10 Tips to Get Started with Email Marketing
Written by Arian Jahansouz Saturday, 23 June 2012
Email Marketing has become a critical sales channel for a number of businesses, allowing for timely, low-cost, direct communication with customers. Whether you’re interested in selling items in your email, or looking to strengthen your relationship with your customers (enabling a future sale), email marketing is a tool worth exploring.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started:
- Choose your Email Marketing Service Provider
There are a number of economical online solutions that you can use to handle the delivery of your email like ConstantContact, MailChimp, Icontact, and VerticalResponse. And they do more than just handle sending your email. They can provide you with free email templates, assistance with managing your lists, and advice on getting your email past ISP spam filters.
- Create your Mailing List
Of course, you need a list of email addresses in order to conduct an email marketing campaign. These should be emails of customers of yours or people that have asked to be on your mailing list. You can upload these email addresses into your Email Service Provider’s tool. Enlarge you mailing list by collecting customer emails when they purchase from you, and make it easy for someone to sign up for your mailing list on your website.
- Plan your campaign
Think through what you would like to accomplish with your email marketing efforts. Plan out your calls to action, the frequency of your emails, and the sequence of your emails.
- Design your Email
Use an HTML template given to you by your Email Service Provider, hire a web designer to create one for you, or create your own. Create a template that reflects your business’s brand. Make sure that the call to action is very clear to your customer.
- Write a Good Subject Line
Good subject lines are critical to the success of an email marketing campaign. If the subject line isn’t engaging then your audience won’t open the email. By the way, most of your audience won’t open your email, regardless of your subject line. Of course it depends on your business, your audience, and what you’re offering, but an open rate of 15% would be considered a good one for most businesses.
- QA Your Email
Your email might look good on your screen, but might look strange depending on the email service used by your customers (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) or the device used by your customers (PC, iPhone, iPad, etc.). It’s a good idea to test your email across different email services and devices. It’s also a good idea to provide a link in your email to an online version of your email (your Email Service Provider should have this feature) so that if a customer can’t see your email properly they always have the option to view your email on a webpage.
- Prepare your Website
If your Email is designed to take your audience to a landing page on your website, make certain that you have a good landing page created with messaging and a call to action tied to your email message.
- Compliance with Anti-Spam Laws
You need to provide your audience with an option to unsubscribe from future mailings from you. Provide an “unsubscribe” link on the bottom of your email. If a customer unsubscribes then stop sending them emails. Your Email Service Provider should provide you with tools to manage this unsubscribe process.
- Monitor and Review
Monitor the results of your email campaigns and use those results to guide future emails. Measure important statistics, such as the % of customers that open your email, the % of customers that click on a link within your email, and the amount of revenue generated by your email. Analysis of your results can point to areas of improvement that can be applied in your next email.
- Test, and Test Again
Oftentimes it can be unclear if certain elements of the email are good or bad, and that’s where testing comes into play. Unsure about your subject line? Create two subject lines, split your list in two, and send one half the 1st subject line and one half the 2nd subject line. Unsure about your email creative? Conduct an email creative split test in the same fashion. If you have a big enough list, you could perform a split test on a small sub-segment of your list, and then roll-out the winner of your test to the rest of the list. As you identify winning formulas incorporate them as best practices to follow in the future.