Did you know that in a world seemingly dominated by text messaging, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, 77% of consumers prefer to receive permission-based emails rather than any other form of marketing communication?

That means businesses that take the time to craft well thought-out email marketing campaigns have a greater than 3 in 4 chance of appealing to their target audience.  Who doesn’t like those odds?

The good news is email marketing isn’t just for the business giants like Amazon, Ebay, Google, Netflix, etc. It can and does work for the little guys too!

Setting up an email campaign can have its challenges, but once you get the hang of it it only gets easier. Here are 5 Steps to Setup an Email Campaign for your business:

  1. Choose a Service. A simple Google search will reveal many different email marketing service options like MailChimpConstant ContactAWeber among others. Decide what works best for your current and projected needs based on the offering’s capabilities related to contact management, ease of email creation and sending and reporting features. Specifics like how many contacts you currently have and how many you plan to import in the short and long term can help you make the decision.
  2. Import Contacts. In case it needs to be said, this step should begin as early as possible in your business’s life cycle because it takes time to collect a large number of contacts in the form of email addresses. However, whether you have ten or ten thousand records, import the contacts into the email marketing service you’ve chosen to create your database.
  3. Create and Name your Campaign. This is one of the most important steps in the process. The name you give your campaign will be the subject line appearing in the recipient’s inbox. You want this line to be professional, inviting, and have a clear purpose. If you’re having an open house, a huge clearance sale, a grand opening, etc…this should be mentioned in the subject line.  It also helps if the subject line creates a sense of urgency.
  4. Choose or Create a Template. Most email marketing services offer a variety of templates you can use. It’s important to remember your email campaign is an extension of your business and therefore must reflect it. Colors, themes, graphics and even underlying messages must not only be in sync with your company values and messaging, they must reflect it on the screen as well.
  5. Creating Content. Your email’s content includes both the words and the images. It’s what the recipient glances at and uses to determine if your email goes in the trash, spam or (hopefully) is saved or flagged for later use. So what should you consider as your developing the content for your email?
    1. Think about your customer. What do you offer they might need, like, want or be interested in?
    2. Think of yourself as a resource and cultivate your email in a way that makes it indispensable to the recipient.
    3. Add imagery! No one likes looking at a busy page filled with nothing but text. In fact, the right image can actually make someone want to read the text nearby to learn more.
    4. Avoid wordiness. Who has time to read a page of random thoughts and phrases? Get to the point as quickly, succinctly and effectively as possible or you might lose your customer .
    5. Include your contact information. This should be your name, physical address if you have one, a phone number, email address and most importantly your website and blog addresses. Customers who have signed up for your email newsletter will most likely enjoy seeing other content you produce, so make it easy for them to find while you still have their attention.

Still having trouble deciding what to put in your email marketing campaign? Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • A note or letter from a top company representative, like the Founder or CEO.
  • Useful and/or informative articles.
  • Sidebar quick tips. Everyone likes a quick answer to a quick question.
  • Special offers. Coupons, discount codes, etc.
  • Company news. If your business has won awards, been nominated by a publication or organization or been recognized by the community, that’s a wonderful thing to share with your customers and help increase your company’s clout.
  • Other fun, useful tidbits. Things like a day in the life of, or a snippet on how or why you do something in your business that you think your customers would like to know, or may just find interesting or amusing.

Yes, that’s a lot to consider for one lousy email. When you’re sending an email to your customers, as opposed to your best friend who’s sailing in the Caribbean, it requires some thought. Okay…a lot of thought.  Quality email campaign creation is not easy and chances are it will take some time.   You might consider outsourcing the task to help make your first campaign or two look and sound professional until you feel you have the hang of it.

If you choose to do it yourself, there’s only one more thing left to do before hitting the “send” button – SPELLCHECK!

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