The National Small Business Association estimates that more than 50% of businesses in America spend at least four hours per month on payroll. Over the course of a year, that’s a full work week. 

With Gusto, you can run payroll in minutes, not hours. As an ongoing series, we want to help our entrepreneurs learn or do something new in the week they’ve saved. What could you do if you had an extra week?

Every day, we’re inundated with emails. As a medium, email is not going away.

That’s why email marketing is still a very powerful tool for demand generation, lead nurturing, and user acquisition. All entrepreneurs can benefit from good email marketing. And that’s why we want to help you master it in one week with these email marketing best practices.

Day 1

There are already a lot of great resources on email marketing that can help you get started. Consider reading up on the following guides from these experts:

Day 2

If you don’t already have an email marketing vendor, you’ll want to do some research. Fortunately, there are a number of vendors you can choose from. Check out these lists from G2Crowd and TrustRadius.

If you work within Gmail, consider the following vendors: Boomerang, Streak, and MXHero. Some of these vendors are a combination of a lightweight email marketing and CRM tool.

The following vendors are popular amongst small businesses: MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact. All three vendors offer a freemium version or free trial.

Day 3

Selecting a vendor can be an anxious commitment. To help you choose the right vendor, consider asking these questions first:

Am I doing B2B or B2C Marketing?

Depending on your customer, you may want to choose a vendor more appropriate for B2B or B2C marketing.

If you’re marketing to consumers, make sure your vendor works well with your social channels, e-commerce platform (if you’re an e-commerce company), and has great design-oriented templates. Vendors like Sendicate and Movable Ink are more design focused. Of course, most of the SMB-focused email vendors have their own library of great B2C-oriented templates.

For B2B marketing, consider vendors that offer integrations with CRM and marketing automation providers. Many of the large vendors in the space offer email marketing solutions, including Pardot (Salesforce), Eloqua (Oracle), Marketo, and HubSpot.

How Many Emails Will I Be Sending?

Depending on the volume of emails you’ll be sending, some vendors may make more sense than others. For example, MailChimp has a freemium version which is great if you have a small mailing list. If you are going to be sending a lot of transactional emails connected to your product, consider an email deliverability vendor instead like SendGrid or Mandrill.

Day 4

Now that you’ve selected your vendor, you can send a welcome email to your users or customers! Check out these best practices:

Day 5

Many of us will use a newsletter as the primary mechanism for email marketing. It’s a tried-and-true tactic used by small and large companies alike. Here are some best practices from the experts on email newsletters.

Day 6

As more leads enter your email marketing machine, you’ll want to nurture them along the sales & marketing funnel until they become customers. That’s why you should spend day six setting up a drip marketing campaign.

A drip marketing campaign is a series of emails that help move a sales lead down the sales & marketing funnel. For example, if your lead signs up for your service but hasn’t confirmed her email, you can send an email the next day to remind her. Or, you can follow-up with a lead who attended a webinar the prior week with an online guide with similar content.

Many email marketing vendors have some automation built in so you can create triggers for your drip campaigns. Here are some best practices from the experts:

Day 7

Congratulations! You’ve done a lot in your free week so far and now it’s time to start monitoring your email marketing’s results.

Don’t despair if the initial metrics aren’t great. The average open rate for emails varies by industry. See a great breakdown by Constant Contact here.

If you want to improve on your results, consider A/B testing different formats or content. MailChimp examined seven years of A/B testing in their product and found some interesting takeaways.


You saved a work week because you run Gusto and now you’ve learned the ins and outs of email marketing. That’s amazing! Now go out and get those customers.

David Cheng
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