Technology is intimidating for many small business owners.
But you don't need an IT degree to conquer the art of email marketing – just our step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.
Step 1: Create a Clean Mailing List for the Email Marketing Campaign
Your email marketing campaign will be driven by your mailing list. Although you can rent opt-in mailing lists from a third-party provider, your best bet is to create your own list. How do you do that? By collecting email addresses from everyone, everywhere, every chance you get.
Do you have a store? Offer to email a discount coupon to people who are willing to give you their contact information. Do you have a website? Make it easy and appealing for people to sign up for an email newsletter. You get the idea. Just make sure your email list is permission-based. In other words, people should be able to voluntarily opt-in and opt-out (i.e. "unsubscribe") from your mailing list.
Step 2: Develop a Strategy for the Email Marketing Program
After you have created a mailing list, your next step is to develop an email marketing strategy. A successful email marketing strategy begins by deciding what kinds of emails you will send to your customers. Discounts, coupons, sale dates, informational newsletters, promotional deals, appointment reminders – everything is fair game, as long as it makes sense for your business and contains a response mechanism that connects the person to either your company or your products.
You will also need to decide how often you will send emails to the people on your mailing list. If your emails are too sparse you can lose touch with your customers, but if they are too frequent you can annoy them right out the door.
Step 3: Connect with An Email Marketing Service
Now you know who will receive your emails and you have a rough idea what your email marketing campaign will look like. At this point, most small business owners bring in a professional email marketing company to drive the campaign home.
It's possible to create, deliver and evaluate your campaign yourself, but most entrepreneurs lack both the technological knowledge and desire to do so. For a relatively small fee, an email marketing services provider will handle list management, website signup, bounce-back handling, subscribe/unsubscribe requests and response evaluations for you.