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How to run a successful email marketing campaign

Email is a quick and convenient way to communicate important messages, updates, and promotions with the recipients who have agreed to be on your mailing list. Unfortunately spammers have abused email marketing and made it difficult for recipients to trust an email enough to open it and read it.

Email marketing providers have done a good job of catching and blocking spam, forcing marketers to be much more creative in their approach. Here’s our guide to overcoming the negative opinion of email marketing that spammers have created, and successfully reaching out to your customers in their inboxes...


Step 1 – choose an email marketing provider

There are a variety of email marketing providers out there to choose from, depending on how simple or complex you want your emails to get. MailChimp is a popular one that lets you gain insights into your subscribers, personalise mail, and grow your mailing list easily. Communicator is another good one to use as it incorporates email marketing with social media, SMS text messaging, and integration with many CRM, ecommerce, and analytical systems. There are hundreds of other email marketing clients out there so do your research and find the right one for you.



Step 2 – tidy up your database

If your website has been around for a while already then you’ve probably got an existing database of contacts that you’ve acquired from your sales efforts, as well as previous and existing clients. Spend some time cleaning up this database and getting rid of any expired information. There are several pieces of cost-effective software available, such as data.com, which can help you to update your contacts and verify email addresses.


Step 3 – encourage people to opt in

If your database consists mainly of people who have not opted into receiving emails from you then you may have some trouble getting an email provider to accept your list. People who have opted into receiving emails from you are more likely to open them and read them. Try the following to encourage people to opt in:

  • Place a newsletter sign-up form on each relevant page of your website
  • Add an opt in field to your enquiry forms
  • Add a sign-up link to the signature on your one-off emails
  • Add an op-in link to any surveys or order confirmations you send out


Step 4 – organise your contacts

Your database of email contacts will contain a disparate selection of recipients who all have different wants and needs. It’s really important to segment your list of contacts by factors such as location, industry, and lead source, to ensure that you’re sending the right emails to the right people. Nothing lowers your click-through and response rates more than a misinformed email that could have been avoided.


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Step 5 – Identify the purpose of the campaign

Don’t just send out one long email with all of your current company news, special offers, updates, tips, etc in one jumble sale of a message. People won’t read it if they don’t know why you’ve sent it! Decide on the purpose of each email so that you can design it, draft it, and sent it out to the right segment of your database accordingly. Whether you want to promote a new product, let people know about a change in your company, or generate leads, define the goal of the email for better results.


Step 6 – Keep the design simple

When it comes to marketing, it’s usually the case that the more simplified your campaign is, the more successful it’ll be. Keep your email design simple by using more text than images, and include one main call to action which is clear to see. Use subtle design elements to get your recipients to focus on the most important parts of the email, for example bold text, a different font, or an image.


Step 7 – Copywriting matters

If you’re not a strong writer then hire someone to do it for you because the copy in your email message is very important in encouraging a response. After all the effort you’ve put into organising and segmenting your database, defining the purpose of the email, and coming up with the design, it’d be a shame if the copy was what let the campaign down.


Step 8 – Reel ‘em in with a snappy subject line

You’ve gone to a lot of effort so far to make sure your email is relevant, engaging, and will be sent to the right people, but how can you guarantee that they’ll actually open it in the first place?

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The way you word the subject line is perhaps even more important than the copy of the actual email! Keep it under 50 characters including spaces, include your brand name where possible, make it memorable, funny, intriguing, or actionable, and avoid spammy words like ‘free’, ‘urgent’, and ‘guarantee’.


Step 9 – Track your success

Before you send out your carefully composed email campaign to your segmented list of suitable recipients it’s important to set up tracking so that you can monitor the success of the campaign. Evaluating the effectiveness of your campaign will be essential in maximising your ROI. The things you should be looking for are open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and deliverability. These four things will give you a good picture of how your campaign is performing and what you need to work on next time.


Step 10 – Test and refine

After a few campaigns you should start to get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t for your business. As with a lot of things, it’s a bit of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try different types of subject lines, take on a different tone or style in the copy of the email, use different fonts, colours, and formatting, or alter your calls to action. Just be sure to track every campaign and make a note of what works for you!

Posted Friday, 8th May 2015