The 25 Types Of Marketing Emails Small Businesses Need

Small businesses tend to struggle with email marketing.

It’s difficult to determine what kinds of emails we should be sending to our list.

Especially if you’re used to getting a bunch of terrible marketing emails.

That can make you dislike email marketing quickly.

However, if you’ve got the right ideas in place and execute them well, your email marketing will be very successful.

That’s why I’ve got all 25 types of marketing emails your small business ought to use.

Marketing Emails Get Boring Without Variety

As you start to plan out your email marketing strategy, include variety in your marketing emails.

Your leads are going to hate seeing the same things repeatedly.

Especially if your small business’ marketing emails are really just sales pitches.

Regularly switch up the emails you send, offering many of the options on today’s list.

That’s going keep the information you send fresh.

Your lead list will enjoy reading your emails more.

There Are 25 Types Of Marketing Emails Your Small Business Should Be Sending

A great email marketing campaign takes advantage of a full breadth of marketing emails.

The problem is that most businesses only use one or two.

However, there are so many more that can benefit your business.

The advantages of a great email marketing strategy include:

That makes it worth your time to expand your marketing email variety.

Learning how to use these email types will earn your small business more from your email marketing.

Marketing With Emails That Offer Information

I’m going to start with the most generic marketing email variety.

Most of your emails should be comprised of something from this group.

Companies that spend more effort educating their leads get a 50% increase in ready-to-purchase leads on their list.

That’s because people want to know what they’re getting into before they spend the money.

Your audience is getting educated about your industry. Make yourself the teacher. Click To Tweet

That works out to your advantage.

You get to be the one who educates them.

By sending informational emails, you build trust and keep your name in front of them.

When they’re ready to buy, they’ll contact you first.

There are 10 different ways you can inform your email list.

Newsletters

The most basic form of marketing email – or general company email – is the newsletter.

They’re simple enough to understand.

Most companies use them to keep their audience informed about the general goings-on with the company.

They’ll likely include a mixture of many of the other different informational emails.

Almost all newsletters are completely focused on the company, not the client.

They’re broad-spectrum and unsegmented.

They can be done way more effectively.

You've got to segment your email newsletters. Click To Tweet

Instead of sending out a press release your audience won’t care about or thanks for some industry award nobody understands, use your newsletter to build relationships.

Talk about the customer-centric aspect of your brand journey.

What have you been doing to improve their experience?

Have you been receiving a lot of questions on a product or service?

Has your quest to solve one problem for your clients uncovered another?

These kinds of thoughts allow you to inform your audience while simultaneously getting them to know, like, and trust your company.

Email Digests

Email digests are like newsletters.

However, instead of focusing on news, they focus on content.

Like any company with a great marketing strategy, you should have a blog, podcast, vlog, or any combination of the three.

Generally, an email digest is sent weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

It contains a rundown of the content you produced over that period.

The idea is to share content your audience missed, giving them another chance to consume it.

Put the same content in front of your audience more than once. Click To Tweet

When done well, a digest will help increase return visits to your website.

Those return visits help your audience see more of your content.

Remember the Marketing Rule of Seven?

When your audience sees more, they move closer to a sale.

Typically, these emails require a template that’s dressed-down.

No fancy graphics or flashy fonts, although basic images are fine.

Just keep it clear and easily readable, and include summaries of the content.

The easier it is for your audience to see the information they’re interested in, the more likely they are to return to your website.

Product Updates

Hopefully, you run an evolving company.

If you do, that means you’re likely doing everything you can to improve your product or service.

When you make changes that affect your clients, you need to let them know.

And you need to sell the change because status quo bias is going to make them reject it.

That’s where your product update marketing email comes in.

When you make a change, send out an email to your clients who bought that product and to the leads who were interested in it.

Lay out the changes completely.

Clue your audience into what's new about your products. Click To Tweet

Create a walkthrough of any of the changes that will alter the way your audience will interact with your product.

Those walkthroughs must ease the changes for your clients.

While you’re at it, include the data and stories that lead you to the change.

Show your customers and leads that the changes will make their lives and their experience with your product better.

