March 31, 2012
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Online marketing is an excellent cost-effective and metrics driven way to increase sales and build brand awareness. One of the best digital tactics, amongst many, is email marketing – sharing your message directly with interested parties via email.
When you start a small business, you’ll be tempted to opt for list rentals in lieu of building an in-house list organically. But for most (depending on your industry) I recommend organically building an email list comprised of folks that already have a relationship with your company, have purchased products or services, or have signaled an interest in establishing a relationship with your brand.
If you already have an email list or you’re building one from scratch there are several things you should know first. Checkout these twenty do’s and don’ts, unleash your email marketing genius and cultivate profitable and loyal relationships along the way.
Email Marketing Do’s
1. Select an online email client (software) that is user-friendly, cost-effective and scalable. When it comes to email marketing services and list management, not all platforms are created equal. My favorites include MailChimp, AWeber and Campaign Monitor.
2. Utilize a clean and modern email template. There’s no excuse for poor execution here, given most email marketing services include free templates. Or you can find inspiration from other beautiful email newsletters, hire a designer and create your very own.
3. Capture email and business card opt-ins on consumer facing touchpoints including your website, trade shows and social media networks (provide a link). Give people the option to communicate with your company on their own terms.
4. Create an email marketing calendar (content plan) to coincide with new product/service launches, new news or educational (branding) communications. Need immediate content? Use your company blog feed.
5. Use A/B testing to refine your email communications over time. Test subject line headings, landing pages and content.
6. Cross promote your company’s social media outlets in the body of each email.
7. Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. Give people the right to have you stop emailing them, and understand the penalties for violating this Act.
8. Measure the performance of your email campaigns. Become familiar with email metrics such as open rates, click-throughs and conversion rates to track the effectiveness of your communications.
9. Improve conversion rates (desired actions) by aligning the frequency of your emails with the length of your sales cycle. How long does it take you to close a deal? Do customers regularly inquire for more information? Are there major barriers to purchase? Consider these factors and set up a drip campaign accordingly. Here are a few examples.
10. Focus on building a quality email list. What good is it to have a hundred thousand uninterested email subscribers? Most companies would rather have ten thousand active and involved relationships instead.
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