Hooray, you’ve been collecting customer email addresses! That’s fantastic! Now what? Before loading all your customer emails into a mailing list and firing away, consider what you have at stake – brand reputation, penalties for not adhering to best practices, and, in general, a high risk of doing damage to your Email Marketing program before you even really get started. First Things First – Develop An Email Marketing Strategy TIP: Develop your Email Marketing Strategy BEFORE selecting an email service provider. It may help to think of this initial Email Marketing Strategy as a wish list that you can reference when researching email service provider options. Believe me, this will save the pains of moving your email file later! Begin with a 5 year time frame (or 3 if 5 is too daunting) – Set your Email Marketing goals (for at least the first year) and brainstorm as many types of emails as you think you may want to send, plus some. Also, keep in mind how you will measure the performance of your email campaigns and how you will utilize reporting to build a more robust Email Marketing program. Set Email Marketing Goals: Setting goals is an essential first step in your strategy as every subsequent element of your plan will hinge on whether or not it is helping meet them. Depending on where Email Marketing falls in the grand scheme of your organization’s marketing plan, your goals may range anywhere from simply opening up the Email channel as a means of communication with your customers to growing your subscriber list to increasing revenues – or all of these and more. Brainstorm Specifics about Email Campaigns: Make as many notes as possible about the types of messages you want to send. Some questions that may be helpful:
- What types of messages do I want to send? – personalized, informative, marketing, press releases, etc. Consider your audience as well as whether you will send plain text or html or graphic-heavy messages.
- With what frequency will I send emails? – Keep in mind you may later choose to add options to allow recipients to specify how often they want to hear from you.
- How will I segment my list? – Advanced email segmentation takes time, so initially, it can help to reference what segmentation you are already using for “offline” customers.
- Do I want emails with dynamic content? – Emails based on past purchases, interests, etc. can be very powerful and receive great response. My advice? This is definitely something worth looking into, even if it is not something you want to do immediately.
- Do I want to send triggered email messages? – Automatically generated emails from your website or backend system triggered by customer actions.