When you’re starting a new business, it’s really important that you establish Best Practices for a variety of activities and processes, but nothing is more important than establishing Best Practices for your email marketing campaign.
While some of this may seem very simplistic to you, it’s vitally important to remember that you are laying a foundation for the future, especially when it comes to generating interest for your product(s) and/or service(s). This is in no way, shape, or form meant to be all-inclusive, especially since every business is unique and has its own set of challenges, but these tips and pointers should get you started.
Tip #1: Identify Your Customers
This is first for one simple reason: if you don’t know your audience, you’re going to be missing the mark and your results will fall short of expectations.
It’s best to create personas of your ideal customers based on some of the following questions:
1.) How old is your ideal customer?
2.) Are they male or female?
3.) What do they do for a living?
4.) What is their annual income?
5.) What types of things do they like to do for fun?
6.) Why would your ideal customer benefit from owning your product or utilizing your service?
7.) Why would life be worse for them if they didn’t own your product or utilizes your service?
8.) What problem or challenge are they trying to solve by owning your product or service?
9.) What are their fears?
If you can’t identify your customers, your messages aren’t going to have that laser beam focus you’re looking for. You have to speak their language – if you speak in generalities, your chances of truly connecting with them are slim to none.
Tip #2: Establish a Method of Collecting Customer Information
You will want to create a repository for your potential customer’s information, which also allows you to create email campaigns targeting specific customer segments.
Tip #3: Create a Lead Magnet
What is something that you can offer for free to your email subscribers that will provide worth and value to them right now? Can you offer a free e-book? Can you offer them a free video or webinar? Basically, you’re trading your lead magnet for their email contact information in order for you to sell them something down the road.
Tip #4: Create a Landing Page Offering Your Lead Magnet
So you’ve created this amazing report or free guide, or video, or .mp3 to offer your new customers, but how are you going to deliver it? It’s simple. You can create a landing page from any number of online services. From there, you can link your email marketing platform and once they sign up, they will receive a link to the free download.
Tip #5: Create Your Email Marketing Campaign
Work with your marketing department to come up with your email marketing campaign, including not only the content that you want to send to your prospective customers but also creating a schedule.
Just as in creating any type of relationship, it’s highly preferred that you start off with just getting to know your customers and keep it casual at first, at least for the first three emails, and then make your request.
Tip #6: Include Opt Out Unsubscribe Messages for your emails
The last thing you want to do is to annoy potential customers by not giving them an option of opting out and unsubscribing from any further emails. Read up on the CAN-SPAM Act for more information.
Also remind them either at the beginning of the email or at the end of the email why they are receiving the email. Maybe you met them at a trade show, or they responded to a special offer, but be clear why they’re receiving the email.
Tip #7: Create Compelling Subject Lines
The average customer receives so many emails during the course of the day that they are looking for an easy reason to delete an email, so it’s important to catch their attention. Consider your subject lines to be like the headlines in a newspaper.
Tip #8: Take Your Customer Through a Journey
Everyone likes a good story, so in as few words as possible (white space is king when it comes to email marketing) take your customer on a journey. Tell a great, economical story.
Whatever you do, if you are offering something or promising them something, deliver on that promise. If you’re going to follow up with them, then make sure you follow up.
Remember, you are creating a relationship with your customer, one that will hopefully last a good, long time.
Tip #9: Evaluate What’s Working and What’s Not Working
Marketing websites provide reports with valuable data, including the click percentages, as well as those who have requested to be unsubscribed from further emails.
If your click rate is low, you might want to look at when you’re sending your email. Run some experiments to increase the likelihood of someone opening your email.
Also be ready to do some split testing. Test out the same content with different subject lines. Also, test the content – maybe there are some words that aren’t resonating with your customers as much as you anticipated.
Tip #10: Create a Sense of Urgency and Create a Call to Action
A common approach used by most email marketing firms is two-fold:
1.) Create a sense of urgency: create a deadline by which your customer has to respond, or they’ll be left behind… and nobody likes to be left out or left behind!
2.) Create a Call to Action. If you want someone to do something, be very clear and specific about what you want them to do, such as “Click here.” Don’t be afraid to make requests, but also temper them according to how long they have been part of this blossoming email relationship.
Tip #11: Be Patient
Building a customer takes time, and it will take time for you to hit your stride with the right type of messaging that resonates with your customers. Don’t give up. Keep going!
Tip #12: Don’t Run Afoul of Your Internet Service Provider
Make sure that you research and make sure of restrictions on the number of emails you can send out in bulk. The last thing you want to do is to be accused of spamming anyone.
Tip #13: Learn About the Latest Email Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
Take ownership of your email marketing campaign success by learning from the greats in the marketing business, such as Seth Godin and Robert Bly. Another great resource is copyblogger.com, which is an amazing resource for all types of online marketing techniques.
If you put these things into practice, with time, you’ll be well on your way to email marketing success.
Happy Email Marketing!