In 2017, 225.3 billion emails were sent and received per day and that number is projected to increase to 246.5 billion by 2019. Additionally, 80% of professionals believe that email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. If you’re a small business owner who’s looking to build value within your organization and widen your consumer reach, email marketing is a viable option.

Although it’s nothing new, email marketing is still an effective way to inform customers both old and new, generate meaningful leads and measure specific results of individual campaigns. It’s even the preferred source of business communication for 72% of consumers. In fact, 61% of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly, and 38% would prefer them to come more frequently.

There are a few basic best practices to keep in mind when implementing an email marketing strategy within your small business.

Build your subscriber lists.

In order to reach your target consumer base, you must first build your database. The best way to do this is simple, ask them for their information. Many customers are more than willing to give you their email information if they believe that you’ll provide them with valuable information regarding your products and services. Brick and mortar locations have the added benefit of offering in-store promotions and emailing receipts to acquire more email addresses.To gain subscribers digitally, placing entry and exit email signups on your website that feature incentives can prove useful. Once a customer has made a purchase from this incentive, it’s important to follow up and continue connecting with them. Small businesses should always think long-term when acquiring customers, as you want them to keep coming back. Social media is also a great digital avenue for gaining email subscribers. Consider creating a Facebook contest where consumers input their information for a chance to win a small prize.

Get creative.

Email provides a great opportunity for promoting your brand in your own unique way. Giving customers a more intimate, creative message helps gain their trust and highlights why they should continue coming back to your business. As previously mentioned, billions of emails are sent and received daily, so you want to be sure that your emails stand out among the masses. Grab customer’s attention with a compelling subject line that will keep them engaged throughout the duration of the email. Consider offering incentives or discounts within the email or provide a unique piece of information about your business or industry.

Experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Every consumer is different, so what one responds to, another may find off-putting. Try and figure out what appeals to the majority and tailor your messages to fit that. It’s also important to figure out the best days and times to send out your emails to increase open and click-through rates. Campaigns that feature BOGO incentives or free gifts with purchase can help drive conversions.

Segment your emails.

Using the techniques described, figure out where recipients fall to provide them with the most relevant offers based on their preferences. Segmented email campaigns garner 14.64% more opens and 59.99% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns, so it’s incredibly important to do this. Many businesses segment based on things like age, gender, income level, etc. Figure out what metrics are most important for your business and include pertinent questions within your signup process. Discover as much as you can about your customers so that you can leverage your data and improve your campaigns.

Provide a clear call to action (CTA).

Every email you send should have a specific goal in mind. Whether it’s bringing more customers to your website, informing them on a new product you’re offering, or alerting them of an upcoming sale, there should always be a specific action you’re looking for your customers to complete. The most effective CTAs provide a clear sense of urgency (RSVP now, today only discounts, etc.). Also make sure that your CTA button text stands out and is large enough to read easily.

There’s never been a better time to incorporate email marketing within your small business. By utilizing these best practices, you can gain an edge on your competition and provide insightful, relevant information to customers that will keep them coming back.