I wrote this article for a business class I am taking and I thought it might be interesting for you guys. Its a quick summary of email marketing and how to get started. ENJOY:
Did you know that if e-mail marketing is used effectively it can deliver the highest return on investments (ROI) of any online marketing activity? (Stokes 170). But what exactly is e-mail marketing? Stokes defines e-mail marketing as a form of direct marketing which uses electronic means to deliver commercial messages to an audience (170). Still not sold? Besides delivering one of the highest ROI’s e-mail marketing is also highly targeted, customizable on a mass scale and measurable.
There are different types of commercial emails; promotional emails and retention based emails. Promotional emails are centered on getting the reader to take an immediate action, like making an online purchase with a coupon. Retention based emails differ in that they are focused on building a longer lasting relationship with the reader, and although they may include promotional information, the information provided generally has value to the reader. Retention based emails are also known as newsletters.
Now that you’re interested in e-mail marketing for your business, what is next? First, create a strategy and set some goals, just like you would for any other kind of marketing campaign. It’s important to keep your e-mail marketing strategy aligned with your company’s overall strategy.
Although you may be a skilled computer whiz, there is nothing wrong with getting help from an E-mail Service Provider (ESP). The ESP can help you with everything from designing your e-mails/newsletters to managing your sending. Here are some great ESP’s you can use:
www.mailchimp.com – www.constantcontact.com – www.icontact.com
Once you’ve found an ESP that works for you, it’s time to get started on creating a database. You need to make sure that your database is opt-in, which means the people you send your emails to have agreed to receive them. In order to ensure that you’re following all of the Canadian guidelines regarding anti-spam regulations check out www.fightspam.ca. Need suggestions on how to grow your database? http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/32028/25-Clever-Ways-to-Grow-Your-Email-Marketing-List.aspx has some great suggestions.
There are two different kinds of emails you can send out. The first is plain text, which is simply an e-mail with plain text. The second is an HTML email, which is much more visually appealing as they can include images, different fonts and hyperlinks. Keep in mind that HTML emails take longer to download, so it’s best to give your subscribers the option to view your e-mails in either plain text or HTML.
Now it’s design time. You can use the ESP you chose earlier to help you design the template for your e-mail newsletter. When creating your email Cyri Jones and Ivan Surjanovic suggest, “Make it visually appealing. Give it an attractive name. Add value by providing various tips, insights, facts or news about your products or industry. Educate your customers, build relationships and trust, and, yes, always remind them to try your products. Send your e-newsletter regularly.”
Keep in mind that the subject heading of your email is one of the most important parts! Take some time to think about what you’re going to use for the subject heading before sending your e-mail newsletter out. If you need help with creating the perfect subject heading, you can find some tips here: http://www.affilorama.com/content-creation/email-subject-lines
Remember that although you want to email your subscribers on a regular basis – don’t bombard them. If you start sending to many e-mails they may get annoyed and choose to unsubscribe – which is the last thing you want after all this work. Pick a good interval, such as weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Congrats! Now you’re ready to send out your first e-mail newsletter!
Stokes, Rob. Emarketing: The Essential Guide to Digitial Marketing. 4th ed. Quirk Education, 2011. Web. 6 April 2013.
Jones, Cyri and Ivan Surjanovic. “Ten Tips on How to Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign.” Business In Vancouver. 11 Dec 2012. Web. 6 April 2013. <http://www.biv.com/article/20121211/BIV0304/312119941>