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7 steps to create your first email campaign

Email Marketing can be simple, affordable and effective. Here are 7 steps to help you ensure the success of your first email marketing campaign.

  1. Data – Provide your list of email addresses in a spreadsheet.  You can’t do much email marketing unless you have email addresses of people who want to hear from you.  If you don’t already have a list of customers/prospects/members/etc, there are many ways that you can build one.  Refer to ‘Ways to build a spam compliant email list’.Provide your list of email addresses in a spreadsheet.  As well as email address, it’s worth including contact name, with first name and surname in separate fields to allow you to personalise your email (Dear <Firstname>), company name (if relevant), phone, address (particularly State) and any other details that will help you segment your list further down the track.To be spam compliant the people in your list must have opted in to receiving email communications from you, or you must have an ongoing business relationship with them.

    Building your own email list, versus buying a list, is best.  You can never be sure if the list you are buying is spam compliant.  However, it is possible to use bought email lists for business-to-business communications, where you can prove that your message relates directly to that person’s line of work.  Read more about this on the ACMA website.

  2. Determine your goal – leads, sales, relationship, survey, viral?  Don’t skimp on this step. It will direct your entire email campaign – audience, content, and success metrics.  Are you talking to existing customers?  Reawaken cold leads? Generate new leads?Your goal will determine the type of communication you are sending – is it a newsletter, product announcement, customer survey, special marketing offer, viral campaign or content marketing to generate new leads?You don’t want every email that you send to be promotional. You want a blend of editorial and promotional communication that will help you build relationships.
  3. Develop Content – punchy, action-oriented content mixed with good imagesThe content of your email is critical.  Create punchy, action-oriented or time restricted content.  Personalise your emails to your recipients by addressing them by name.Create content that can be scanned easily, most recipients will not read every single word of your email.  Use catchy headings with short paragraphs and link to your website for longer articles or have customers call to learn more. Speak your target audience lingo.Don’t be misleading. Your email’s from and subject line must be accurate. Use words like, “you” and “your” in the subject line to increase your open rates.  Don’t use spam-linked words such as “free” or lots of exclamation marks in the subject line.  Spam filters are gauged to pick-up these types of words.

    You must provide an unsubscribe option.  For best practice, provide fast suppressions of opt-outs and include your physical address.

    Be specific about the action you want your audience to take – call you, complete a survey, click to activate etc.  The “call to action” needs to be obvious and easy.

    If you are including an offer you can do split AB testing with different offers or subject headlines.

    Use great images.  Images are best provided in jpg format as high-resolution files.  Your copy can be provided as a Word document or any other text format.

  4. Design TemplateWe develop your email template to align with your brand style in look and feel, fonts and colours.  Starting with a base email template means that you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to send an email – and your audience will easily recognise future communication from you.Once you are happy with your email template, we populate it with your content – copy, offers and images.The first block of your email is treated as vital real estate – it’s what your audience see first when your email drops into their inbox.  Providing HTML and text versions of your email – not all recipients will use one or the other.  Always include an option to forward your email to allow it to be viral.

    Most importantly, we ensure your call to action is clear – so that your recipients have no doubt about what they should do next.

  5. Approvals and testing (and don’t forget to prepare your team)You will receive a test email to review.  It’s important to see what the email looks like in the inbox and what it looks like when it’s opened.Make sure that your email is not flagged as spam by your email program.  Check both the HTML and plain text versions.  Ask some of your staff to receive and proof the campaign as well.Check all links, including the unsubscribe link, spelling, layout.  Provide feedback until you are happy with the final and then approve the final ready to send.

    Make sure your team is ready.  Tell your staff when your email campaign will be sent.  Make sure they have received a copy of the email and are ready to take questions, calls, respond to emails.

  6. SendIt’s time for your email to be sent!Be there when it’s sent.  For your very first email campaign, it’s a good idea to be in the office when your email campaign is sent. Be ready for emails and phone calls.What is a good time to send?  They say mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and mid-week – avoid Monday morning and Friday afternoon.  But these are not hard and fast rules, it depends on your email purpose and content – if it’s a weekend escape offer Friday afternoon might be a great time to send.

    As soon as your campaign is sent, we email you a link that allows you to monitor the progress of your campaign in real time.  It’s very exciting to watch live action open rates.

  7. Measure, review, improveThere’s nothing more exciting than watching your emails being opened within seconds of it being sent.Have metrics in place to measure the success of your campaign.Look at your open rates, click through rates and what people clicked to.  Also look at bounce rates to check the health of your database.  Download a bounce rate report so that you can update your database.

    Measure impact on website traffic, downloads, inquiries, the phone ringing.  Measure how new leads convert.  Measure impact on sales.

    Marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it job.  Make sure you know what’s working and what’s not so you can continue to modify and improve.

    Learn from this campaign and plan for your next.

So what are you waiting for – I encourage you to contact us to get your first campaign up and running today.