3 Easy Email Marketing Hacks for DUMBO


DUMBO: Gentrification Under the Bridge 

Having been a New Yorker for the past 22 years, New York differs completely from when I moved to the city in the late 1990s. DUMBO is one neighborhood that has seen some dramatic changes. 

A fun or sad fact depending on where you sit regarding gentrification. This neighborhood’s nickname was originally created in the 1970s to deter development. This story may be more urban legend than fact. 

However, this much is true. As more and more neighborhoods in Manhattan gentrified and became more expensive, people expanded into DUMBO, with its easy access to the Financial District and other parts of Manhattan. DUMBO’s old abandoned industrial sites were quickly developed into luxury condos. The neighborhood quickly gentrified and is now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn. 

DUMBO is now one of the city’s major arts districts, with Klompching Gallery. There are many unique eateries from a chocolate factory to artisanal bakeries and cafes. 

DUMBO occupies an unique location geographically because it is both easily accessible from both Brooklyn and Manhattan. This allows businesses to draw both from businesses and residents.

Why Web Design Matters in DUMBO?

Great web design is important no matter where you are located. However, in densely populated areas like DUMBO, where mobile usage is high. These best practices are highly important especially

  1. A design that is as unique as you. You need to stand out from the crowd and a great UX can communicate that to your clientele.
  2. Mobile is important because customers are looking for solutions that are near to where they are. Leaving the neighborhood is not convenient.
  3. Superior mobile UX lets customers know you have exactly what they want or need.

½ Will Decide to Open Based on the Headline 

According to research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 51 percent of all U.S. online readers identified a compelling headline as the reason why they clicked on a given story. 

How to Be One of Them

There were a number of key points, which cover in detail in our post small business email marketing. However, today, we will touch on three

  • Conciseness. 
  • Utility. 
  • Urgency.
email marketing for small business subject line is everything

We only have a 55-60 character subject line, so this is why we chose to narrow the list.  


This is one of the hardness tasks when creating a headline. It is a balance between not being too concise as to be generic and overly verbose that the headline is truncated. 

Conciseness is generally aided by the next two points, utility and urgency. A concise headline tells me what value it brings to me and why I should read it now.


Utility means ‘what’s in it for me’, ‘why should I care?’. These are the two questions your headline should answer. This seems simple enough. However, it can be very challenging to boil down a complex subject into 3 or 4 words.

Even people who do this for a living find it challenging. Add it cultural differences, context, and other general noise, and you see why communication is so messy. Keywords can be a useful place to start, as this the language people are using to search for content like yours.


We live in a society of urgency. Everything is now, don’t miss out, etc. that we are almost numb to it. A genuine sense of urgency based on a limited time value or event can still catch someone’s attention if it is tied to a clear benefit (utility).

As you can see, all three of these elements are tightly bound. It is nearly impossible to do one without affecting the other. This is why we have them as our top 3.

Don’t Wait Your Reader’s Time!

email marketing for small business brevity is key

Email design follows the same principles of web design.  Communication is messy, and design helps aid in getting our intended message across quickly and efficiently.

An email is an intrusion. We need to recognize this fact. Therefore, we need to make that intrusion as brief and clear as possible by sticking with one clear message.

We cover email design in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. We will just touch on the high points here.

email marketing for small business communication is messy

Design Choices Can Help or Harm Communication 

A grid pattern is the most common design tool. There are several elements to a grid. First, there are rows and columns that break the page into equally sized blocks, called modules. Rows or flowlines aid in reading. Columns aid in organization. Headers, footers, and margins give structure. 

For an intuitive email design, a hierarchical design is very effective. With an e-mail, we chose to communicate one thing, and one thing well. In this case, a hierarchical design can be very impactful. 

The hierarchical pattern that is the most pleasing to the eye follows the golden ratio. The golden ratio is a pattern common in nature. It is a fixed ratio of 1.618, which means the size of the more important block is 1.618 times larger than the less important one.

email marketing for small business golden ratio for design

Our eye is naturally drawn to this pattern, so it is very useful when communicating a simple, focused message.

Creativity Wins Points.

According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful. 

“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”

Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in DUMBO interacting with your neighborhood can add value.

