Email marketing is a vital tool for any business. But there are a number of questions as to how you begin. Active Internet Marketing has laid out this guide to give you a good grasp of what you need to start a successful email marketing campaign.
1. Gather some customer emails
The first important thing you need are the emails of your customers. Adding a sign up box to your website, or asking for it when they create an account with you is one way to build up a small database. Make sure to comply with GDPR rules (which still apply for now) by asking for permission to send them emails. It’s worth noting that having an already ticked box does not count as consent, your customers actively need to consent.
2. Choose a Emailing Platform
Different mailing platforms will provide different features and options. But the first question you need to ask yourself is if you want to spend money on it. For a free option, Mailchimp is a solid and reliable platform; you are allowed a certain amount of subscribers and then you will need to pay to add more. There are others out there, such as SendinBlue, Drip, and Constant Contact, however, if you are a small to medium-sized business Mailchimp will be a good start, then you can see whether mailing will work for your business and whether you would like to switch to a paid service.
3. Setting up a template
When you have your first portion of emails, it is worth setting up a newsletter template. This means you have a standard format to work with in the future. In Mailchimp, they have a section for templates (under ‘Brand’).
For your first one, just going for the basic layout would be best, and then you can see how others work for your business.
Mailchimp template setup is straightforward, a drag and drop system which gives you some basic content to edit (see image below). Other platforms may work differently, but there are plenty of guides that can be found.
On a template, we recommend linking up your social media, adding a logo, and doing basic design (i.e. what font or image placement you want, and where you want it). It is also important to include an unsubscribe link and, where possible, information on where you got their details from. Consider adding your contact details in the footer, and linking the logo to the home page. Adding these things to the template means you won’t have to do this for every email you send out.
Over time, you will create more templates for different content themes. Generic newsletters where you send out updates or blogs, commerce newsletters for focusing on sales, and others, depending on your business needs.
4. Importing Emails
Importing your contacts should be an easy process, some platforms can take the information straight from your CMS (Content Management System, examples include WordPress, GoDaddy, and Wix) and add them automatically to your email marketing lists. Other platforms may require you to export the lists from the CMS and import them into the system.
Once you have the basic template design you can start a campaign. However, having an idea for content is necessary. Certain types of content perform well in emailing marketing. If you are having a sale, or want to share an update, this is the perfect opportunity to shout it to the heavens, or at least send it to some inboxes!
Keep the captions and text short where possible and include a subject that will entice the reader to open the email. For example, a subject like ‘40% Sale Ending Soon’ will encourage the receiver to see what is on offer.
Decide on the brand tone, so if you have social media, keep consistent to the tone there. There are a lot of different tones you can take for your business but the important thing is to stay true to whatever you choose. If you are unsure what tone you should use, looking at competitors and seeing if they are informal or professional should give you a good indicator.
6. The Email Marketing Campaign
When you start a campaign in Mailchimp these are the options that come up (see below). Very self-explanatory, the subject is the line your customer will see, the ‘to’ is your audience, and the ‘from’ is who the email is from and who you want the recipients to respond to.
Top tip: Having an email that is monitored as your ‘from’ address will allow you to answer customer queries quickly and efficiently. Also, make sure it is an email your customer recognises, ensuring they won’t delete it or mark it as spam.
If you have Google Analytics you can connect them to some mailing platforms, and you will be able to see the website traffic that has been sent via your emails.
Even if you don’t have Google Analytics, most emailing platforms will show you open rates, delivery success, as well as what links your customers click on in the email you send. How you deem your campaign’s success depends on your goal. If you want to increase sales, then you want your customers to click on product links and buy them on your website. If it’s awareness, having a high percentage of people open your email and read the content would be the aim.
8. Sending your email
Before you make the big decision to send your email out, test it first. Send it to a sample audience, maybe yourself and a colleague. This will allow you to make sure it looks the part and allow for proofing.
After that…you’re ready to go!
It’s tempting after you’ve sent out the email to watch the open rates like a hawk, but a watched pot never boils. So, by all means, check now and then, but don’t obsess. The first few newsletters may get a minimal response, in which case you can adjust and try something new for the next ones. Keep at it. Building an audience takes time and no small amount of effort. But soon enough you could reach a point where audiences look forward to your emails (I certainly look forward to some of my subscribed newsletters – predominantly from booksellers!).
9. Too much?
We understand that this can be a lot to take in. It might be that you want to send out newsletters, but you are short on time or don’t enjoy the process. Active Internet Marketing have a team of experts on-hand to help. If you want some advice or just need someone to oversee that area for your business, give us a call on 01604 765 796, or fill out our contact form. Digital marketing is our passion and we would love the opportunity to help your company flourish.