October is Small Business Month in Canada!
To celebrate, we are sharing helpful resources and holding special training events to help small businesses improve their marketing, and do more business.
In honor of Small Business Month, we’ve also compiled some of our favorite success stories from small businesses in Canada.
These businesses have achieved impressive results, and have great advice for other Canadian business owners, and business owners around the world!
Here are four email marketing tips from successful small businesses:
1. Use a clear and concise design
Business: The Avenue Gallery
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Results: Standing out in a crowded market; staying connected with loyal customers
When you open an email from The Avenue Gallery, you know right away what you’re receiving, and why it’s important to you.
That’s because owner, Heather Wheeler, uses a few simple best practices to make sure the gallery’s emails are easy to read and interesting to the people receiving them.
This includes, adding an instantly recognizable logo at the top of each email, using concise language and a clear call-to-action, and including eye-catching images that support the content she sends out.
According to Heather, the gallery gets calls each time an email goes out.
Key takeaway: Using a design that’s clear and concise is more important than ever in today’s increasingly mobile world. This means choosing an email template that looks great on mobile, and keeping the content of your email as focused as possible.
2. Provide a personal touch
Business: Second Bloom Design
Location: Dorchester, Ontario
Results: Doubling their business in the first year; generating new orders with each email
Second Bloom Design isn’t your typical furniture store. The family-owned business uses their passion and craftsmanship to create handcrafted furniture from reclaimed wood and architectural salvage.
And while their quality of work is what keeps customers coming back, they have also added a valuable marketing tool to help them stay in touch with customers — email marketing.
“It helps us stay in our customer’s lives without overwhelming them,” explains Sue Bedell, owner of Second Bloom Design. “We decided from the start that we wanted it to be something that people would actually want to read and look forward to seeing in their inbox.”
In addition to keeping customers updated about what’s going on at the shop, Sue also includes a personal note to customers in each email she sends out.
“It’s always nice to hear someone tell us how much they enjoyed reading our newsletter and thanking us for reminding them to come visit the store or give us a call,” she explains. “The personal touch really makes the difference.”
Key takeaway: Offering a personal touch will help you stand out in the inbox, and better connect with the people receiving your emails. Look for opportunities to humanize your marketing and you’ll have more people opening, reading, and acting on your emails.
3. Add value
Business: Wine Station
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Results: A single email drove 400 customers to an event that is typically only attended by about 40 customers
When people join your email list, they want to stay connected with your business. But to keep them engaged, you need to make sure you’re offering something of value.
For some people, that value can come from knowing about your latest products or services, and for others it may be receiving special offers and deals.
Wine Station, a wine shop in Ottawa, Ontario, provides both. In addition to letting customers know about seasonal and new items, they also include a special coupon for email subscribers.
This has resulted in increased foot traffic at their store, and better attendance at in-store events.
Key takeaway: Think about what your audience will find valuable. If they know your emails will offer something they’re interested in, they will be more inclined to pay attention when you show up in their inbox.
4. Be timely
Business: Island Natural Markets
Location: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Results: Staying connected with customers; generating new business with each email
It’s important to think outside of your business when developing a plan for your email marketing.
This is something Island Natural Markets knows well.
Over the last two decades, they have grown to become the largest health food store and supplier of organic food and products in British Columbia.
One of the keys to their success has been the ability to understand what customers are interested in at different times of the year. This has certainly been true for their email marketing. They send a monthly email newsletter with information about seasonal events, recipes for different times of the year, and products that are popular that month.
Since 2011, the Island Natural Markets email newsletter has been one of their biggest drivers of new business.
Key takeaway: Your audience’s interests, needs, and expectations can change a lot from month-to-month. Focus on making your emails relevant to your audience throughout the year.
Share your expert tips!
Help us celebrate Small Business Month Canada by sharing your best email marketing tips in the comments below.
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Looking for inspiration? Visit our email campaign ideas page.