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Email Marketing 101: Think Before You Blast

One of the most traditional forms of lead generation has been direct mail marketing.  But with the introduction of the internet, email as well as the push to cut down on waste and be “green”, the methods of lead generation have evolved and a new form of direct mail marketing has surfaced: email marketing.

Although for some this topic is elementary, I think it is very important to throw out there for discussion, its a vital cog in a successful online marketing strategy.

Since we all use email on a daily basis, you already know how quick and effective it is to communicate with your business associates…so why not harness this power to keep in constant communication with your clients?  (Hence one of the largest email marketing campaign companies being named “Constant Contact”).

The first step is to create an email database, which can be done using your current mail server (Microsoft Outlook for example or even Gmail or Hotmail).  Once you have created this database, every time that you gather a new email address/contact, add them to this database.  That way you will continually grow your list, which will in turn grow your business.

Next up, think about how often you want to send promotional messages to your list/database. I suggest hitting your target market at least twice a month…this way you are consistently in front of your prospect, they don’t forget you, and you have more opportunities to turn them into a sale!  When considering the frequency of your messages, remember that in order to generate the highest number of leads, you need to have an on-going email campaign.

Then…what do I send?!  You have three options:

  • An Email Newsletter
  • Promotional Email
  • Useful Information (insider tips)

To start out, try a combination of the three. Email Newsletters give you the opportunity to talk about different aspects of your business, while straight promotional emails or ones with useful information can be limiting.  You don’t have to have a fancy format, simply separate your email into different sections…viola!  A newsletter!

Tip: try to keep your graphics to a minimum, many people will never see them and as soon as the graphics don’t pop up will delete them thinking they are spam.

Write a warm introduction explaining the newsletter, alerting them to when they can expect to receive the next one, have one section for special offers and promotions and then in another section provide some tips. For example, if you were a fitness coach you could write a friendly introduction giving the latest news in your practice (new services, new staff, achievements, awards), in section 2 you can tell them about your new full body bootcamp (including a “newsletter only discount”) and then in the last section you can give them 5 tips to healthier eating.

But there are some hard and fast rules for email marketing that need to be taken into account.  Most importantly:

  1. Always personalize your emails: Use “Hi Bob” Rather than the stock “Hello”
  2. Subject Lines Are Key: Write attention grabbing subject lines (avoiding the use of SPAM words such as “free” “sex” and “$$$”)
  3. Check your spelling ten times before sending: look professional
  4. Always present a clear call to action
  5. Add links in your emails: to your blog, to your website, to your landing page
  6. Do the messages in both HTML and Plain Text: let your recipients decide individually which they prefer
  7. Always include an “unsubscribe me” link: this will help you keep from illegally spamming people who do not want your messages

There you go!  Again, if you want help getting a great campaign together with little time and little money, Constant Contact is a great service that can help you launch!

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