There’s plenty of people out there who’ll tell you “you need email marketing” and you probably know it’s something you should be doing – after all, it’s inexpensive and a great way to stay in touch with your clients and prospects. Keeping your receptive audience informed about your new products, promotions and special offers, with instantaneous, trackable results – why wouldn’t you want to get started straight away? The problem is, there aren’t that many people who’ll tell you “how to get started” and “what you need to do”. But we love giving away useful information to help make all things digital easier to understand and more accessible for everyone. So, here’s some quick tips to get you started:

1) List building

The key to the success of any email newsletter campaign is the quality of the contact list you’re mailing to. Building a quality list is vital and it should be the first thing you do before you think about anything else. Remember, ‘quality’ is definitely the priority over ‘quantity’ here –  it’s far better to email a few contacts, who are interested in what you’re saying, rather than loads of people, who aren’t. 1 This probably all makes sense, but, how do you go about building a list? Here’s a few ideas:

  • write some useful, interesting articles on your website and encourage readers to sign up to your newsletter
  • integrate a subscription form onto your website – make sure when you create this that it’s easy to complete and submit (you’ll probably need some help here from your web designer)
  • networking with your target market – at trade shows, fairs, events, your local coffee shop, bars, restaurants etc, basically anywhere where you’re meeting and engaging with your target market – consider adding a shortcut to a sign-up form on your mobile, tablet or laptop so you’re always ready to sign up new clients to your list wherever you are
  • social networking – using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook – being part of people’s social network will give you a better chance to gain trust, and these contacts will be more willing to engage with you and sign up to your list

Ok, so you’ve got your first list. What next?

2) Choosing a Platform

There are a number of platforms out there, but here are the ones we’d recommend. 2

  • MailChimp – our favourite platform to integrate email newsletters with, as it’s free to use if you’re sending out to less than 2,000 people. It’s got some great features like analytics, the ability to track one to one conversations you might have had in response to a mailing from one of your customers and scheduled sending.
  • Campaign Monitor – pretty much all the same features as MailChimp but with the option to pay monthly or per campaign. One good feature is that they don’t force you to include their logo in the footer of the emails you send.

3) Subscriptions and Best Practices

There’s a lot of debate over the best way to collect subscribers email addresses and the opt in process. Here’s a good article about it. 3 So, what options do I have?

  • Single Opt-in: this is where the user simply enters their email address into the form on your website, and bingo, they’re subscribed to your list! Lovely and quick.
  • Double Opt-in: is where you add an additional confirmation step, so the user must click a link in a confirmation email after entering their email address in your form to complete the process.

There are pros and cons to each method, but we believe Double Opt-in is the way to go. Making users confirm their email address ensures that your list is growing with actual, real email addresses and not random ones someone entered on a whim. This way your email stats don’t get skewed too, which is REALLY important.

4) Being responsive

In 2013, 36m adults in the UK accessed the internet every day. 53% of these accessed the internet from a mobile device. It’s therefore more important than ever to ensure that your emails read well on mobile devices. 4 Utilising responsive design, to ensure your emails look good and work well, no matter what device they’re being viewed on (tablets, smartphones), is vital. Luckily, we’re experts in responsive email design, so why not let us help you out on this one!

5) Content

Now you’re ready to start thinking about content. Creating ‘great’ content is a key factor in the success of your email marketing campaign. Keep your content interesting and engaging and don’t forget to show off your personality. Never forget that your subscribers have given you the honor of access to their inbox, so always reflect this by making sure your content is engaging and valuable. 5 Here’s some ideas for content that might get you thinking about what interesting emailers you could write:

  • keeping in touch – engage with your clients, making them feel valued
  • news and upcoming events
  • re-capping and photos from past events
  • new product launches
  • special offers and promotions
  • staff profiles
  • giving away something free and valuable, like a guide or ebook

Hopefully, this has given you the help you need to get started with your first campaign!

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