A quick guide to developing and maintaining customer relationships through email newsletters
In the age of social networking websites, email still remains the one online communication tool that everyone understands.
It is a low cost, high-return form of marketing for turning prospects into customers, selling to active customers and retaining them for the long term.
If you’re not already using email marketing to connect with your customers, how do you get started?
Building a list
The first thing you’ll need to do is build an email list, or a subscriber list. As an email marketer, you must find the people who want your company news and special offers, and then encourage them to follow through with a click to your website. The more targeted your newsletter and its audience, the more likely it will be successful.
Start with existing customers (those who have purchased a product from you within the last two years) and people who gave you their email in-person or over the phone knowing you’d contact them. A good way to gather email addresses is to create an email capture form on your website. This allows customers to sign up automatically.
Never buy your email list from a third party or ‘copy and paste’ the addresses from the Internet. There are strict rules covering permission and privacy when sending bulk email. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t email anyone that hasn’t given you permission to do so. The benefit of doing this, in addition to complying with important anti-spam legislation, is that your emails will be directed at a specific audience i.e. those that have expressed an interest in your products and services.
Sending your email
Many people attempt to send bulk email themselves using Microsoft Outlook and other email applications. These applications used in conjunction with a standard email server are not designed for email marketing and have significant limitations that can actually undermine rather than aid your email marketing efforts. Because of concerns about spam, Internet service providers don’t let you send bulk emails to more than 50-100 names. To overcome this limitation, you’ll need to employ a professional email marketing service to send these emails on your behalf. These companies have systems in place to support the sending of large numbers of emails reliably and in accordance with anti-spam legislation. Features such as automatic unsubscribe and bounce-back handling ensure you are compliant and technologies such as Sender ID and DomainKeys/DKIM are used to improve the chances of your email being delivered.
What about design?
Design is a very important consideration when it comes to getting prospects or customers to notice your email. Just as with your website, you only have a few seconds to catch your reader’s attention.
HTML newsletters contain graphics, icons and different fonts, so are more visually appealing than plain text. It is advisable to employ a professional email designer to create your email templates, incorporating your logo and branding so that there is consistency in everything you send. There are many different email clients to consider and thorough testing is essential to make sure your emails looks consistent across all of these.
Templates must include a clear unsubscribe link to allow recipients to opt out of receiving further emails. To be compliant, you must also contain valid company and contact information in the footer.
Once complete, your templates can be imported into specialist email marketing software, allowing you to change the content with each issue.
Email marketing doesn’t conclude with the successful delivery of an email. Professional email marketing services give you access to reports such as who is opening and clicking your emails, which links were popular, who didn’t receive your emails and why, unsubscribes and more. This allows you to improve your campaigns and find out what works. Statistics from one campaign are hard to interpret. When you send your next newsletter out to the same audience, you’ll have something to compare it to, and you’ll know whether you’re getting better.
With time and consistency, email marketing remains a great way to build relationships with your customers and prompt sales.
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We offer everything you need to create and send successful email marketing campaigns.
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