Send Smarter: 6 Email Lessons for Small Business Owners

Sara Kappler
4 min readJul 6, 2020

Email can seem straightforward at first. But once you start digging into topics like email deliverability and email metrics, it’s actually very complex. Sending out regular emails doesn’t mean you’re “doing email” well, or using it strategically.

For example, an issue like low email open rates has many contributing factors and far-reaching impacts. If your emails aren’t getting through to your intended recipients, you are losing out on effectiveness and revenue. At its core, it’s a communication issue.

Fortunately, email issues can be fixed. Almost every small business we meet has a few areas of email that are worth improving because it’s a quick way to add value.

Here are a few lessons in email, so you can start sending smarter and get the most out of your email sending tool — whether it’s an email marketing platform, a marketing automation tool, an eCommerce marketing tool, or even your CRM.

Lesson 1: Metrics can be misleading.

Have you ever heard someone say “25% is a great open rate!” and wondered why?

Email open tracking works through picture loading, and every ESP (Email Service Provider like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) will have a different way of managing defaults for their clients.

Think of those messages you see and subtle prompts to “always display images from this sender?” Honestly, I wish we’d rename this because it’s not really measuring whether an email gets opened. A 25% open rate means 25% of emails displayed images (or were clicked, most platforms add this in to the metric). It doesn’t reflect if the recipient opened it, read it, but didn’t load images or click on links.

Open rate is not a great metric for reach, and different software will have different nuances in how they measure these metrics. Understanding the metrics you want to keep an eye on will depend on your business, your software, and your audience, and it’s a great starting point for sending smarter.

Lesson 2: You can improve your numbers by verifying your domain.

With most software that has emailing capabilities, there’s a way to tell it to send emails on your…

Sara Kappler

I run a small marketing agency focused on CRM-Driven growth. Seattle-based, mom of three, data & email marketing enthusiast!