Your 6 Point Guide To Planning An Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing, when done well, is an extremely cost effective and efficient method of reaching your target audience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you start a successful email marketing campaign.

1. What is your campaign for?

The most important stage in this process is the very first step; deciding what you hope to achieve by running the campaign.

What’s the purpose of the campaign; to find new prospects, generate more business or to consolidate relationships with existing clients?

Now think about who you want to target. What would these people be looking for; what are their interests and why would they want to hear from your company?

How frequently are you intending to email the people on your mailing list? It’s not a good tactic to bombard people more than once a fortnight or you risk annoying them which is always counterproductive. A monthly mailing is usually the best option; in this way you ensure that you are not forgotten but you also avoid the hassle factor.

2. Compile your mailing list

Be very careful when compiling or purchasing a mailing list. You must have the consent of everyone on the list before mailing them or you risk breaking the law. If you’re collecting email addresses from your own website, make sure that people have opted in to receive emails from you rather than failing to opt out.

It’s very important that users are fully aware of what they are actually signing up for and what you intend to do with their data.  Emails perceived by the recipient to be spam will not do wonders for your company reputation!

3. Choose your software

To some extent the format of your emails will dictate the nature of the package you can use. Outlook is fine for a small mailing list and a tight budget but if you want to include fancy graphics this could be a problem. It’s also not easy to manage unsubscribes and you will have to remove them all by hand from the list which is time consuming and open to error. You must also make sure that subscribers’ email addresses are not visible to others on the mailing list so you will have to put them into the “bcc” field, rather than the “to” field.

Statistics are not available with the bog-standard packages either so you will not be able to see how many recipients have actually opened the emails, clicked on links etc.

You might find it better to choose an email marketing-specific software package. The emails will be laid out like web pages; graphics are accommodated, unsubscribes dealt with and statistics are available. These packages are usually available on a pay per month or annually basis.

4. Content

It’s vital to get your first message right as first impressions do count.

Start with a really attention-grabbing and intriguing title to encourage recipients to open the email. Follow up with some compelling content; perhaps a great offer or some really exciting new products.

You can either put all the information you wish to impart in the email itself or consider including ‘teaser’ paragraphs which encourage readers to visit your website where they can read the complete articles. This is also a useful method of tracking the success of your campaign by using your website statistics.

5. Visual impact

Ideally you will be using HTML emails containing graphics; even so you still need to give careful consideration to the layout of your email.

The body of text should look inviting, well spaced-out and easy to read. Keep it simple and don’t try to cram too much information or graphics into one email. You can always send a follow-up. Remember that the more images you include, the slower the download time will be so keep each graphic relevant.

6. Statistics for success

You must put in place an effective method for measuring the success, or otherwise, of your email marketing campaign. How else will you be able to determine whether the campaign has achieved its objectives?

Statistics showing the number of clicks on links within the email; subsequent visits to your website etc are very important. Take time to go through the data carefully. If the campaign was a success, you may wish to repeat it in the future and if it was not, you will need to go back to the proverbial drawing board and figure out what you need to do differently next time.

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