Launching an email marketing campaign may be one of the most valued and cost-effective marketing techniques to increase your return on investment and traffic to your website. Marketing techniques are crucial in today’s business world as the competition for business is fierce. E-commerce is running like wild fire and we need to keep up with technology trends and what consumers expect. Accessing information via the web is crucial. Here is a how-to guide on how to start your email marketing campaign.
Define Marketing Purpose: You are ready to blast the highway of ecommerce but you need a plan of action. Where are you starting and where do you want to end up? Define what your purpose is for each email marketing strategy. Go back to the basics and determine what is the product/service, who is your target audience, what is your budget, what price will the customer pay, the return on investment must suffice the expenditure, and finally what is the promotion or gimmick? After you have determined all of the basics you can get started on your email marketing campaign.
Choose a Mailing System: During your travel on the ecommerce highway you have to understand that the traffic is heavy and you will need a mailing system that can provide you with features and service that can handle thousands of emails at a time. This type of task will not be able to be managed by a person but rather a program. A mailing system will help you design and publish your email. There are many templates to choose from and from the list of emails you provide they can send your email to everyone on your list for you. In addition to the original email you can develop auto-responders. Below are some sample mailing systems with their highlighted features.
- Mail Chimp:
- Design Email Newsletters: Choose a customizable template to not only get your message through but promote your brand.
- Publish Your Content: Provide your list and they can ensure your email gets to their inbox versus their SPAM box.
- Share your Newsletter: Allows you to use social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your campaign.
- Track your Results: Mail Chimp gives you detailed reports and even suggestions on how to improve your email campaign.
- Manage your Subscribers: Allows you to create groups, create auto-responders, ensure data security, create custom forms and participate in co-branding with Mail Chimp.
- Integrate with Others: Mail Chimp will help you connect with others through your personal email program such as Gmail or yahoo, integrate with places such as PayPal, Google and social networking sites, and sync with a shopping cart program.
- Mobile App: Take Mail Chimp on the road with you. You can access Mail Chimp through your mobile phone.
- Campaign Monitor:
- Create and Send Emails: You design your own email and they will send it.
- Managing Email Lists: They are able to create your Opt-in Emailing list and remove those who wish to unsubscribe. They are also able to create and manage different groups within your master email list if you choose to send email campaigns to different groups.
- Reporting and Analytics: Shows you who is opening the email, clicking links, forwarding and interacting with your business on social networking sites. Share your newsletters with Twitter and Facebook; determine who is using which email client and compares campaigns and spot trends.
- Resell and Profit: You can create subaccounts and sell Campaign Monitor services under your own domain.
- Managing your data, lists and forms: you can create an unlimited amount of data and lists, create forms, set up texting programs and auto-responders.
- Design and test campaigns: Create personable emails, texting and twitter campaigns with their designer program. They will also test your campaign prior to launching.
- Sending messages: Gives you data on the best times to send messages or updates.
- Sharing your message: Allows you to share your messages with Twitter, Facebook and WordPress
- Analyse: Provides reporting on the effectiveness of your campaign from who is opening your email to who has purchased your product/service.
Create Your Email List: You can create your email list at the same time of researching which mailing system you would like to use. In fact, you may already have been working on gathering emails from people that are already interested in your product/service. The main point is that you can only solicit those that have an interest in your business otherwise, it is considered Spam.
- Stay away from SPAM: SPAM is using an electronic message to people who have not expressed an interest in the product or service. SPAM can give you a bad name and damage your businesses credibility. Only send emails to those that have expressed an interest in your business, product or service.
- Snail Mail: You may already have people’s physical addresses through your current customer base. You can send them a flyer or letter asking if they would like to be added to your emailing system for free newsletter or notification of different promotions.
- Advertise your email: Make sure your email address is on all forms of advertising: business card, invoice, flyers, newspaper ads, television ads, radio ads and all direct mailings.
- Voicemail: Leave your email address on your voicemail as an alternate contact method.
- Contact your business by email: Create a situation where the person of interest is only able to get more information by emailing you.
- Opt-in Email Advertising: Partner with another business where the customer can express interest, receive promotions, or sign-up for your free newsletter. A few names of businesses that promote this type of service is Submit Express, Optin Services and Data Depot. You may be able to find a Mailing System as described above that has Opt-in Email List Management as one of their features.
Just say no to SPAM: The point of creating your email list is to ensure that you are not sending unsolicited emails. Here are a few more tips to ensure you stay off the blacklist.
- If you are sending an email to someone in the United States make sure you are following the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The act specifies that you must have a way for the customer to opt-out and the business has 10 days to remove the email address and once the email address is added to the opt-out list the email address cannot be used for any further data. The content must be accurate in the subject line and a label must be added if the email contains adult content. There must be a physical address of the advertiser or publisher. There are both criminal and civil enforcement. You can read the entire act at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-108publ187/pdf/PLAW-108publ187.pdf.
- Do not buy email address lists.
- You can use a double opt-in feature. The person will first opt-in for your newsletter and then you send them a confirmation email. The person would then to select a link to confirm they have opted-in.
- On your opt-in form provide an example of what your emails look like.
- Suggest that the new email contact adds you to their white list to prevent your email from going to the auto-filtered spam box.
- Use your subject line wisely and don’t try to sell in the subject.
- Use email etiquette. Stay away from red text, several exclamation marks, all caps and certain keywords.
- Set up an email@example.com to accept complaints. This will allow you to see who has reported you to spam in their email.
- Do not add images as an attachment. Include them inside the email.
- Use an email mailing system (previously discussed above)
- Finally, obtain your spam score from Contactology. You can input your message into their file and they will score your email to determine if you are likely to be filtered into a Spam folder or not.
Monitor your Mailing System Reports: No matter which mailing system you choose make sure you continue to review the reporting that they provide you. This will help you determine who you are reaching and what their activities are once they have opened your email. The mailing system reports will also help you or they may automatically determine the best time of the day to send your email. The global market is powerful and even if your business is local you may need help to manage a busy ecommerce site.