E-Mail Marketing For Dummies
E-mail marketing represents an opportunity to experience both the thrill of increased customer loyalty and steady repeat business as well as the agony of bounced e-mail, unsubscribe requests, and spam complaints. Whether you find thrill or agony in your e-mail marketing strategy depends on your ability to effectively deliver valuable and purposeful e-mails to prospects and customers who need your information.
Building Your Business's E-Mail List
Collecting e-mail addresses isn't easy. Fortunately, your e-mail list needn't be large to be effective. The best lists contain loyal, repeat customers; referral sources who respect others' privacy; and interested prospects who know your business well enough to recognize your e-mails. Try these techniques to get people to sign up for your e-mail list:
Place sign-up links on your websites and in your e-mail signature.
Put a sign-up form on your social media sites.
Ask people to text their e-mail address to your mobile short code or fill out a mobile sign-up form.
Ask people whom you meet face-to-face to share their e-mail addresses.
Place a guest book on your counter or desk.
Ask people to join when you exchange business cards.
Collect e-mail addresses at trade shows and events.
Collect e-mail addresses from people who call you.
Offer an incentive, such as a discount, to join your e-mail list.
Share your sign-up link with noncompeting businesses.
Pay someone to collect e-mail addresses in person.
Ask for an e-mail address and permission in online shopping forms.
Include a sign-up URL (such as http://www.JoinMyEmailList.com) in your phone directory ad and in print advertising.
Include a link to your sign-up form in your online advertising.
Combining Marketing E-Mails with Social Media
E-mail marketing tools and strategies are always adapting to new technologies and changes in consumer behavior. Social media is no different — think of social sharing as the new forwarding. Here are a few ways you can integrate your e-mail marketing with your social media efforts:
Use your E-Mail Marketing Provider (EMP) to post your e-mails to Facebook and Twitter.
Place Share links in your e-mail content.
Include your latest tweets and Facebook wall posts in your e-mails.
Invite e-mail list subscribers to follow you on social sites.
Archive your e-mails on your Web site and share the links to your archive.
Post portions of your e-mail content to your Facebook business Page.
Put links to your YouTube videos in your e-mails.
Link the images in your e-mails to more images stored in Picasa or Flickr.
Put links to social coupons and social events in your e-mails.
Ensuring Your Marketing E-Mail Is CAN-SPAM Compliant
If you're e-mail marketing, you must get familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the 2008 revisions to the Act apply to all commercial e-mails (e-mails that have advertising, promotions, or information from a business website). Here are some things you can do so your business-related e-mails are legally compliant:
Send your e-mail to permission-based lists only.
Provide a way for your list subscribers to opt out permanently.
Keep your opt-out process simple and don't charge money or ask for additional information to opt out.
Don't pay people or give them incentives to forward your e-mails.
Make sure your e-mail includes your physical address (a PO Box is okay)
Don't mislead your audience with your From line or e-mail address.
Make sure your e-mail Subject line is honest about your content.
Make sure your e-mail clearly states that the e-mail is a solicitation unless you have affirmative consent.
Learn the law before sending any commercial e-mail; use an attorney.
A Marketing E-Mail Checklist
You've done a lot of work making sure your e-mails are exactly what your customers want. But before you click the Send button and transmit your message to the world, check off each item on this list that applies to you to ensure that your e-mail has the impact you want it to:
I have explicit permission to send the e-mail.
I pinpointed the main objective.
My From line clearly identifies my business.
My Subject line prompts my audience to open my e-mail.
I'm sending my e-mail from an e-mail address that my audience will recognize.
My e-mail content is easy to scan.
My headlines are short, clear, and concise.
My paragraphs are short summaries of larger bodies of information.
My e-mail contains a strong call to action.
My images help to tell the story of my e-mail.
My e-mail has white space that makes the text easy to read.
My e-mail content is valuable enough to save or share.
My e-mail contains an offer that is valuable to my audience.
I checked all links to make sure they work properly.
I'm prepared to handle inbound responses.
I'm sending at a time when my audience is likely to notice.