Woman creating email marketing for a small business while following our 2024 Dos and Don'ts

Email marketing is one of the most consistent and stable forms of digital marketing of the last 30 years. It’s especially effective for small businesses to reach and communicate with their customers and community. There can be plenty to consider and strategize for effective email marketing. Therefore, to start your 2024 off right, we’ve created a list of some essential DOs and DON’Ts of email marketing for small businesses.


  • Set Up DMARC Authentication: The Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is a protocol that authenticates those sending on a domain. This allows you to track and monitor everything sent on your domain, preventing the possibility of someone spoofing your domain and sending false emails on your business’s behalf. It’s best practice to set this up, but in 2024 it is also becoming a requirement from Google and Yahoo.
  • Verify Your Sending Domain: Effective email marketing requires using a third-party platform for creating campaigns, designing automations, managing audiences, and more. However, to send on your domain’s behalf, these services require you to authenticate your domain. Be sure to do this, so your emails come from your domain rather than the service’s proxy. Along with DMARC, this is also becoming a requirement of Google in 2024.
  • Link Everything: It might sound simple but don’t forget to link every image and button in your email. Along with opens, you want people to click on your email marketing to access your small business’ services and products. Users also now expect images and buttons to be linked and may become confused when a relevant image doesn’t go somewhere.
  • Keep Branding Consistent: Your email marketing, like any marketing, should be consistent with your brand. This ensures its messaging and appearance properly reflect your business. That consistency with your business, its other marketing, as well as keeping it consistent throughout all your email marketing will increase your audience’s trust in your emails.
  • Avoid Spam Complaints: A healthy sender reputation is critical for the success of your email marketing. It allows your emails to reach users’ inboxes where they will open and click them. This is why you need to avoid spam complaints, which will harm that sender reputation. Be sure you are only sending emails to subscribed recipients and follow Canadian regulations to avoid spam complaints.


  • Forget About the Alt Text: Emails usually include at least a few images that are part of your messaging. It’s essential for your email marketing’s accessibility that you define the alt text for each of these images. This allows anyone who may have difficulty seeing these images can still comprehend your content.
  • Have Too Many Calls to Action: Don’t overburden your email with too many messages. Stay focused and limit the call to actions you want your recipients to perform, or else they may become overwhelmed. Research has shown that keeping an email down to at most two calls to action seriously improves click rates.
  • Write Wordy Subject Lines: Just like you shouldn’t overburden the contents of your email marketing, you also should keep your subject lines short and sweet. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. The recommended maximum is 9 words, but an effective email marketing subject can be even shorter. Try to create something that is quickly captivating and piques a recipient’s interest. Let the email itself do the job of delivering the full message.
  • Forget the Unsubscribe Button: It’s legally required in Canada to include an option for your audience members to withdraw their consent to receive messages. The new requirements by Google in 2024 will also require this unsubscribe to be only one step and easy to see within your email itself. Plus, making this easy will reduce receiving spam complaints that will harm your small business’ sender reputation.
  • Send Without Testing Your Email: After you have diligently designed and written out that perfect email campaign, don’t just schedule and send it out to the world without first testing it yourself. Every email platform provides testing tools to send the email to a single account. This allows you to make sure everything is linked, is linked correctly and displays properly. Be sure to test it with a few different email service providers. Even certain versions of some providers are infamous for not displaying emails correctly. Also, make sure to test the device on desktop and mobile devices since assets may appear differently on each kind of device.

Mastering the Power of Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be a powerful tool for any small business’ digital marketing. It’s a powerful channel for effectively and directly communicating with your audience. These email marketing dos and don’ts will help you start to master its techniques. If you’re looking for more advice to improve your email marketing for 2024, or are hoping to start email marketing, contact our marketing services team at Rosewood.

White board marker writing "AUDIENCE" for someone thinking about email audience segments

Email has managed to stay one of the strongest digital marketing strategies for small and large businesses. However, just like any digital marketing, it succeeds best when it fosters engagement from its audience. An essential strategy for building email engagement and improving KPIs (key performance indicators) is audience segmentation and creating tailored emails. We’ll explain what exactly email audience segments are and the best strategies for finding and reaching them.

What are Email Audience Segments?

Your email audience is another term for those who receive your emails. This can include your newsletter subscribers as well as those customers who receive notifications about their orders, favorite products, or cart updates. While all your audience shares the commonality of having interest in your business, they’re a diverse collection of individuals. Email audience segmentation splits that audience into segments or groups. It then targets those groups with emails that are more specifically tailored to who they are. 