New Product

If you are in the quest to improve for your customers and leads, you’re probably frequently developing new products too.

When you release one, let your list – especially your leads – know.

Every product release announcement is another opportunity to build interest in your services.

Even if your new product isn’t right for your audience (though your emails should be segmented) they still may check out related or similar products.

Remember, you’ve got to make sure people are coming back to your website.

They’re not going to buy on that first visit.

The more you can entice them to come back, the closer they get to buying.

People always want to check out the latest and greatest. Click To Tweet

And in some cases, the reason they didn’t buy is that the products you had weren’t quite right.

This new product might be the right one.

Make sure this email isn’t a sales pitch.

It should highlight the features, benefits, intentions, and reasons for the new product.

Let your audience know how and why this product came into being.

Let them know what problems you wanted to solve.

Problem Solvers

Chances are your leads came to you because they had a problem.

The content on your site had an answer that was valuable enough for them to give you their email.

It should have also taught you something about the future information they’d want.

Now it’s time to create helpful information outside of your blog.

Like you create blog content, create some helpful information that you can send in email format.

However, you don’t want this to go quite as long.

Keep it to around 50-125 words. Also, keep it simple and natural.

Explain solutions the quickest, simplest way possible. Click To Tweet

One of the ways I’ve done it for my clients is to link back to more information.

Write an abbreviated version of your blog article and ship it out to your segmented email list.

Then, offer a better understanding of the topic with a link back to that blog.

It’s a great way to give them all the information without overwhelming them.

Lead-Nurturing

You need to take your leads to the point of purchase.

Since great lead nurturing earns so many more clients, it’s definitely one of the emails that need to be added in.

The key to lead nurturing is to address your leads’ concerns and questions as they should be coming up.

Which means you should be collecting data about your leads and their interactions with your website.

You've got to know as much as you can about your market. Click To Tweet

As you find out more about where they are in the buying process, you can tag their lead profile with additional information.

That’s going to allow you to send the right questions, thoughts, and sales-emails at the right time.

The key is that you understand your average buyers’ thought processes so you can nudge your leads to the next step.

Customer Stories

Along with education and information, your leads need to be confident that you can solve their problems.

A great customer story can help do that.

Customer stories are somewhere in between testimonials and case studies.

They go a little more in-depth than a testimonial.

But unlike a case study, they’re from the customer’s perspective.

Your customer is going to share their (hopefully) relatable story of working with your company.

People want to know what working with you is like before they do it. Click To Tweet

That story will bring confidence to your leads about the potential of working with you.

Like any other email, make sure you’re not exceeding 125 words to tell the story.

If it needs more content than that, link it to a page on your site in the same way you would a blog.

As long as you’re relating the client’s confidence in you, you’ll be golden.

Stories From The Team

Confidence in your company’s results isn’t the only thing your leads want.

They also want to understand who they’re working with.

They need something that relates the values and culture of your company.

Your audience wants to connect.

The best way you can do that through email is by sharing stories from your team.

Those stories need to revolve around customer relationships.

They can also include profiles of your staff that reflect why they love working with your customers.

Any story that comes from an employee’s perspective and demonstrates that connection will show your audience how much you care.

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Marketing With Emails That Beg A Response

If you can get your email list to interact, you’re ahead of the game.

One of the most major problems email marketers face is email performance.

A great way to fix that is to send emails your audience wants to interact with.

The information you send probably feels like something that should work.

However, there’s a more effective type of email for that.

There are certain types of emails that beg to be responded to.

That’s because people love to give their opinion.

These emails should get your audience responding.

Surveys

Has one of your leads or an existing company recently interacted with you?

Have you or they hit a milestone with your company?

Has it been a while since you’ve heard from them?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it might be a good time to send a survey.

Surveys ask for incredibly valuable information from your audience.

Find out exactly how you're doing. Click To Tweet

Usually they come with some sort of completion incentive.

However, even if you can’t offer them an exchange, the chance to give their opinion is often enough.

Especially if you show them that you take their opinion seriously.

Run them right and not only will you see the interaction, but you’ll also have great information to improve your business with.

More information about the sub-header. Use as many as needed.

