May 11 2012

Create a Lean Email Marketing Strategy in 15 minutes

AnnexCore

Every business tries to start email marketing but gets stuck in the maze of how and where to start. Thinking that a full 25 page marketing plan is necessary, detailing all the emails to be sent for the next 12 months. Instead of taking all that time to write out a huge marketing plan, which is bound to go through multiple revisions, it’s wiser to follow a Lean Email Marketing Strategy.

Action 1: Understand Your Audience

Take a second to define your customer base, before you start to write a single word. Trust us when we say this! Know the people who’ll be reading your newsletter, and what you should say to them will become easier to solve.

Question to reveal your audience

  • Who will be your target audience to receive the e-mail campaigns? Current or potential customers? Purchasing or marketing heads?

After you define the group(s) you want to send your emails to, you should take an extra step. Go and define your audience a little more. Write short descriptions of the audience and what they’ll get out of your email campaign. If you want to ensure wide spread reading of your emails, you have to provide them with relevant content.

Here are some examples detailing what your audience gets from the emails:

  • Interested in industry news
  • Looking for information on a new technology or method
  • Product information and reviews
  • Special offers, promotions and sales

Action 2: Understand Your Purpose

At this point you should know who you’re sending your message to, so it’s time to realize what the purpose of your email marketing will be. This is the main reason you’re sending out these emails in the first place.

If your purpose answers questions about why they want to hear from you, what information you’ll be providing them and what you’re trying to accomplish, you should be well on your way. All this information will help you in outlining the content for your email campaigns. At times you’ll be unsure if you should include something, just refer back to your purpose and if it helps it out, it should be beneficial.

The purpose of email communications is to collect, survey and report the latest marketing-industry news, trends and research or it could simply be to sell a product or service.

Tips on keeping your content gathering lean…

Besides for content what else do you have in your newsletters? This is why it’s the most important player in your emails. Here are some tips to help you out:

  1. Give special treatment to the readers
    People have subscribed to your service to be reached out to directly, so treat them as you would guests in your home. Give them privileged access to interesting news such as new product introductions, promotions or a new location opening. Providing the audience with special benefits will incentivize them to be subscribers and remain loyal readers. It won’t hurt to even give them special insight about your business to they feel closer and on a more personal level.
  2. Make it meaningful
    Take some time and reflect about which emails you open and the ones that get deleted immediately. Offering a benefit is the easiest way to ensure a good opening rate. Some examples can be things as we stated above like industry news, surveys, special offers, etc…
  3. Brevity Wins
    Keep in mind that people receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails on a daily basis. This is why you have to keep your emails short, simple and easy to consume. Even if your email is focused around a long piece which could be a story, article or an interview, just provide a catchy headline, first paragraph or a concise summary and then provide a link to the full piece on your website. This way they can quickly process if they have time to read it or not, without scaring them away with a long piece that takes multiple scrolls.
  4. Distinguish yourself, add some … Personality
    Pull a Groupon and add some exciting personality into your writing. People will tune out quickly if you don’t write with excitement, so pick up a few copywriting books and learn to create a voice.

Action 3: State Your Goals

As in life, your email strategy requires goal to achieve. These give you points to strive toward and to gauge if your campaigns have been successful. Goals will vary from increasing subscribers, improving click-rates or it may be centered around generating more sales.

Keep in mind, if you’re just starting your email marketing for the first time, don’t expect dramatic results immediately. It takes time to build a subscriber base that is loyal and that will allow you create hype enough to get more people to sign-up. Just to reinforce it one more time, you’ll have to create a quality newsletter that has quality content and promote sign-ups throughout all your material and different channels.

Action 4: How often should you email?

This part will take some reflection based on your audience the type of content you’ll be serving. The general rule of thumb is emailing at least monthly but if you’re short on words don’t push that frequency. Although, we recommend avoiding going more then a couple months without contacting your subscribers, since they’ll forget they signed up and may report it as spam. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t email too often, otherwise your audience will be overloaded and unsubscribe quickly.

Action 5: Get started now!

We could go into setting up a calendar of what content should be sent out for the next year but instead we recommend a lean mentality of just getting it out there and testing it. The best way to do this is just get started now, follow the action steps we’ve outlined and it should give you a good footing. Often you can read all you want about a subject but execution is everything at the end of the day. So we suggest just get started now, don’t wait … unless you don’t feel like taking this whole thing on by yourself, our Email Marketing Services are at your disposal.

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