Email marketing can be a powerful medium but only in the right hands. The ability to communicate with your audience on a regular basis on a platform that is probably still the most popular in business today, is very appealing. But how do you know if you’re getting it right? If you’re tackling email marketing for the first time, we’ve compiled a checklist that will help you with the planning for your upcoming email marketing project.
# 1. Data protection
Ensure you are complying with data protection legislation and put plans in place to make sure that you get the correct permissions from each recipient. Have a look at the data protection site to make sure you’re staying on the right side of the law.
# 2. Strategy
Take a step back and look at your overall strategy. Where possible, identify who you are targeting, when do you plan to run your campaign and how will you keep track of the success of the project. But the first thing you should set is your goals.
# 3. System
It’s certainly best to use a system that has been created for bulk emailing. The key things to look for when choosing a system like this are…
- Cost – how much is the upfront cost and are there on-going costs and fees?
- Ease of use – is it easy to set up a trial account? You’ll need to do this so you can see if you can use the interface and how easy is it to use.
- Reputation –do they have a good reputation? You should look for reviews online.
- Volume/frequency limits – does the system limit the amount you can send per mail and/or per month etc.
- Reporting capabilities – what reports does it provide? The minimum options would include… open rate, bounce rate and click rates.
- A/B split testing capabilities – can you test different versions of your newsletter template to gauge which will work the best?
- Design and template choices – what level of customisation is there?
- Support – do they provide support and is there a cost? How quick is it and can you test it out?
# 4. Template
Consider creating two templates. One that holds several articles and another that is ‘postcard style’ that allows you to send out one offer or news item at a time. Ensure your branding is evident on the newsletter and that there’s an ‘unsubscribe’ option on each. Don’t forget to include your social sharing buttons and links to your own social media accounts.
# 5. Gathering data
Your next step is to establish how you will capture customer and potential customer’s data and how you will categorise them. It is important that the right people get the right information. For example, if someone does not have children, you should not send information on hotel packages for family rooms and kids activities. Allow your customers to choose what they want to get from you. Consider the following options…
- Sign up on your website – keep in a prominent position so people can see it and easily action it if required. Depending on the type of business you are and your target market you could consider having a subscribe box pop up after entry (this will need to be tested carefully as you do not want to alienate your customers and have them leave your site in their droves because they do not like the pop up)
- Online enquiry form – include an opt-in on all your website enquiry forms.
- Facebook – integrate your sign-up into Facebook and let people know it’s there. Use Facebook competitions as an opportunity to gather email addresses and get the correct permissions to use them.
- Other social media platforms – let people know where they can sign up and why they should sign up.
- Incentive – why would people sign up, what’s in it for them? What is the carrot on the stick?
- Off site signup – if you attend events, establish if there are ways to get people to sign up. Can you run a competition, or even ‘pop a business card in a pot’ (people who do this MUST be made aware that you will be emailing them marketing material)’ promotions.
- Shop – can employees get involved, for example at the checkout?
# 6. Content
What content will you send and to whom? A good idea is to segment your categories and create individual news for each category – this will ensure it’s relevant and targeted.
# 7. Management
Major projects like this need one decision maker and one overall manager. Decide who that is and nip any potential confusion in the bud.
# 8. Measuring
And finally, before you run any campaign, you must decide how you plan to measure it. Research measurement tools and ensure your goals and targets can be measured in a realistic manner.
Like any other marketing project, it’s less about inspiration and often more about preparation. Before you tackle your next email marketing campaign, check your project against our checklist and see what you have covered or what we have not.
Best of luck with your campaign!
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