It's likely that your business already does some sort or email marketing. But maybe you are just sending emails through your in-house email system, and you'd like to send more attention-getting messages with better formatting and graphics. Or perhaps you use an online email service, but you'd like to make your mailings more regular or take them to the next level.
Here are the basic steps to take when getting started with email marketing, courtesy of this article from the U.S. Small Business Association:
- Start with a Plan - Start with a basic outline of your goals and objectives for email marketing, along with your budget. Assess what it is you want to communicate and how frequently.
- Research Email Marketing Software - There are many Web-based email marketing software tools. Most structure their fees based on the amount of subscribers you have and the number of emails you plan on sending each month. Some even offer free services for lists under a certain size limit, but cap the amount of emails you can send in a given month. The Email Marketing Options Web site offers a quick comparison of the top providers.
- Build your Email Marketing List - You may create your list by adding a 'sign up for updates' button on your website, adding a subscription link to your email signatures, capturing email addresses at the counter in your store, and so on. Try the 60-Second Guide to Developing a Permission Marketing Strategy from SCORE for steps to leverage email marketing as the basis of a sound permission-based relationship with your prospects and customers.
- Understand Online Marketing Laws -Several laws apply to email marketing. Email marketing software can help you comply, but if you are new to email marketing, take the time to familiarize yourself with these laws. More information from the SBA is available here and here.
- Write your Content - Try to write your content in small, easy-to-read chunks - such as tips, special offers, company or industry news, links to your Website and blog, and so on.
- Track and Monitor - Email marketing software can provide invaluable data about open rates, unsubscribes, bounces, and other activity. The trick is to use this data to your advantage by tweaking your message or mailing schedule to see what types of content, subject lines, or times of day generate the best response rates. You may also add a quick survey or poll to your messages, again something that most email marketing software can help you with.
The major email marketing software companies also have useful articles, tutorials, and videos on their websites, including: