For many SMBs, marketing budgets are limited so marketing directors need to be creative and really focus on low cost tactics that will offer the most value to their clients. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get your message out effectively, you may want to look at email marketing.
Email marketing can be a very effective way of nurturing your existing customers and reaching out to potential prospects to build awareness and create sales opportunities.
Single message emails are a great way to get out timely messages regarding a new product or service, a website launch or a company update. Newsletters, on the other hand, are great for capturing a number of updates which could include company updates, blogs, product launches, case studies, industry information, personnel updates, etc.
If you are looking to launch an effective email marketing program, here are 8 steps to get you started.
1) Do your research – There are several email programs out there that are inexpensive and functional. Most programs will give you limitless template options and metrics so do your research, sign up for a free trial period and see how comfortable you are with each program. I typically use Constant Contact and/or Mail Chimp for my email marketing campaigns. They are both inexpensive and intuitive programs that allow you to customize your templates.
2) Map out your goals – Think about what you are trying to accomplish with your email marketing campaign and develop a set of goals. Do we want people to visit our website? Are we launching a new product? Do we have new staff to introduce?
3) Build your list – Your email program will only be as effective as your list. Review your current companies’ lists of customers and prospects and decide if you need to purchase additional names. If so, you may want to look at Scott’s Directory. You may also want to send different messages to existing customers, prospects and distributors (if applicable) so it’s always a good idea to keep these contact lists separate. Also, make sure you have permission to contact everyone on your list and follow the anti-spam legislation.
4) Develop your template – there are limitless template options in email marketing programs which would probably satisfy your needs; however, don’t underestimate the importance of remaining true to your brand. You may want to consider reaching out to a graphic designer to help you build a “design” worthy template that really features your company as the industry leader.
5) Develop your content – make sure your subject line is compelling and that you are providing relevant information to your contact list whether they are a customer, prospect or distributor. Remember, the quality of the content is much more important than the quantity.
6) Include links – When developing your content, make sure you include several links. Short snippets of information are better with a link to a full article or blog rather than lengthy text. Also, make sure when you are including a link that the site you are taking the reader to is up-to-date. For example, if you are announcing a new product, you most likely want to take the reader to a specific landing page that talks directly about that product rather than a general link to the company’s homepage because it will be a lot less effective.
7) Send your email – there are peak times and days to send your email so I would recommend testing out a couple of days and times to see what works best for your industry.
8) Update and Report – you will want to review the metrics and take a look at open-rates, click-through rates, bounces and of course, spam reports (you definitely want to avoid any of these). Analyze what worked and what didn't and update your contact list regularly.
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to communicate with your existing customers and prospects but everyone’s time is extremely valuable so follow these 8 easy steps and you will be well on your way to creating effective email marketing campaigns.
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