Review Requests

Whenever someone becomes your customer, you need their input.

You need to know how they like and are working with your product.

That feedback is critical for you.

If you run an e-commerce store, this holds an even higher priority for you.

90% of consumers check the reviews before making a purchase.

That means you need reviews of your product for them to read.

It probably wouldn’t hurt if you could encourage positive reviews, either.

Ask for what you want. It can't hurt. Click To Tweet

However, you need to make sure your clients are leaving their opinions of your product or service all over the web for their friends and family to find.

Much like a survey, you’ll get more reviews when you ask for them.

Send out a reminder with every purchase so the client knows where to go to leave the review.

Use terminology that suggests a positive review.

You can’t ethically incentivize the rating they give you, but you can certainly incentivize the act of reviewing if you want.

By boosting the (hopefully positive) reviews, you boost your odds of earning new business.

Ask For Referrals

With a list of happy customers, referrals are a natural step.

If your customers love what you do, asking for referrals shouldn’t be a problem.

When they know someone with a problem you can solve, they’ll share the experience.

Referrals are totally worth asking for, too.

They’re generally easier to close and spend more money.

Yet most of us fail to ask.

But all it takes is a quick email to a customer with the request.

If your customers are satisfied, they'll refer you when you ask. Click To Tweet

If you put together a referral program that incentivizes your audience to refer people, they’re more likely to do it.

Every time a customer makes a purchase and every time a lead moves forward in the process, you need to ask them to send someone to you.

It’s a fast way to get higher quality leads and generate new business.

We’re Hiring

If you’re hiring, you want your audience to know.

There’s a great chance that by spreading your message wider you’ll improve your odds at finding the right someone for your company.

It’s also going to make your audience feel special.

Think about it, you’re showing them how much you value their input about your company.

By letting them nominate someone they know, or apply themselves, you’re offering your biggest fans the first shot.

That’s going to cement in loyalty.

That loyalty will lead to more purchases and more referrals in the future.

If You Liked This, Read  Customer Feedback
Marketing With Emails That Surround A Transaction

Transactional emails are the emails that are automatically sent whenever a transaction occurs on your site.

These primarily apply to e-commerce sites, but any site that allows customers to fill out a form or exchange value for value can apply them.

They can cover a wide range of topics, but all are great for communication.

They’re also opportunities to remarket to your audience.

These transactional emails will get the right message to your site visitors.

More information about the sub-header. Use as many as needed.

Sales Receipts

Any time a purchase is made, a receipt email needs to be sent.

This should be a given for anyone.

In fact, if you’re not sending receipts, you’re doing your customers a disservice.

With that in mind, you’re likely not sending a whole group of receipts out.

Probably because you didn’t recognize the situation as an opportunity for a receipt.

I’m talking about form submissions.

Let them know you got it. Click To Tweet

Whenever anyone reaches out to contact you, send an immediate response to them.

Let them know that you received their communication and will get back to them.

It’s also an opportunity for a double opt-in.

Sending a receipt that requires them to take an action assures that they’ve given you the right contact information.

That makes sending future emails a lot easier.

Order Status Emails

A huge part of marketing falls into the customer experience.

When your clients have a great experience, they’re more likely to return in the future.

Your emails are a part of that experience.

When a client has an order they’ve placed through your site, you need to let them know what phase it’s in.

A notification that tells them you’re getting things ready to ship, it’s hit the truck, or there was a delay can make all the difference for them.

When you leave them in the dark, on the other hand, they get restless and frustrated.

By keeping them in the loop, you keep them happy, and that brings them back.

Abandonment Emails

Ever have a customer come to your site, fill their shopping cart, then leave without finishing the purchase?

It’s frustrating.

If you don’t have a plan in place to regain that customer, there’s a good chance they won’t return on their own.

But you’re not alone.

About 80% of site visitors abandon their cart, give or take depending on who you ask.

Don't let them simply walk away. Click To Tweet

Thankfully, all it takes is an abandoned cart email series to recover up to 69% more orders.

Whenever a visitor leaves with a full cart, you get a ton of information about them.