Creating emails that reflect your audience’s different interests or concerns results in emails with much higher engagement rates. In fact, alongside personalization, audience segmentation is the most effective strategy for improving email performance. It doubles open and click rates, halves unsubscribe rates. Plus, email audiences with high segmentation can have up to 3x their ROI (return on investment).

Segmentation Strategies


One of the first ways you can begin segmenting your email audience is demographics. These include age, gender, location, and other basic details about that person. This can be extremely useful information because you may provide products or services that email to different demographics. For example, a clothing store may sell products for men and women. That business will likely want to send emails about women’s products to a feminine segment of their audience, and men’s products to a masculine segment. Similarly, if a business is hosting an event in a certain area, it is better to send an email only to those audience members who live nearby and could reasonably attend the event.


Psychographic information is like demographics since it focuses on individual people. However, rather than personal information that reflects what part of the population they are, psychographics focuses on their individual minds. These include their interests, lifestyle, and values. For example, some of your audience may prefer more luxurious or extravagant items while others are more frugal. That could represent their financial situation, but it can also just be indicative of their own tastes. As a result, the prior group may respond better to emails that highlight a product’s elegance and opulence. The latter group may engage better with emails that tell them about deals or value incentives. Alongside their demographics, psychographics plays a key role in how customers choose to purchase products or services, and thus what emails they open and click on. Therefore, they are a useful method to segment your audience for determining how and what you communicate to each. 


While demographics and psychographics focus on individuals, firmographics focus on the details of an entire company. These include information like a company’s size, type, structure, industry, location, and more. Firmographic details are especially useful for B2B (business to business) and SAAS (software as a service) businesses since their clients are companies rather than individuals. Just like demographics or psychographics, you can use firmographics to create emails tailored to groups of companies that would be more interested in specific subject matter.

Getting All Those -Graphics

Demographics, psychographics, and firmographics are all excellent for creating audience segments. However, you need this information to use them. Some of these can be gathered when individuals or clients create an account to purchase products or services from your business. Your email marketing service, such as Klaviyo, can also retrieve some of this information from cookies and third-parties like Google to help flesh out demographics and firmographics. However, other information such as psychographics can be more difficult to obtain. For these, a newsletter sign-up form or survey with some incentive (e.g. a small discount or contest entry) can help gather this critical information for effective audience segmentation.

Behavioral Information

The most useful information you can obtain about your audience is from how they interact with your business’ website, digital storefront, and emails. Behavioral information considers things like purchase history, product/service page visits, as well as email open rates, click-through rates, and even what they click. All of this helps create a more detailed customer profile, allowing you to highly segment your audience and create specifically tailored emails. 

Demographics and psychographics help you contextualize members of your audience, but behavioral data helps you truly understand their interest in your business. For example, that same woman who shops at the clothing store may only buy men’s clothes for her partner or family. As a result, she will instead engage more with emails about men’s clothing. Demographic information can tell you what kind of person someone is; it’s behavioral data that will tell you what kind of customer someone is.

Collecting Behavioral Data with Email Marketing Tools

While demographics can be sourced from elsewhere, behavioral data will be primarily your responsibility to collect. Thankfully again your email marketing service, like Klaviyo, will make that possible. These services will record detailed performance metrics about emails and each audience member. They’ll know exactly who opened emails and where they clicked. These email marketing services can also be connected to your website to help track their behavior there. This could include purchases, product following, and even page visits to get a full picture of every customer.

Creating Segments

Collecting data is just the first step. After you’ve assembled these details about your audience, you or an expert in email marketing will then need to analyze the data to create effective email segmentation. Some of those segments will be based on specific product or service groups. Others will be based on their purchase history or email engagement rates. Lapsing customers or email subscribers can be placed into a segment that tries to regain their attention and engagement. Those who are consistently engaged and/or are in a high spending tier might be put into a VIP segment with emails that provide special offers, keeping them loyal to and engaged with your business. This can even be attached to a loyalty program that helps identify and automatically rewards such VIPs.

Starting with the Basics

Now younhave the essentials for understanding email audience segments and why they’re so effective at building better engagement. It can seem like a lot of effort, but it more than pays off in boosting your emails’ KPIs and ROI. If you want to know more about email audience segments, how to create them, or the best strategies for tailoring emails to them, be sure to chat with our digital marketing team

Woman with gray hair having a personalized customer experience on her computer thanks to help from AI

We’re continuing to see the many powerful applications for AI. Along with potentially useful creative tools, AI excels at data collection and parsing. Now, we’re seeing that algorithmic power combine with marketing expertise to create a personalized and relevant customer experiences for small businesses. Rosewood will explain what personalization and relevance in marketing are, and how AI is a powerful tool for a marketing team to create personally relevant marketing for any customer or client experiences.

