The first part in this series looked at the benefits of email marketing, now I want to share the steps for implementation.
1. Develop your strategy.
Before you start it’s important to outline a simple strategy to ensure you stay focused by looking at your target audience and offering:
- Ascertain who are you targeting?
- What do you want your key message to be?
- How many different marketing emails are you going to send?
- How regularly will you send them?
2. Decide what you want to achieve.
Then you’ll want to decide on the main objective for sending email communications to your customers or clients.
- To increase sales?
- To improve your customer / client relationships?
- To provide advice, guidance and tips?
- To drive traffic to your website?
3. Organise your contacts.
Whatever 3rd party email marketing provider you use (and we’ll look into different options in the next article) you can create different lists so that as a new customer or client subscribes, you can automatically categorise them to be able to target your communication more effectively.
For example, as a minimum you might create 2 lists; one for your Existing Customers / Clients, and one for Prospective Customers / Clients. Then the message on each piece of communication can be adapted slightly depending on which group you’re sending too.
4. Present a consistent brand message.
With each piece of communication dispatched ensure that the brand and the message are consistent. From the tone of voice to the look & feel, all should reflect your company and the image you wish to portray. By doing so you’ll start to build trust which in turn will ensure that your contacts feel comfortable opening your emails.
5. Decide on an implementation date.
Set a delivery dispatch date and time and stick to it. Having a structure to your email marketing campaigns in place from the beginning, will make it much easier to plan in advance so there’s no last minute rushing around.
And remember that most people have countless emails landing into their inbox every day, so don’t become a pest by emailing them on a daily basis or with nothing much to say – that’ll only result in your subscriber list decreasing, fast! So decide if you have enough ‘good stuff’ to warrant a weekly or bi-weekly or monthly mail-out.
And finally research shows that the best days for email marketing campaigns are Tuesday’s and Thursday’s between 10am and midday. Monday’s and Friday afternoon’s being the worst.
What can you offer via email marketing channels?
Whatever your marketing objective is and whoever your target audience is, there will be some way that an email marketing campaign, done correctly, could benefit your business.
Here are just a few ideas to help you start planning yours:
- Newsletters: These are a quick informative way of keeping your customers / clients up to date on company news, latest releases, or upcoming offers. Generally these would be dispatched on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on how much new content you have to share.
- Promotions: Promotional campaign emails can be used to let your existing customers / clients know of any time-limited special offers that are coming up. For example discounts off a product or service. The email can be changed to reflect the time period set i.e. the first email sent to alert customers / clients to the special offer, then a slightly different 2nd email when the special offer starts, then a different 3rd email to start the countdown to the end of the offer, etc.
- Invitation emails: If your business has an event coming up, this can be an effective way to get customers / clients to attend – whether it’s online or offline. As with the promotional campaign emails, these can be drip fed all the way up until the event itself.
- Lead-generation emails: This is the perfect way for any business to remind prospective customers / clients about you and your business offering, keeping you at the forefront of their minds. These can be sent out periodically until you convert them into a new customer / client.
- Survey emails: Want to find out what your customers / clients think? This is the perfect way of getting accurate and relevant information. Often best achieved prior to end of year, so the results can be incorporated into your following years’ strategy.
Remember that 83% of small business owners think that email marketing is the most effective tool for marketing their business. And email continues to outperform social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest when it comes to converting prospects in to new sales. So if you’re not using it, why not?