You find out which of your products they’re into and what about your site attracted them.

From their site activity, you’ll learn what matters to them about your products.

From that, you can target your abandonment email series to speak directly to them.

That’s going to give you an opportunity to bring them back.

Reorder Emails

Do you work with a product or service that has a predictable life cycle?

Use that information to get your customers to make an additional purchase.

Send a reorder reminder to your clients when that life cycle is nearly up.

For example, cars have about a 2-year purchase life cycle.

That means a prudent car salesperson would send their customers emails beginning at about 18 months after their purchase.

Start sending them reminders that it’s about that time.

Or send them emails that suggest replacement soon.

They’ll start looking all over again.

There’s another areal where reorder emails come into play: consumables.

If you sell printer paper, for example, you can estimate how long the supply you gave your client lasts.

When they’re beginning to run out (and with enough lead time to get them more) you can start sending emails reminding them to refill.

In every case, your customers will at least check to see if they need any.

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Marketing With Emails Your Visitors Trigger

Triggered emails are super targeted.

That’s because they’re based directly on a specific action your visitor takes.

These emails are designed to send exactly the right message at exactly the right time.

That helps your lead move towards the next phase of their buy cycle.

Because you’re using actions associated with buy phases to trigger the email, they rarely deliver a message too early or too late.

These triggered messages will help you keep your leads and customers moving towards a new or repeat purchase.

Welcome/Thank You Email

Any time a visitor fills out a form, thank them.

Especially if they filled out a lead capture form and not just a newsletter subscription.

But every chance to communicate with your visitors is a good one.

Whenever a form submission comes in, it should trigger a thank you message.

That thank you is often made sweeter with a gift, like a free download.

Thank your subscribers. Click To Tweet

However, at the minimum, it should do the following:

  • Thank your visitor for signing up
  • Let them know what they’ll be getting from your emails
  • Tell them what steps come next
  • Add helpful information
  • Give them other ways to get information from you (like your social links)

A great thank you email will make your audience feel like they’ve done something special, even if they only signed up for your newsletter.

It’s also going to help confirm you got the right email address, which is critical if you want to communicate with them in the future.

Activity-Triggered Emails

Some messages need to be well-timed.

You might want to follow-up with a lead who recently viewed a blog related to the one they signed up on.

There’s a good chance they need more information.

When a lead visits the pricing page, and email to with a sales primer might help.

Sending the right message at exactly the time they need it can change your sales completely.

Precise timing matters. Click To Tweet

By watching your lead’s site activity, you can see what phase of the buying cycle they’re in.

Nobody checks out ways to solve problems they don’t have.

And almost every time someone checks pricing, they’re getting ready to buy.

Hell, you can even engage your audience about the last blog article they read on your site.

The key is to personalize the message based on whatever your lead was doing.

You’re not only getting them the information they need, but you’re showing them that you’re paying attention to them, too.

Birthday & Holiday Emails

Remind your leads that not everything is about the sale.

Engaging with them over birthdays and holidays is a great way to remind them you’re human too.

While most of these emails aren’t technically triggered, it makes the most sense in this category.

Whenever a holiday or the lead’s birthday comes up, send out a personalized email.

It should include, at the bare minimum, a relevant message.

For example, a heartfelt “Thanks for a great year” on New Year’s Eve makes for a great piece of communication.

If you’re going to send a discount, make sure it matches the holiday you’re sending it in response to.

Try not to use the same stale discount all year. Click To Tweet

Most importantly, there are a few best practices you should hold to, especially with birthday emails.

  • Deliver value in the email
  • Make the message relevant
  • Put the focus on the subscriber

If you can manage to avoid a selfish, lackluster email, the holidays can provide a boost to your marketing results.

Anniversary (Of When They Became A Customer) Emails

Do you remember the last time you bought from any company? Like, to the date?

Most people don’t.

That’s why it’s incredibly meaningful to have a company celebrate the anniversary of earning your business.

Send an email anniversary card to your customers every year.

This method of customer appreciation lets them know that you value their business.

And it’s a great piece of customer data that you don’t even have to ask for.