Personalization, Relevancy, and AI in Marketing

Personalization has been a major tool in marketing for over a decade. It emphasizes marketing that communicates personally to the individual members of your audience over broader, more general marketing campaigns that lack a specific target. While this might include one-off custom communications or exchanges, it can also be automated. For example, emails or messages can automatically address receivers by their first names. 

Overall, customers have come to expect personalized experiences that respect their individuality and interests. At least 71% of customers expect a personalized experience, and a greater 76% are frustrated when they don’t have one. Personalization has also demonstrated an average 10-15% revenue lift, which increases to 25% for direct to consumer businesses. These individualized experiences create stronger personal connections, which lead to more customers and clients returning for more purchases and services. This is where small businesses can excel over larger companies that typically provide more generalized customer experiences.

Thanks to AI, more complex and valuable data can be gathered from users to create even more personalized marketing that is relevant to customers’ interests and experiences. This is why relevancy has become an essential marketing criterion alongside personalization. These algorithms and AI automations can consider browsing history, page time, social media data, and more. Marketers can then use this information and tell these programs how to generate product recommendations, personalized notifications, curated packages, communications, and more. These AI help your business understand the true, individual interests of each of your customers so that any marketing that reaches them is relevant.  

Where AI Can Help with Personalization and Relevancy

As we’ve covered before, AI is a general term. It’s recently become the common title for various programs which can learn from data to accomplish more complex tasks. For personalized and relevant marketing, these AI can sift through an overwhelming amount of user information that would take far more time for a human. That’s why AI is a powerful tool for small businesses who usually won’t be able to dedicate a person to poring through this information. Instead, AI is a valuable tool for your marketing team to build effective strategies for relevant marketing campaigns. We’ll go over some of the most effective uses of AI in personalized marketing.

E-Commerce Tracking

When customers are on your website or digital store, AI software can track what they browse and for how long. It will also track any purchases, wishlisting, shares, etc. This tracking isn’t especially new, but more developments in machine learning allow AI to start grouping and interpreting the data. All that behavioral information from many customers, allows an AI to develop customer groups and profiles according to their interests and various other demographics like age and area. These can then be used for a plethora of personalized and relevant marketing strategies.

Relevant Email Marketing

With this detailed profile generation, AI can then begin to automatically message subscribed customers about product recommendations or send communications that are more relevant to their interests. This will still require a human to create and design the message and templates. However, the AI can take over the busy work of adding appropriate products and sending the emails off. 

Your marketing team can also use these AI-generated profiles to analyze your audience and segment your email recipients to start creating emails more relevant to each group’s interests. This will lead to more opens and clicks, since they will better grab your audience’s attention. Again, AI can’t quite handle the creation process itself. Human expertise is still necessary for effective personalized marketing.

Personalized Website Customer Experiences

By tracking their ecommerce behavior, AI incorporated into your site can start to tailor customers’ website experience to be more relevant. Products listed on the front page or recommended to them at other browsing stages can be specified to their personal interests. This keeps them in your store and more likely to purchase, since they will continue to see what is relevant to their interests in your business.

Personalized Chatbots

Customer service is an important part of your daily, individualized marketing, and instant messaging through your website, social media, and SMS has become a fundamental customer service tool. Those messages can also be overwhelming and chatbots can help manage the flood. However, they are also often robotic and simple. Current advances in AI famously happening with Chat-GPT and Google Bard are allowing chat bots to accomplish more complex tasks and communications. They can address the customer by name, and even potentially pull up their profile’s information. They aren’t quite at the level of replacing a human’s social finesse or able to handle more complex inquiries. However, they have made great strides where simple interactions can be accomplished entirely automatically for a pleasant and personalized customer experience.

Don’t Forget About Human Expertise

AI technology is currently surging in its development and it’s still hard to see where it will end up in the coming months and years. It’s already showing it’s a powerful tool for personalized marketing, but don’t let it completely override the human touch of your business either. Ultimately, personalized connections are human ones, and customers want that human connection with your business. Similarly, AI is still limited in its abilities. Analyzing information, writing messages, creating visual content, and more still require human ingenuity and expertise. If you want to talk more about how you can strategize and incorporate AI into your digital marketingecommerce, or web design, be sure to contact Rosewood Marketing.