Top five tips
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Here are my top five tips to quickly learn how to create, launch and continually enhance successful email marketing campaigns:
1) Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
You may want to jump right in and get started, however it’s critical to prepare and plan and set objectives, especially when it comes to email marketing. When you’re getting started with email marketing make sure you step back and think through what you’re trying to accomplish. The best way to do this is to try and see things through your audience’s eyes and ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of information would attract attention and get me to open, read and act on an email campaigns?
- Would coupons, special offers or promotions make me more interested in the offer?
- Would I be more likely to respond to valuable information and practical tips I can use?
2) Create an email marketing plan
Once you’ve established your email marketing objectives, you can build an email marketing plan for the year. Look at the calendar, again from your customer’s perspective:
- Map out promotions, topics and campaigns that will help you reach out to your customers at the right time with the right information. (This may sound like a challenging task, but you know your customers better than anyone else, so outlining a flexible plan for the year shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.)
- Investing planning time up front will dramatically improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns. And your audience will appreciate getting relevant emails right when they want them.
3) Start building your email list
You are now ready to start building your “opt-in” email list. Opt-in means that your customers clearly understand that by signing up they are giving you permission to send them email communications. Make sure this is plainly stated, whether the sign up is on a web page or a paper form. In addition to name and email address, think about other information that could help you segment your list and target your email campaigns.
- Segmented lists allow you to send smaller, targeted and more cost effective mailings to audiences who want to hear your message
- Sending to segmented lists reduces the likelihood of people unsubscribing from being “over communicated” to about offers they may not care as much about.
- Ask your audience how frequently they would like to receive emails from you, update that in their profile, and respect it.
- Take every opportunity to gather customer emails and profile information by using all of the tools at your disposal, including a quick and easy sign up on the home page of your web site, paper form sign ups at the cash register, a jar for customers to drop business cards, social media promotions or drawings, or simply pull segments from your sales CRM.
- In addition to passive collection, you can also actively seek people you want to reach by attending relevant trade shows and conferences. Gather business cards, ask for permission and add them to your list!
4) Create an email template that reflects your brand image
Email marketing services provide templates that are great for getting started. Try and choose a look and feel that you feel best reflects your business and brand image.
- If you have the time and resources, you can also have a custom template created for you that matches your web site and marketing collateral.
- You’ll also want to decide on the formatting and how the content is displayed. Leave plenty of room for images and graphics and try to make the text concise, to the point and easy to scan.
5) Begin the conversation with your inaugural campaign
Now you’re ready to launch your first email campaign! Kick things off by introducing yourself and setting expectations. Let your audience know the type of information they’ll be receiving and how frequently they can expect to hear from you.
- In your first campaign, don’t just sell, but also offer valuable information or tips your audience can use.
- Encourage feedback so you can begin an ongoing dialogue with your customers, allowing you to continually gather more detailed profile information to improve the targeting of future campaigns.