Creating an email campaign is a foundational marketing skill. Over time all kinds of fancy and complicated email marketing ideas usually find their way into the toolbox, so once in a while it’s a good idea to review the basics to make sure your plan is sound and your execution optimal. After all…remember the 80-20 rule? If you really nail every one of the basics, that’s often all you need to get truly excellent results.
1. Plan your email marketing campaigns. For each email campaign that you create, you should create a simple plan that specifies: the target buyer, what your email will offer recipients, the delivery date(s), and key objectives.
2. Develop your email list.* Before you can create and send a marketing email, you need to have a list of people who have signed up to receive email from you. There are a number of list-building techniques you can use such as asking people to subscribe to your newsletter, or offering content they want enough to fill out a form to get it. Be wary of buying lists; if they’re not scrupulously maintained, they may contain spam traps or other types of bad addresses that can jeopardize your email sending reputation.
3. Identify a target buyer and segment your database. The most successful marketing emails target a specific type of buyer with a specific offer that’s highly relevant – to them. Identify the target buyer, then segment your database accordingly. Make sure your segments are large enough to be worth the effort.
4. Create a compelling offer for the email. The offer is the most important part of your email. It’s what you offer your prospects so that they’ll open your email and visit your landing page. Offers that are really valuable to prospects convert at a high rate; offers that miss the mark waste the recipient’s time and could cause them to unsubscribe.
5. Write your copy and design your email. Your email’s copy should describe your offer and its benefits. Keep your copy simple and specific. Your subject line should create an expectation that your copy and call to action fulfill. The design of your email should make it easy for recipients to digest its contents, and should highlight the call to action so that taking the next step is obvious. Make sure someone with fresh eyes reviews your copy so typos don’t slip through.
6. Test your email. Test your offer, your subject line, your copy, your call to action, and your sending time. Sometimes very small changes can have very big effects; don’t take anything for granted, no matter how right it “feels.” And what works for one email campaign may not work for another, particularly if the targeted audiences are quite different.
7. Send your email. After you’ve created your email, you can send it to the target list. Adhere to the times you’ve determined are most productive for this campaign. It’s also important to maintain deliverability best practices so that your email is delivered to people’s inboxes – not relegated to the spam folder.
8. Let your subscribers have a say. While the goal of your email is to get recipients to take an action that moves them closer to a purchase, some subscribers will want to unsubscribe completely, or control how much email they receive from you. Make sure you have a way for them to do this.
9. Measure and optimize your email’s performance. You can measure your campaign’s performance by tracking four primary metrics: the number of people who receive your email, open your email, click through to your landing page, and complete the form on that landing page.
10. Understand the technology that will support your email campaign. If you’re acquiring a system, detail your email marketing requirements and then identify the technology you’ll need to meet those requirements. Make sure you have the training and support to make the most of your system. If you’re using a technology already in place, make sure to familiarize yourself with it thoroughly.
*The better your list, the better your results. Check out Act-On’s new “Grow Your Email Marketing List” white paper for an overview of both real-world and virtual ways to build lists that deliver.