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Getting Started With Email Marketing

by James Shaw and Amelia Penner Newsletters are an extremely common form of communication between companies and their customers.  Email marketing is a great way to advertise special offers, grow your audience, and communicate with your customers.

Key Benefits of Email Marketing

  • Maintains top of mind awareness through regular contact
  • Drives traffic to your website
  • Gives your reader something valuable (promotions, information, communication)
  • Continues the relationship that began when they visited your website, store, or social media
  • Integrates with social media (promotes your YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts)
  • Highly interactive (You can't click play video on a postcard!)
  • It's trackable and measurable

Why Not Direct Mail?

Are you still using direct mail as a form of advertisement?  Direct mail is only as measurable as you want it to be.  For a truly trackable direct mail campaign you need to ensure that every customer brings in their mailout to redeem for the promotion.  This way you can count how many came in.  Plus, on top of that you have the cost of sending out the actual campaign.  Direct Mail has it's place, and can be effective to drive a brand new group of people to a website or to a store.  (After all, you are only supposed to email to list of people that have given you permission first!) Email marketing requires only your time to type the newsletter and then simply click 'Send!'.  Then you can monitor how many people opened the email, clicked on links in your newsletter (and which ones!), and if your newsletter was forwarded on to anyone.  Now isn't that handy?  Email Marketing software either comes with a monthly subscription fee based on list size or pay-per-use payment plan - either way, it's WAY cheaper than direct mail.  

Couldn't I Just Use Outlook?

The problem with using an email program like Outlook or Hotmail is that you have a limited amount of email addresses that you can send to.  This can also be time-consuming of ensuring that you have all of your customer's email addresses in Outlook to send to.  You also cannot automatically personalize your emails to the person.  Finally, the biggest problem is that you cannot track how effective your newsletter was. And just in case you're still not convinced:

  • Email's ROI index is 55 percent higher than any other direct-response marketing vehicle. - Direct Marketing Association (2008)
  • For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2008, marketers can expect an estimated $43.52 ROI. - Direct Marketing Association (2008)

It all starts with your Customer List

Well, you can't send out a newsletter without a list of email addresses.  Constant Contact allows you to import CSV's of your customer's email addresses.  You can also divide up your customer's email addresses into separate lists.  For example, if you have multiple locations you can divide up your emails based on what location is nearest them.  This way you can better target your promotions to your customers.  For more information on how to build your email list click here: Remember to only use email addresses that you obtained through your company.  Also, do not spam your customers or email out unsolicited emails.

Newsletter Basics

Help your audience solve a unique issue, find good information, and provide something of real value.  Don't SELL with an overtly spammy message!  Each time you send your customers a newsletter you need to be sure that it's worth them opening the newsletter.  You want to make sure that your email list will not unsubscribe from receiving your newsletters as that defeats the purpose. Some basic tips to follow are: use the right tone, you don't have to always offer a sale, make them want to connect with you, and encourage them to share. Always remember to proofread and test the newsletter before you send it out to your client list!

The Subject Line

This is one of the most important parts of your email newsletter.  When it comes to the subject line of the email - keep it short and simple!  You have 3 seconds or less for your customer to decide if they want to open your newsletter.  Using 30 - 40 characters including spaces (5 - 8 words) is usually a good guideline to follow. Don't use words like: free, guarantee, spam, credit card, etc.  Also, do not write in all capital letters and use excessive punctuation like "!!!" or "???".  Finally, make sure that it connects with the content inside your newsletter.

Leading Email Marketing Software: Constant Contact

Constant Contact is really easy to use and manage on your own.  There are a variety of templates to choose from to make your newsletters more effective.  Since all of your contacts are imported into Constant Contact you can choose which email list to send out a newsletter to and each email will be personally addressed to that person.  Finally, you can view all the statistics and track for each newsletter that you send out! Want more ideas to expand your audience and increase engagement?  Contact us today to set up an integrated marketing campaign that is the perfect fit for your business!