For many small business owners, email marketing is an afterthought. It’s something they do occasionally because – well, they’ve always sent out a monthly newsletter. And that’s about as far as it goes.

The frustrating thing is, they know they should be doing more. They see bigger (or perhaps smarter) companies, which they aspire to be like, sending out regular, highly targeted campaigns. They know it works because they read blogs like this, and let’s face facts: Why would a bigger, smarter organization invest so much time and effort in email if it didn’t work?

Reminder: Email marketing remains the most efficient method for driving repeat purchases and recurring revenue. As anyone who has been in business for any length of time will tell you, this is the fastest and most sustainable route to profitability.

Time to Get Serious About Email

The thing about email marketing is it’s really quite simple.

It’s all about sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

Imagine how much more profitable your business would be if you focused on doing this more often rather than sending out an untargeted and (let’s be honest) rather dull monthly newsletter.

The First Step Is the Hardest

As with any new strategy, getting started with email marketing is always the most difficult thing.

You’ll need to make sure your lists are in good shape, your subscription forms and landing pages are compelling enough to drive new subscribers, and your email templates are on-brand and responsive (meaning they work on mobile devices). You’ll then need to start building strategic campaigns.

Remember: Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you are struggling to find inspiration, speak to your colleagues, your clients and your suppliers when you’re planning campaigns. They will give you so many ideas – the biggest challenge will be deciding which ones not to use.

An Hour per Day

OK, this all sounds like a lot of work, and we understand that as a small business owner, you have 101 other things that need your attention.

So here’s the solution. Find and dedicate just one hour per day to email marketing. I guarantee that once you have gotten over the “heavy lifting” of setting up your initial campaigns, you’ll find the returns this effort delivers far outstrip anything else you do to promote your business.

Note: If you are struggling to find the hour, take a look at everything else you do and ask yourself: What am I doing that adds value to my business, and what am I doing simply out of habit?

Time Hack

If you want to squeeze even more out of your hour, why not speak to the email marketing experts here at iContact and learn how they can help you manage your lists, build new creative, and even plan and execute campaign ideas?

Could you find an hour a day to dedicate to email marketing? Start today, and your only regret will be that you didn’t start sooner.

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This article originally appeared on iContact and has been republished with permission.