You probably send out hundreds of emails every day, but when you are doing it all at once and to market your business, some careful planning is required. How will you build the list of people you are emailing? What messaging will you present to them? How will you get them to take action? All of these questions can be answered when you create an email marketing strategy.
Building Your List
If you already have a list, feel free to skip to the next section. If not, this should be the first task in your overall marketing strategy. There are many creative ways to build lists. You can tap databases that you, your company or colleagues may already have, you can offer content, and if you are in a hurry or all else fails, you can buy a list.
Offer Valuable Content
A great way to build an email list is to offer content that your target market will want to download. For example, an eBook or how-to guide that people can gain access to if they provide an email is perfect. Keep in mind that the content should be targeted at people whose email would be valuable to have for your business purposes. Another possible source of content could be newsletters or blogs produced by you or your company.
Collect Emails from Other Sources
You may have contact forms on your website or on other web properties. Having a simple check box on these forms (assuming you get a decent amount of traffic) is a good way to get form submitters to opt into receiving other communications from you.
If you can’t generate your own lists or don’t have the time, you can always buy lists from sources online. There are a variety of companies that sell leads for various markets. Typically, these can be purchased at a relatively low cost and (depending on the business you buy from) can be very credible leads.
Once you have your list squared away, figure out what your goals are for your campaign. You can fall flat on your face with any marketing campaign if you don’t set good goals up front. I am a fan of S.M.A.R.T. goals myself. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Here are some examples of common goals to get you started:
- Buying a product
- Buying a service
- Using a coupon code to purchase something
- Starting and completing a longer conversion funnel on a website
- Interacting with a social media account
- Watch a video
Your Target Market
Knowing your target market is arguably one of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign. Marketing is messaging and communication. If form follows function, then the target market is the function and your message is the form that is shaped by it. As you plan your campaign, look for information that will help you with your specific market. Below is a list of broad markets that should be approached differently:
- B2B vs B2C
- Young adults vs older demographics
- Women vs men
- Consumers vs professionals
This list is meant to give you an idea of where to start and is by no means a comprehensive collection. If your audience is not receptive to your message because it doesn’t apply to them, you will never sell anything through email marketing. You should take your audience into account in virtually every step of the process from buying or building your email list to crafting your message to building your conversion funnel. For example, if you are selling Viagra, you don’t want to buy or construct an email list full of 20-somethings who won’t even give your email subject line a second look.
Timing is everything and email is no different. As part of your planning process, you should determine when you are going to send messaging to your target market. Perhaps you are planning a holiday promotion, or maybe you have a time-sensitive sale going on. Whatever the case may be, sending your email any old time won’t cut it. A report from Experian Marketing Services highlights the following data pertaining to when messages are sent:
- People tend to respond more to marketer’s emails on the weekends when volume is low
- The next highest response rate (response meaning clicks or other actions) was a Tuesday
- Response rates are highest in the early morning and the late night
So when you go to send out your messaging, think about when your target market will be most likely to see your message amongst all the other emails they get as well. You might find that you get a better result when you send during a time when they aren’t getting a ton of messages.
Choose Your Tools
These days, the best way to perform email marketing campaigns is with third-party software. Many leading programs allow you to easily upload contacts, create HTML email templates, insert links, include social features and provide excellent tracking features. Some common email programs include:
What other tips do you have for making a good email marketing strategy? Let us know by leaving a comment below.