Whether you want to drink more water, exercise more, or maybe even eat better, it can take months to form a new habit. But when it comes to your business’s email marketing strategy, you don’t have months to get it straight.

So we’re making it easy for you. Here are the top 8 email marketing habits every small business owner should adopt and keep.

1. Vary your content.

Your email marketing strategy should never just be about selling your product or service. If it were, you’d get so many unsubscribes your list would become practically worthless.

Instead, develop an 80/20 mix of high-value, informative emails and promotional, selling emails.

Making around 80% of your messages informative will accomplish a couple things:

  1. It helps you maintain your position as the thought leader in your local market.
  2. It helps you build and sustain relationships with your contacts and customers.

Basically, you’ll show your contacts you care about them. And because they know you care, they’ll be much more receptive to the other 20% of your emails that focus on promotions and offers.

2. Refresh your autoresponders.

You should have 3-5 emails as part of your email marketing strategy that you’ve automated to send in certain instances. These include things like a welcome email, a permission pass, and a “Thank you” email.

But just because you’ve automated these emails doesn’t mean you should set them and forget them. Check in with these emails every 2 months or so to freshen them up and correct any old or outdated information (like your business hours or featured products).

Need some inspiration? We built a few free email marketing templates for these instances and more.

3. Remember that timing is everything.

When you send your emails and how often you send your emails matters. It matters a lot.

According to Experian, the highest open rates for email marketing (around 20%) occur in the evening hours after the majority of people have typically left work. Around 8 p.m. is the sweet spot.

As far as frequency goes, spamming your list with too many emails too often could lead to unsubscribes just as easily as overselling could, if not moreso. Stick to sending emails once, maybe twice, a week. Send them even less frequently than that (once a month or so) if you run a seasonal business or one where you don’t see regular customers very often.

4. Double- and triple-check that pesky subject line.

Doh! We’ve all had that moment where right as you tapped “Send,” you saw a glaring typo. And of course, it was smack, dab in the middle of your subject line.

To avoid this common error, get in the habit of writing your subject line first, no matter what. Then, review it when you proofread your entire email. And, check it once more right before hitting send.

5. Proofread. Step away. Then proofread again.

While we’re on the topic of proofreading, don’t trust spell-check alone to handle the heavy lifting. While most spell check tools catch your most obvious errors, they fail to find grammatical mistakes and missing or misused words all the time.

Pro tip: Before you do a final once-over, step away from the computer or device you’re working on, and come back to it later. Your fresh brain will be much more likely to catch any errors you may have made.

6. Scrub your contact list.

An outdated contact list can get out of hand really, really fast. Customers churn (leave without returning), people move, email addresses get updated, and phone numbers change. So you need to scrub your list regularly.

Scrubbing your contact list means cleaning it up by removing any incorrect, inconsistent or unused items within. Best practices say to scrub your list every quarter or so.

7. Grow your contact list.

If you get in the habit of scrubbing your contact list quarterly, you’ll notice your list getting smaller and smaller over time. It’s on you to bring in new leads and contacts, so your list stays long.

A few easy ways to grow your contact list:

  • Add subscribe buttons to your website and social media pages.
  • Ask for email addresses when someone calls you, visits your store in person, or when they check out.
  • Attend trade shows and networking events, and gather contact info there.

8. Measure the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy.

One of the worst mistakes you can make in email marketing is to live in not-so-blissful ignorance of whether or not what you’re doing is actually making an impact.

So measuring your results and adjusting your email marketing strategy accordingly is critical.

Make a habit of, after every email campaign you send, reviewing its metrics. Your email service provider (ESP) should include stats like open rate, click through rate, and in some cases even conversion rate (whether that’s Book Now, Buy Now, or Contact Us).

Thryv includes the important metrics you need to make smart decisions with your email marketing strategy. And even better, you’ll find your email templates and tools in the same dashboard as your contact list. So putting these habits in place has never been easier.