It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around DUMBO or at your business location.

email marketing for small business call to action

Call to Action

Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.

We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to DUMBO. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.

Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in DUMBO has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.

Why Local Digital Marketing Matters in DUMBO?

With so much choice packed into such a small area, the key to success in DUMBO is standing out and being noticed. Local digital marketing can help you do just that. 

  1. Local digital marketing in DUMBO is about differentiating and owning a small niche. Then, exploring how you might expand from it.
  2. Digital is important to raise awareness among both DUMBO residents and business people in FIDI. 
  3. it lets both DUMBO and FIDI neighborhoods know you are nearby, open, and accessible, especially in the spring and summer when a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge adds to the experience.

Invest in Building an Email List

This should go without saying, but I still see it used every day. Never use SPAMmy tactics. They do not work. Plus, they can damage your credibility. 

Take the time to build a legitimate list. There are a million “how to” ways when you search Google for this term. We use two for reliable results:

  1. Create an Amazing Incentive for your readers.
  2. Have an Email Signup Form in Your Sidebar where people can easily see it.

If the reader finds value in your offer, they will give you their email. The key is not to abuse it, which leads to our next topic.

Caring for Your List

email marketing for small business cultivating your email list

An email has value, so we need to treat it as such. We have seen that value squandered time and again.

As a small business owner, it is hard to dedicate the time to do all that is required for the proper care and feeding of your email list.

Full disclosure, we are an agency that does this work. Therefore, it will not surprise you that we advocate for finding the right partner to do it for you.

However, to provide fair balance, there are marketing automation tools that can help you. They tend to rely on email templates and automated emails, but for many small businesses this is enough.


In closing, I’d like to leave you with these three thoughts.

  1. Nail the Headline: If you do nothing else, make sure that your headline does its job.
  2. Don’t Waste Your Reader’s Time: Your audience has little time to spend on an email. Ensure your communication is single minded and provides value quickly.
  3. Avoid SPAM tactics: While it may be slow, it is worth taking the time needed to build a legitimate e-mail list.

Things to Remember…

If you're thinking about finding help in DUMBO for your small business, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in DUMBO, you'll want help from someone who understands how DUMBO works. The best marketing firms understand what makes DUMBO so special and can communicate to your clientele.
  2. Find a company you can trust. If you can't trust a business to have your best interests, you're already going to be left in the lurch. Make sure you have a guarantee that your business will be treated fairly by all parties.
  3. Get the size of help you need. A larger firm can provide more resources and can do more things. A smaller firm, on the other hand, can feel like a neighbor in DUMBO, with the added benefit of one-on-one help from the best the company can offer.

How to Adapt Our Small Business SEO Tips for DUMBO

Aside from all the general tips above, here are some specific actions you can take based on the three key elements of local search algorithms:


All of this assumes that you have developed your keyword list. If you have not, this section will be more effective once you do. Please see our previous post on digital marketing in DUMBO and then come back.

Go through your keywords list and select those which are good descriptors of your business. If it were me, I would use something like “digital marketing agency”, “seo services”, for example. Then make a list of the neighborhoods you service, for example “seo services Jay Street”.

Now comes the harder part, that is frankly a bit tedious. For each combination, see if you can create a somewhat unique post that’s 500-1000 words for that keyword. For us, it is a post like this. I try to write a post that helps my potential clients learn something or do something they didn’t know they could. 


Now, this is the good part. If you do write quality posts for these keywords, you will be raising your prominence. Google knows that all these neighborhoods are near Dumbo. So, for each good post you write, you help raise your prominence on a given topic in a given location.

Prominence is also helped by the basic techniques I mentioned earlier, such as being a part of local business groups, e.g. the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce or Dumbo.is. Any local listing helps.


This is why I like the blog technique because it hits all three key areas. If your keyword is a descriptor of what you do and the neighborhood is one you serve, it is highly likely that you will score points on relevance.

Finding the right SEO for your small business in a neighborhood like DUMBO can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.

These same tools would apply if you want to target local SEO in Brooklyn or, more broadly, local SEO in NYC

See more about Small Business Marketing in DUMBO. If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Brooklyn. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.