Email marketing is a creative technique businesses have long used to reach people who could potentially be interested in their company. To some, the idea is outdated and social media is considered king for appealing to customers and clients. However, despite changes in the marketing world, email marketing still is a powerful tool business owners can use to make their business accessible to the right people.
Email marketing, when done right, can nurture leads and keep current clients and customers involved with your brand. According to Gigoam Research, marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion and retention. In fact, email emerged as the “digital marketing workhorse,” deemed effective for meeting all objectives.
We know the importance of email marketing and why businesses use it, but what are the first steps to implementing a successful marketing campaign? Before you begin a marketing campaign, there are several things you need to consider. Below are some of the first steps you should take when determining the best email marketing campaign for your business:
Determine Your Goals
Before you implement an email marketing campaign, you first need to know your goals for the campaign and what you hope to accomplish. This will help you determine what needs to be done to implement the campaign, and it can help you determine if the emails were successful. You could have one overall goal or small, incremental goals. Whichever you choose, be specific and make sure it is measurable.
To help determine your goals, ask yourself why you are sending the emails. Think of what you hope the outcome will be. For instance, if you plan to send emails in the hopes of getting new clients or customers, use that to determine the rest of the campaign. Send emails targeting new business and create content that will appeal to these people.
If your plan is to strengthen or deepen relationships with existing clients and customers, your tone needs to be different. Your emails need to reflect your existing relationship with them, and the content needs to be catered toward them. Setting clear and defined goals early on can help you easily determine the rest of your campaign and can make it more effective.
Choose an Email Marketing Software
Once you determine the goal of your campaign, you will need to choose an email marketing software that can help you accomplish your plan. You should select a service that will allow you to do what you need to do, but also will easy and simple to understand. The less time it takes for you to learn a program, the more time you can spend connecting with clients and customers.
Companies like Constant Contact and MailChimp allow users to send bulk emails, create and manage an email database, utilize a campaign management services and create customizable email templates. A majority of reputable email service providers offer free trials where users can determine if the program is right for them. This could be a cost-effective way to explore your options and determine which is the best for your business.
Build an Extensive Contact List
After selecting the proper software, you should begin thinking of who you want to contact. Your business should be adamant about building and managing an extensive contact list. This could include current clients or customers, as well as people who worked with your business in the past. Who you add to your list is determined by the goal you want to accomplish.
Even if you only have a handful of email addresses, you should add those to your database. Once you start to add more people and their contact information, you can categorize the data and create an email list within your master list. For instance, you can have categories for former clients, current clients, and potential clients. This could make the emailing process less confusing and more time effective.
Additionally, you should begin to determine how often you plan to email your contacts. Generally, you do not want to email a person too often for fear of becoming spammy. However, you do want to keep your business on the forefront of that person’s mind. Depending on your business, about two emails per month could be a good way to start the campaign.
Develop a Concise Message
Your business should look next to the content of the message you want to send. Again, this will be determined by the goal you wish to achieve. If you want to attract new clients and customers, your content should reflect that. If you are looking for a better connect with your current patrons, be sure to keep that in mind when writing the email.
No matter who the email is targeted to, you should be sure your content is original and fits within your brand. You want it to be concise and informative, but also to resonate with your readers. Adding humor or something unique to the content can help is stand out among dozens of other emails. A compelling subject line can have a significant impact on whether or not a person even opens the message.
The content of emails is unique because they can be highly personalized. Unlike social media and blogs, emails allow you to speak directly to a person. Because of this, your email communication must be used for more than simply promoting something. It should be used as an avenue to communicate with people on a different level and to establish relationships.
The way people communicate through email has changed, ultimately giving entrepreneurs and small business owners a new market to grow and expand their businesses. The steps above can help you determine what needs to be done to implement an effective campaign and how you can best use it to your advantage. Each campaign can vary per business and industry, but determining what is right for your business can take some time.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.
Rich McIver is the founder of Merchant Negotiators, an online comparison marketplace for merchants seeking credit card processing services. He can be reached via his company’s Google Plus and Twitter pages.