more conversions. Try sending your emails on different days and at different times. Everybody says that changing colors and things can yield results, but remember that you likely have a smaller list. Focus on things that will get them more interested in your email. Test the content, not the design.

You can also send out surveys to get information from your clients. Ask them what they’re struggling with and how they would define your company’s products or services. You’ll get great insight and it will help you create email campaigns that are more optimized.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to marketing budgets, email marketing is one of the programs that should make the cut. For small businesses there is a lot to gain from using email and it doesn’t cost much money to maintain. You can create emails that get response and earn revenue. It’s an investment of time more than money.

Try using these guerrilla tactics for your email program:

  • Be Personal for Better Response
  • Get Aggressive with List Growth
  • Focus on Writing Instead of Design
  • Upsell Products and Services
  • Test Like Crazy

If you put in the effort you can beat some of your bigger competitors with email.

As a small business you have advantages the bigger companies do not. It’s an opportunity to win over some customers.


Avatar for DayneS
Dayne Shuda is a contributing blogger for Fluttermail, an email provider for small business. He has worked on a variety of email marketing campaigns including email newsletters and e-commerce emails. Add him to your Google+ circles +Dayne Shuda.



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