5 Ways to Build a Strong Email Marketing FoundationOctober 8, 2010 By Mélanie Attia
In an e-book compiled by my firm, Campaigner, titled "The Small Business Guide to Email Marketing," readers are provided tips to help them create, launch and continually enhance their email marketing campaigns. Here are five tips taken from the book:
1. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Small business owners and entrepreneurs like to jump right in and get started, which is crucial to success. But it’s also important to prepare, plan and set objectives, especially when it comes to email marketing. When you’re getting started, step back and think through what you’re trying to accomplish. The best way to do this is to try and see things through your customers’ eyes.
Specifically, ask yourself what type of information would attract attention and get people to open, read and act on your email campaigns. Do they want coupons, special offers or promotions? Would they respond better to valuable information and practical tips they can use often? The best e-newsletters include a mix of sales with expert opinions and advice.
2. Construct a yearly email marketing plan. Once you’ve established your email marketing objectives, build an email marketing plan for the year ahead. Look at the calendar — again from your customers’ perspective — and map out promotions, topics and campaigns that will help you reach out to customers and prospects at the right time with the right information.
While this may sound like a challenging task, you know your customers better than anyone else, so roughing out a flexible plan for the year shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Use major holidays as good milestones to work with. Investing planning time up front will dramatically improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns. Your customers will appreciate getting relevant emails right when they want them.
3. Start building your email list. Now that you’ve put yourself firmly in your customers’ shoes, you’re ready to start building your opt-in email list. Opt-in means your customers understand that by signing up they're giving you permission to send them emails. In addition to name and email address, think about other information that could help you better target your email campaigns, such as the following: