One of the best ways to increase exposure to your business is with email marketing. But first, you’ll need to create an email marketing plan. This plan is your road map for execution. It doesn’t have to be a difficult process; a lot of it involves common business sense, and a primary focus on your customers.
Perhaps you’re wondering why more effort isn’t being put into social media instead. Social media does play an important role in your company’s marketing strategy, but you shouldn’t ignore email marketing. Think about the consumer population in general: there are more people with email accounts than social media accounts, even if you combine the number of accounts from all of the major social media networks together.
Email marketing is the driving force, with social media as a complementing the strategy. Used together, they can have a significant, positive impact by converting visitors to customers.
Here’s a guideline on how to put together an effective email marketing plan for your business.
1. Know Your Readers
In order to effectively design the content of your emails, you need to know your audience. Who are the people who will be reading these emails?
Think about the people who are already on your email list and how they came to be subscribers. For example, if a person subscribed because they read one of your blog posts, you at least know that they have some interest in your business or product. They may be interested in more of the same type of information. And viola’ … one angle in composing your emails.
What if a person subscribed during the checkout process of his last purchase? These subscribers are already your customers, and your emails should recognize them as such. For them, your emails should more specific, sending a coupon or announcing a new product or service.
If a person subscribed because she stumbled upon or was referred to your website, then they may not know much about your company or is still on the fence about purchasing from you. Your email content, therefore, should be focused on education and converting them to a purchaser.
When you have a strong sense of who your audience is, you’ll have an easier time coming up with the right email content. It’s very likely you’ll have different groups of subscribers with different needs, so your email marketing campaign will need to be tailored to the specific subscriber groups.
2. Decide on Content
Once you have identified and divided your customers into logical groups, you can start putting thought into the actual content of your emails. Look at each subscriber group and think about what information these subscribers would like to see. For example, would your group of existing customers like to see more promotions on products? For the subscribers who have not yet purchased from you, would they benefit from more educational information on your services or products?
Create an outline of what your content can possibly include. Examples would be upcoming promotions and discounts, any news coverage on your business or your line of business, summaries, and images from your company’s past events, posts from social media, etc. Think about the kind of content that your readers will find relevant and interesting.
When subscribers read your emails, they should feel you have customized your content just for them. Make them feel important. Try to address your emails to each reader using their first name. Pay close attention to the subject line of your emails. Avoid making it sound like a sales pitch.
In a few words, give them a reason to open your email, and make sure that your email follows through on your subject line within the first few sentences. For example, if your subject line announces a 25% discount that will expire in two days, make sure the body of the email tells your readers right away what the discount is good for, and give them a coupon code.
People get bombarded by emails every day. As they scan through their emails they only spend an average of two or three seconds on each subject line. Make your email short and to the point. Use words that will attract your audience.
3. Have Goals for What Your Campaign Will Accomplish
Have a specific goal for each email marketing campaign. For each email blast, what do you hope to accomplish? Are you hoping your existing subscribers will share your email so that your subscriber base will grow, or are you more interested in converting existing subscribers to customers?
Typically, in a campaign, you may want to send an email weekly or monthly, but only if you have relevant or valuable information to share. Email blasts that occur too frequently risk being seen as spam, and you’ll lose potential customers. On the other hand, do not space the emails too far apart. For example, if you only send out an email every three months or so, the subscriber may forget that they had opted in and report you as spam.
As your readers respond, keep track of the response rate. See how many new clicks you get or how many people use your coupon code. You can use the response rate to tweak your campaign to improve results.
4. Set A Timeline
When your email marketing plan is written out, decide on a timeline for completion. Will you be involving writers, graphic designers, and people on your web team to make this campaign happen?
Make an estimate of the time needed to complete each part of the campaign. It will determine your campaign’s execution date. Be sure the people involved know this timeline and understand what each person is accountable for.
5. Send the Darn Thing
Don’t get stuck by trying to get the email perfect. Have a team member, co-worker or friend edit the email for you by sending them a test email. Once you get the corrections, make the adjustments and hit send.
6. Start Planning Your Next Email Campaign
Make a sending schedule and stick with it. I like the second Wednesday at 11am for a send time. It’s my lucky time.
Any marketing campaign requires planning and teamwork. Now you have a good head start in creating a great email marketing plan. Have questions? Please ask in the comment section below.