Email Marketing Campaigns 101

27 04 2011

Last week I went to a Constant Contact Informational session with Anissa Starnes, the regional development director for Constant Contact.  For those of you unfamiliar with Constant Contact, it is marketing tool that helps you create email campaigns, surveys and event marketing campaigns.  At this event Anissa spoke about how to create a successful email marketing campaign and how to increase the number of times that your brand touches a potential or current customer. Below are my take-aways.

Email marketing can not be thought of as simply selling a product.  It should be used to connect with your audience and build connections with them.  This takes trust. You should use email to inform, educate and share something with your audience.  Email campaigns that simply try to sell a product will be deleted from inboxes.

Why do I need to use email marketing? What id my clients are not using email? Email campaigns can be used by any business, no matter the subject matter.  Statistics show that 147 million people across the country use email and most of them use it every day.  Therefore, your audience is using email and so should your business! Email marketing is also cost-effective and easy to measure.  When using an email campaign site like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp you can get reports on every email you send. 

Building your Email List

Step 1 to starting an email marketing campaign is to build your email list.  There is no magic number necessary to start a campaign; start where you are and keep adding emails to your list.  Remember, that email marketing is permission based.  You MUST gain permission from someone before you start inundating their mailboxes with email.  Also, after you add them to your list confirm that they wish to join by sending a welcome email.  In this email list how frequently they will receive emails and what they will consist of.  Example: monthly newsletter. Here are some ideas on how to build and add to your list:

  • Add a “Join My Mailing List” link in the signature of your email.
  • At networking events and meetings ask people if they would like to be added to your mailing list. 57% of consumers said that they would fill out a card to receive email alerts when asked by a small business.  It doesn’t hurt to ask!
  • Have sign up on your website.  Make sure it is on the front page so people can access it quickly.
  • Add a sign up on your Facebook.  The new business profiles on Facebook allow you to add a tab where fans can also sign up to receive emails. 

Anatomy of an Email Campaign

Your email should inform, promote your company and relate. Only 30% of the content should be promotional material.  The other 70% should inform and relate.  Please make sure that your content is concise.  Included links where people can opt to read more on your website, blog, Facebook, etc.  The email should be short snippets of information.  If it is too long or wordy it will just get pushed down to the bottom of in boxes or deleted. Here are some content ideas:

  • Think of the top frequently asked questions (FAQ) for your business.  Pick one and write about it.
  • The information you choose doesn’t always have to be about your company.  If you find something that applies to your field of work or even something that you think your audience might enjoy, include it.
  • Look at other newsletters for content ideas.
  • Add information tips and inspirational quotes.
  • Be personal!  Tell about yourself in your newsletter.  Your audience will want to get to know the person behind the company. Include information about yourself, your family, your interests, etc.  Also, include information about your staff.
  • Add videos, pictures and customer testimonials.

Email etiquette

Here a few things to note when sending emails.

  • Be aware of when you send emails and the frequency of emails. Never deliver an email blast on Monday or Friday.  Studies show that Tuesday or Wednesday have the highest open rates. Also, make sure that you are not flooding in boxes with emails.  I would recommend no more than 2 blasts a month.
  • Have a ‘from line.’ Studies recommend that the e-blasts should come from someone at your business.  This makes it more personal.
  • Subject lines are very important!  This can often be the reason someone deletes or opens your email. Subject lines should be short and sweet!  5-8 words is sufficient.  Make them interesting. The subject line should be a teaser of what is inside the email. If you have trouble writing subject lines, write the email first then come back and write your subject line. Punctuate and spell everything in your subject line correctly.  This will help to ensure that your email is not marked as spam.
  • When sending an email, personalize it with a first name.
  • When sending an email to more than one person blind copy the email addresses to protect the privacy of all in your list.
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