Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beginner's Basics: How to launch an effective email campaign

Do you remember the annual market day at school?
Were you the boy who sold goldfish – the one who cashed in all of your classmates’ R5’s? Or were you like me – your stall was filled with enthusiasm, your cupcakes tasted great, but you maybe didn’t quite cover your costs?

You opened that little shop at school without a clue as to how much stock you had, the price you are going to sell it at and what you intended to do with the profits. It’s a far cry from you how you do business today. We learn lessons from that first attempt: Nothing significant can be achieved without the necessary planning.

The same goes for your email marketing campaign. So: Plot, plan, strategise, and make a checklist before doing anything else!

Setting up your newsletter
When you set up your shop you probably had hand-painted posters proudly displaying your products and prices. Now you send out marketing emails – but first impressions still count. Have a subject line that entices, intrigues and captivates. After all… if you’re bored by the subject line… why would you punish yourself by reading any further?
Hook readers with content that is controversial, engaging or catchy! Ensure that the content is easy to read, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Test your product - no point in selling something that doesn’t work, right? The same goes for your email marketing campaign. An email full of mistakes, broken links, blocked images with no alt text and omitted content won’t get results. Preview everything you do before hitting ‘send’. That includes data fields, personalisation, the correct segmentation, spelling, and screen view. Conduct a test send of your newsletter and use Inbox Preview to preview your message in different email clients before sending it off. You’ll be able to check that it is compatible in Gmail, on mobiles, Yahoo etc.

The send
Selling Barbie dolls at an all-boys school? Get to know your target market! Luckily, email marketing gives you several tools to get to know your subscribers. Segment your mailing list to ensure that you’re sending exactly what you intend to, to the right audience. Email success rests on getting your message to the right audience. If you really want to ensure you send out the best possible newsletter, test variations of your newsletter or subject line against each other using our A/B split testing tool. You’ll soon be able to see what works best for your mailing list.

Selling sushi at 7am also won’t get you a profit. Timing is crucial. Do not send emails when nobody will read them, i.e. weekends, or business-related emails after working hours. Also, consider time zones when sending emails internationally.

Reviewing your send
At the end of market day, when I packed up my stall, I was always quick to count how much money was in your piggy bank, and eat the leftover cupcakes (sometimes forgetting to keep in mind my costs!).
Review your campaign after sending – have a look at your reports. Monitor your stats and think how you can improve your campaign results. Use it as a benchmark for your next send.

To see the activity on your website after launching the campaign, use conversion tracking. You can easily integrate your GraphicMail account with Google Analytics to see what the effect of your email was on your web traffic.

And there you have it – the first-time basics of setting up your email campaign.

For more email marketing and SMS/mobile marketing tips refer to global email marketing solution, GraphicMail at http://www.graphicmail.co.za/

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