1. Determine your goals -Before you can do anything with email marketing it’s important to distinguish why you’re doing it. Are you trying to increase sales? Build awareness? Nurture leads? Perhaps all three of these? . Figuring out the why before hand will help you tailor a custom strategy that will work towards your specific needs. For example, building a campaign with the objective of increasing sales will most likely involve a lifecycle campaign whereas building awareness and nurturing leads would lend it self more to weekly newsletters or updates about your business.
2. Realize that email marketing is MORE than just newsletters. Perhaps you determined that your goal is simply to keep in touch with already existing customers. That’s fine and well, but even so, email newsletters are just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a great start, so start there and move forward.
3. Start simple. Use an email template and a known newsletter provider. There are a multitude of email service providers and CRMs to choose from when you’re getting started with email marketing and most are very intuitive and simple to use. An added bonus of most of the top email newsletter tools is that have ready to use templates that you can simply plug your information into to get started. As you become more experienced with email marketing, you may get to the point where you’d like to start designing your own customized templates from scratch. This is all well and good but it’s important to realize that building in email HTML is much different from standard HTML because some email clients have limited CSS features. Besides these limiting factors, designing a template from scratch is time consuming so to begin with, just choose one of the many email templates available and customize the heck out of it.
4. Determine the content your audience wants to hear about. Spend about 20 min – 1 hour spitting out all the ideas you can on what your audience wants to hear about. If you have trouble coming up with a decent number of ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they’d like to hear about via social media channels. Feedback is going to be key going forward as you pinpoint your email objective. Refine your list, put it on a content calendar, and get ready to send emails about it.
5. Choose a frequency. How often do you plan on contacting your subscribers? Daily, weekly, monthly, or only based on activity? While it’s always good to maintain contact, it can also be detrimental to your business if you contact your audience too often, often times becoming annoying and a bit of an nuisance. So, choose a lower frequency at first, maybe weekly, and then test using the data collected on open rates by your chosen email service provider, and optimize over time .
5. Collect email addresses using a tool from the following list. This could be a form on your site, a link to a landing page, pop-up plugin, survey tool, Facebook etc. Here’s a list of tools that will help you collect email addresses:
6. Send and Optimize. This is where the real work begins. Where you’ll discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Thing of this stage as the AB testing phase. Try out different subject lines with the same content to see which gets more opens and responses. Try out different email timings throughout the day. Try sending emails with images or no images, etc. This is the step where your subscribers will tell you want they want in their inbox every week, month, etc. There are numerous other articles out there that will help you optimize your emails.
7. Continue to build your list – Not everyone is going to want to give you their email address right off the bat and that’s fine. List building is a huge part of the job in email marketing. There are tons of different ways to build a list and as you gain more experience you’ll figure out which methods work best for you. You’re going to be in the website traffic and email marketing list building stage for a while, so use that time to focus on what is and isn’t working. Blog posting and networking through social channels etc. will build the traffic that will build the list. You don’t need a large list to be super effective at email marketing so don’t get discouraged if you struggle to build a list at first.
8. Go out and do it. Now that we’ve covered the basics of email marketing the best way to get better is to go out there and do it and learn through immersion. Good luck!