Show them you appreciate them. Click To Tweet

Lots of businesses like to celebrate their own anniversary with a sale or special.

However, sending your customers a special, congratulatory offer after a certain amount of time with your company allows the message to be about them.

That means they’re more likely to act on it.

Don’t pass on this great chance to make your customers feel good and get them back into a purchase cycle.

Re-engagement Emails

Some triggers take exactly no action on the lead’s part.

Like the reengagement email.

Whenever a lead fails to return to the site for a long time, despite sending a number of emails, check if they’re still interested.

When they’re not clicking through from your emails, or even opening them, they’re hurting your deliverability score.

They’re also getting irritated at this company that keeps sending emails they don’t want.

So instead of continuing to do damage to that relationship and your spam score, ask your leads if they want to stay on your list.

Often a great reengagement campaign will earn back inactive subscribers.

That’s a huge deal, considering as much as 60% of your list is probably inactive.

By asking them to reengage, you’re improving your odds at earning them back while simultaneously cleaning your list of the ones that really are dead.

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Marketing With Promotional Emails

At some point in your email campaigns, you’ve got to do some selling.

Sometimes it’s a product.

Other times it’s something that will earn you more leads and customers.

But either way, sales are the lifeblood of any business.

Send these emails out about 15% of the time if you want to earn more business from email.

Cross-Sell & Up-Sell Emails

The best time to get someone to buy is while their wallet is open.

Cross-selling & up-selling through your transactional emails is one great way to get customers to spend more.

However, sometimes you want to send a separate email that showcases the items they may like.

You know exactly what that’s like.

Amazon has been doing it forever.

Here are 4 other items just like what you were looking at. Click To Tweet

You look at something or purchase something on the site, then a little while later you get an email.

“Customers frequently bought these items with the widget you just bought.”

Learning to do this independent of a transactional email allows you reach that goes far beyond an active order.

Timing it right can earn you a whole new order from the same customer.

Gift Offer

Sometimes you need to spike purchases to open the door for up-selling.

A gift offer is an opportunity to do that.

It’s also an opportunity to create positive feelings about your company and keep you top of mind.

Whenever you offer something for free, your audience’s ears perk.

There’s legitimate science that says people love free stuff.

But the real kicker is that a free offer can lead to more revenue.

But Michael, how does a freebie make me more money?

The answer to that is simple: they see other purchases they want that aren’t free.

People are impulse buyers. Click To Tweet

Take 7-11’s free Slurpee day for example.

Do you think they lose money on that?

Of course not. Most people will get a snack to go with their Slurpee.

Also, it’s only free in the small cup. So if you want to get your fill without having to refill after every sip, you’ve got to buy a bigger size.

That makes the Slurpee sales skyrocket.

Offering the right freebie is going to help you the same way.

Sales Announcements

If you’ve got a sale coming, let your list know.

Sales announcements are the main reason most people sign up for a retail email list.

They want to save money on things they’re buying.

Promotional events are a great chance to boost customer counts and revenue.

Whenever you decide to have one, don’t be shy about it.

Let everyone on your list know.

It might be the time you earn some of those stubborn leads.

The same goes for coupons.

But the advantage to a coupon is the ability to customize the offer.

Using the client’s purchase history or the lead’s site visit history, you can send an offer that speaks to what they really want.

The odds of earning them as a customer go way up.

Event Emails

Having an event?

It might be a great idea to promote it to your email list.

Clients and potential customers alike are the people you want to attend.

If they’re on location with you, you have a chance to get to know them and build relationships face-to-face.

That’s one of the best ways to lock in loyalty and future sales.

When your audience can see you and shake your hand, they’re going to feel more connected to you.

They’re going to have more positive feelings about you and your company.

But this isn’t for live events alone.

Use the same strategy on virtual events, too.

Things like live streams and webinars can be marketed the same way.

Those events will help you grow your company even more.

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Keep Your List Clean And Your Emails Interesting

The email marketing bottom line is that engagement matters.

Your emails need to be interesting or people will stop opening them and clicking-through.

Some people will stop anyway.

When they do, get them off your list as quickly as possible.

A clean list with active subscribers will always work best.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.