One key element of a successful Internet business is email marketing, and like other important aspects of an online business, effective email marketing requires planning.
Experienced marketers know the value of marketing with email, but not every online marketer is doing it, or doing it effectively. If you have an email campaign in place, then you are way ahead of the unfortunate businesses that do not.
Email is one of the main attractions that draws people to the Internet. Even if they do little else online, they will check their email. And even if they know little else about computers or about using the Internet, they know how to collect, read and reply to email. It stands to reason, then, that people with email are a huge market to tap into.
To set up an email campaign, you will need:
- A website
- An autoresponder service, like GetResponse or AWeber
- An email opt-in form (can be created using one of the above services)
The first step in effective email marketing is collecting the email addresses of targeted prospects, people who are most likely interested in the products and services you are selling. These could be visitors who have been drawn to your website through various methods of marketing and promotion, or prospects that have landed on a 'lead capture page' that you have set up specifically to collect email addresses. This article will focus on the website model.
A point to note when collecting email addresses is that it is vitally important to collect this information only with the permission of the individual. It is inappropriate to send unsolicited emails; it may be illegal in some areas. If you do send a marketing email to someone without their permission, you risk getting blocked from their email and forever losing the opportunity to market to them.
The best way to get permission is by providing an opt-in form where it is the prospect’s choice to sign up to be on your list. Create a suitable opt-in form and post it on every page of your website. Always work on the principle that willing recipients are the best buyers.
Once they sign up or opt in to your list, you can then begin sending messages to them as often as you choose. However, since this is a privileged relationship, you should treat it with due respect. Do not overwhelm your prospects with a steady flood of sales offers. Spread your marketing messages out so they don’t arrive too frequently and become annoying to the recipient.
Which leads to the next step in your email campaign: creating value for your subscribers so they are happy to receive your emails.
One popular way to get people to opt in to your list is to provide a sign-up incentive such as a free eBook or report or series of informative newsletter articles. Some marketers offer free software. Whatever the incentive is, it is best if it is related to your marketing theme or niche.
A newsletter article series also works well to keep people interested in staying as subscribers, as long as the articles offer true value and are not just thinly disguised product promos or advertisements. Informative, niche-related articles are a good idea because they help to balance the marketing messages and sales offers that you will be sending.
Finally, always be alert to the needs and interests of your subscribers. Promptly answer any questions or concerns they may express, and acknowledge them with sincere appreciation when they do purchase something from you. Show them that you are personable and approachable.
Running an effective email marketing campaign can be a 'trial and error' process where you test different styles of opt-in forms, different types of sign-up incentives and newsletter articles, and different intervals of sending email messages to your subscribers. If you plan well and monitor it regularly, you will eventually come up with a winning mix that creates value for everybody involved.