Email marketing as part of a business strategy is to use a cliche phrase, the wave of the future. The days of mail-order catalogs and even brick-and-mortar shopping are quickly giving way to online interactions and there’s no faster, more efficient, or more effective way to reach these internet-savvy customers than via email. Regardless of the type of product, service, or business, you’re hoping to promote, getting a handle on this new type of marketing and incorporating it into your overall strategy is key to success in upcoming years.
Working email campaigns into your marketing plans should, in most cases, be simple. In today’s technology-driven environment, it’s rare for a company not to have a web presence. If you’ve got a website, you’ve already got a great head start on your email-based marketing campaign. Be warned that companies with no online presence who attempt email marketing tend to fall by the wayside, as customers won’t be able to pull up information about you and your company online, and verify that the messages they’re receiving are legitimate. (If you don’t have a site, take this as your hint to get one started sooner rather than later!). Try Hostgator to start.
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Once you have an online presence, you’re in prime position to begin your email marketing work. Obviously, the assistance of a qualified marketing specialist or advertising executive will be invaluable to you here. But if you’re low-budget, or if you’re just getting started and want to get your feet under you before you consult the experts, the steps below should get you headed in the right direction.
Step 1: Define your audience.
Who will be the target audience – and, thus, the recipients – of your email marketing campaign? In order to execute email marketing in the most effective way, your company needs to have some type of mailing list. Maybe yours is made up of past customers, or people who have expressed a desire to know more about what your company has to offer. However you go about collecting these names (and email addresses, of course), you should start as soon as possible.
Make sure to make it clear that the addresses will be used for special promotions and insider information – and also state clearly that you won’t sell the addresses or share them with any other companies. Then, of course, make good on your promises (it’s pretty much the law).
Step 2: Define your goals and purpose.
Why exactly are you integrating an email marketing campaign into your business plan? Do you hope to encourage repeat customers, provide insider information on new products, alert customers to deals and discounts, or simply to keep people informed about what you’re doing? Your marketing campaign should have a clear, defined set of goals and purposes, realistic yet ambitious – and these goals should be as specific as possible.
If you want to use your email campaigning to increase sales, have a percentage in mind as a goal, and track your progress. If you want to use email marketing to drive traffic to your website, make sure to analyze the click-through rate and see exactly what effect your emails are having.
Step 3: Implement the plan and keep adapting.
Once your email marketing plan is in place, the best thing you can do is to put it into practice as soon as possible, because the truth is that the work has just started. The real adjustments and strategy will take place after your campaign has begun when you receive real-life feedback from your target audience and see the actual effects of your efforts taking place. With that in mind, remember that a truly effective email marketing strategy will be one that is open to change and adapts quickly and efficiently to new methods.
The recipients of your marketing emails may flock to your site to buy your product or they may send you irritated emails asking to be removed from the list. Whatever the reaction you receive, take heart: this is valuable information. The feedback of your real-life audience will help you quickly gain a sense of the effectiveness of your campaign and let you know what you need to do to make it even better.