Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Phases of a Successful Email Marketing Campaign Part 1 - Sign Me Up!

Setting up and executing a business email campaign isn’t as easy as typing a paragraph and hitting “send.” 

If you only go through the motions, you’ll get what you put in. Mapping out your campaign is a must if you want more than an email that goes right to the circular file. This starts with establishing and populating your mailing list.

Your Website is Your Friend
Dedicate space on your website or blog to your email campaign sign-up form. Make sure this spot has visibility. If you tuck it away in your site’s “no man’s land,” don’t be surprised if no one fills it out. You want eyes drawn to the form, not an eyesore.

Determine the level of web presence you want to commit. You can feature the sign-up on the homepage, or on all pages. If you go with the latter, don’t forget continuity; place the form in the same spot on every page.

You control your site, so you control the format of the message. Consider what your company offers that can incentivise email list sign-up. It could be a coupon, white paper or any other valuable.

Don't Just HOPE for the Best
You can’t simply lay out a clipboard at your place of business and cross your fingers for a full list at closing time. You need to engage the customer to sign up. Enlist everyone in your company to encourage customers to consider the sign-up list.

Instruct your customer service representatives to plug your email initiative when interacting with customers. In one sentence, ask the customer if they want to opt in; “While I have you, could I interest you in signing up for our email list?”  A drawn out pitch might prompt the customer to make a decision based on annoyance.

Always Stay in Networking Mode
Running a small business, you’re always meeting people. You make a lot of sales calls. Maybe you attend trade shows, workshops and seminars. This is fertile marketing ground.

After exchanging business cards in any of these venues, ask if you can add the card’s address to your email list. If your business comes up in casual conversation off the clock, don’t miss the chance to add another name to your list. Grocery store checkout small talk could lead to a new name on your client board.

Email Campaign Gaffes
You open your front door and find a pile of junk mail. You’re in the middle of dinner and the phone rings with an “exciting time share opportunity.” Or more to the point, you login to your email to the tune of countless spam items.

 Do you read or listen beyond the foil-laced envelope or telemarketer greeting? Nope.
How do you feel? Annoyed.

Don’t stoop to filling your email list without account owner permission. Stay away from Chamber of Commerce or purchased email lists.  Site “scraping” doesn’t work either. Sure, the email address is on the web, right out in the open, but it’s there for business contact, not unsolicited mailings.

In Summation
Email marketing campaigns have a lot of moving parts, all of which need to be well-tuned to succeed. Apply these tips to the construction of your own list and keep an eye out for future Terrapin blogs to improve your email marketing.