Email news and strategy
Simple Steps to Successful Email Marketing
by Beth Nagengast
We’ve all heard the buzz about email marketing and how cost-efficient and easy it is to do. Email marketing helps businesses see instant sales from existing customers, but more importantly, it maintains and builds long-lasting, loyal relationships – which are the core of most successful businesses.
If you’re already marketing via email, excellent! This article, the first of a two-part series, will provide useful tips to improve the results of your email campaigns and ideas to build long-term relationships with loyal customers
For those of you who haven’t started email marketing, the time to start is now! You’ll learn how to do it efficiently and effectively. The goal is two-fold: To do it the right way with the right tools.
The right way is sending compelling emails to customers and prospects that want to hear from you and have given you permission to contact them.
The right tools are at your fingertips and easy enough for anyone to use – as long as you have an email account, an Internet connection and a Windows or Mac OS computer.
There are ten steps to successful email marketing. We will discuss first six in this piece and the rest later. Here are the ten:
Step 1: Consolidating Your Names
Step 2: Build Your List of Email Addresses
Step 3: Develop Your Email Campaign Mix
Step 4: Write Your Emails
Step 5: Choose Your Recipients
Step 6: Send Your Email Blast
Step 7: Process Opt-Outs
Step 8: Process Bounced Emails
Step 9: Follow Up Step 10: Refine and Repeat
Consolidating Your Names: This step is all about gathering names and getting them into an easily accessible, centralized location. Can you really have all your names in one place? Yes, you can, and it’s not hard!
There are a few ways that you can consolidate your names into one place. To make it as simple as possible, I recommend that you download and install one of the software programs available from Filemaker and other companies.
If you’re lucky enough to have your names already entered into Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Entourage, Palm Desktop, Intuit QuickBooks or another software program, you can minimize the tedious task of data entry by exporting your contact information from these programs and importing it into these programs.
If all your names are on paper forms or in your trusty Rolodex, this is the part where you (or your teenager) start typing.
Build Your List of Email Addresses: Building your own list of current customers, past customers, and prospects (versus buying names and addresses) is the best way to start an effective e-mail marketing list
You now have your existing names in a database. But up until now, you haven’t had much need for email addresses, so chances are that you have a big blank in the email address field for many of your customers.
What you want to do now is fill in those empty fields, in addition to adding new names and email addresses. Here are some ideas to get your started:
Use your website, storefront, front desk, and every phone call as an opportunity to gather permission to email your customers. You want to provide something to which your current and potential customers will say, “Yes, I give you permission to send me email.” A simple clipboard on your front counter or form on your website, that says “Sign up here to receive discount coupons via email!” or “Sign up here to get our free Newsletter via email!” will get you going.
Don’t ask for too much information at first. All you really need to get started is a first name and an email address.
Most importantly, promise privacy. You should develop a privacy statement that communicates to customers how your company uses their personal information.
Develop Your Email Campaign Mix: It’s important to decide on content and frequency. There’s a delicate balance between too much and not enough email marketing in order to maintain and build long-lasting relationships. Combining a variety of content at different intervals is acceptable to most customers who have opt-ed in to your email list. You don’t want every email that you send to be promotional. You want a blend of editorial and promotional communication that will help you build a long-lasting relationship with your loyal customers
In order to decide on the mix, figure out what you think will help build your relationship with current customers, win back lost customers and move hot prospects closer to becoming customers. Here are ten questions that can help you decide on your unique email campaign mix for the different groups you’re targeting.
What type of content would my customers/prospects appreciate from me?
What would they read and respond to?
What would help build my relationship with them?
Do they want informative news-like, editorial content?
Do they want entertaining emails and jokes?
Do they need notification of policy renewals and contract expirations?
What about urgent updates and product recall information?
Do they want price change alerts or notifications of promotional offers and discounts?
Do they want order confirmations sent through email? Or if I’m already sending transactional email like order confirmations, can I add upsells and other marketing messages to those?
Would they appreciate a casual greeting regarding a special day, such a birthday, anniversary or upcoming party?
Would a combination of any of these types of communication be appropriate? If so, you can send emails at different intervals for different topics. It boils down to something simple: LOYAL RELATIONSHIPS will give you the competitive edge!
Write Your Email: The text of your email is critical. Make sure your copy gets right to the point with compelling content, special offers or exciting news. You’ll find some examples of different styles of emails to help you get started below.
Here’s an example of one way that you might start with your first monthly newsletter:
Dear [First Name],
You are receiving this newsletter because you, or someone using this email address, subscribed to the Big Mountain Bikes Cycle Update.
We have a lot fun and exciting events coming up soon so be sure to mark your calendar for these activities:
Add event details here
Add event details here
Add event details here
Check out our new website at http://www bigmountainbikes com for complete results and great pictures from recent events. You can even sign up for next month’s triathlon online!
**Patrick Thomas wins iPod**
Congratulations to this month’s iPod Nano winner: Patrick Thomas of Great Falls If you or any of your friends want to enter for next month’s iPod drawing, visit the store or website at http://www bigmountainbikes com to sign up. Feel free to forward this email to your friends so they can sign up too!
**Last Chance for Free Tune Up** Get a free tune up with any purchase over $25 00 made before the end of month. Stop in or schedule an appointment today! Call us at 406-555-1234
Next month, check out:
*Moab at Midnight – pics and tricks from Ken Buchholz
*Ratings on New Gear for 2006 – what’s hot and what’s not
*Results from the Big River Triathlon
The Team at Big Mountain Bikes
This email is being sent from Big Mountain Bikes, 1234 Main St., Whitefish, MT 93446
You are receiving this email because you or someone used this email address to subscribe to this email. To unsubscribe from this email, please reply with REMOVE in the subject line to discontinue receiving Monthly Newsletters via email from us.
Choose Your Recipients: This is where you’ll choose which customers or groups of customers are selected to receive this particular email. Using the FileMaker Business Productivity Kit, you can choose to send your message to specific groups or individuals who have opted to receive email from you. FileMaker or a similar program then will merge in personalized information for each customer into an email and place the personalized emails in your email applications’ Drafts folder where you can review them to ensure everything looks good.
Then you’re ready to send away. Be sure to read the next section before you press “Send” to make sure your timing is just right!
Send Your Email: Timing of the email is important. Most only have a life of three days. Thus, if you are marketing to business people at their offices, sending early in the week is usually better than sending on a Friday.
If you’re sending to homes, recent studies show that weekends–especially Sundays–are best. But good days for sending email change as often as the hot new color for fall, so just test for yourself to see what works best for you.