22 Jul Getting Started with Email Marketing
To some businesses, email marketing simply means blasting out your company news, blog posts or special promotions to everyone you know via your Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo address book. Even if you think your colleagues and current customers “won’t mind” receiving these, it is not compliant with current CAN-SPAM Act, a law to protect consumers and businesses from unwanted electronic mail messages.
Proper email marketing is permission-based, which means your readers must opt in to your newsletter, and you need to explain to them why they’re receiving it. The best way to manage this process is by using an email service provider such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, aWeber or Mad Mimi. These companies provide the proper infrastructure to deliver your targeted email messages and provide the proper opt-in and unsubscribe options to keep your business off spam blacklists.
Now, does this mean once you have an account with an email service provider you can send sporadic emails to your opt-in list every time you think of something to say to your audience? Well, you could, I suppose, but that’s not effective email marketing. Just like any other medium in your marketing plan, the keyword is “plan.” You have to have a strategy.
If you don’t yet have subscribers yet, think about who your target audience is. How will they find you, and what do you think they’ll want to read in your emails? Remember, inboxes are flooded these days with so many newsletters, promotions, and articles – what will make your readers open your message?
The biggest tip is to keep your content and announcements helpful to your defined audience. Don’t use email as a platform to talk about how great your company is; use it to really connect with your clients and customers by offering free tips, how-to advice and an occasional offering of a product or service.
Next you will want to establish your frequency. Are you putting out a quarterly newsletter packed with articles, a monthly e-zine, or a weekly recap of your Blog post(s)?
MailChimp advises that you should think about what content you’re already creating that you might want to share with your subscribers. A popular tweet, a Facebook post, an article about your company—these are things your readers will likely find interesting. Also think about what content you’d like to create exclusively for this audience. Reward them for caring about what you do.
People who subscribe to your email list are so into you that they’ve given you permission to their inboxes. Honor this privilege by letting them be the first to know about new products or sales. Give them access to special benefits as subscribers.
image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net