Posted: Wed 3rd Jul 2013
You're probably aware that email marketing can be a powerful tool for your business (it really can!) but getting started can seem a little daunting,Â writes Matt (left). How can you make sure you get things right first time?Â A simple way to begin is to work through the permission marketing cycle. There are five key stages, which cover the core elements of any email marketing activity. Here are the top things you need to consider:Â
Good email marketing starts with great data. The only people you should send your email campaigns to are those who opted in directly to hear from you. This could be online through your website or in person. When people are opting in, be clear about what you'll be sending them and how often. Ask for the minimum data you need (usually just an email address). Then keep their data safe -Â it's a valuable asset to you, and you're legally obliged to protect any personal data you collect. Don't buy data. That's spamming. In the mind of your recipient, there's no such thing as '3rd party opt-in'. It's a quick way to waste money, wreck your brand and get you kicked off your email provider. No exceptions.
When you're creating your email campaign remember that you need to give value to the reader. They're spending their precious time reading your email, so they expect something in return. Take a look at some ideas for valuable email content here. Decide in advance what the goal of your email is. The most effective campaigns have a single goal -Â or call-to-action -Â which the email is designed to lead readers towards. Make sure it's really clear what you expect your readers to do. Spend time crafting your subject line. It needs to engage the reader and encourage them to open the email and read it -Â a good subject line can double the impact of your campaign. Take care to avoid too many buzz words though: if your campaign goes to everyone's junk folders, they're probably not going to read it. Make sure that you send from a valid email address and have a valid reply address that people can email back to. You also need to include your company details and postal address, as well as an unsubscription mechanism, clearly within the email. These are legally required.
Think carefully about who you send each campaign to (is your email relevant to everyone on your list, or just a segment?) and what time you send it.Â Sending late at night or very early in the morning is usually a bad idea. Try to time your campaign for when your audience is most likely to be checking their email so your message doesn't end up as one of many unread emails that it's tempting to just skip over.
You can amplify the reach of your emails by sharing them on your social networks, and by including links in the emails that make it easy for readers to share them with their networks, too. Simply asking readers to share your content has been shown to substantially increase the rate at which they do so.
One of the great things about email marketing is the wealth of data you get from your campaigns.Â Analysing open rates and click patterns can give you huge insight into what tactics work best for your readers, and help you to better target future campaigns. It also makes it easy to see if your campaign achieved the goal you set when you designed it. Start by comparing your results with industry averages and then once you have enough data for your own campaigns you can start to compare new campaigns with previous results and aim for continual improvement.Â You can even use analytics with techniques like split-testing to improve your campaigns automatically while they're happening. That's a whistle-stop tour of the key things you need to know. There's lots more to learn and techniques you can apply to get great results. I've written a free 30 page book on the basics of email marketing which you're welcome to download here.
Matt will be answering your questions about email marketing during a webchat on Enterprise Nation next Wednesday at 12.30pm. Set a reminder for the webchat.
Enterprise Nation Club partner Sign-Up.to is offering a FREE trial of its email, SMS and social media marketing software to Club members, including 1,000 email sends, followed by 20% off monthly packages. Check out this and other great offers from leading brands on the Enterprise Nation Club page.