Email Marketing Strategy : How To Make Sure You Win At Email Marketing
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Email marketing strategy belongs at the beginning of any course on email marketing, if only because it is the area where the least effort is typically spent.
And that is wrong.
Because the most important thing that sets apart a great email marketing campaign from a mediocre one is its obvious adherence to a well thought-out strategic plan.
This section is short. But it is the portion you should spend the most time on.
Try not to hurry through it, but instead think out each of these issues in depth and formulate a plan that will be your route-map to successful permission marketing in the years to come.
Your Email Marketing Strategy Begins With Setting Targets
Without definite goals or targets, your email marketing campaign will flounder and drift. With a firm objective and a concrete game plan, you can soon be in the big leagues.
As a first step, ask yourself these questions – and come up with specific answers.
• What are you good at?
• At whom is your email marketing strategy targeted?
• Why do you want to create email newsletters?
What are you good at?
Everyone has something they love; something they know well and enjoy doing; something that is a hobby or a passion.
• Technical skills like computer programming
• Emotional issues like bringing up children with cerebral palsy
• Day-to-day things like gardening or cooking
• Esoteric topics like searching for signs of alien intelligence
• Hobbies like travelling, knitting, racing or yachting
You can weave your email marketing strategy around any topic or issue that you enjoy, that you love, that you are passionate about, that you enjoy reading, talking and writing about.
You don’t have to be an expert (though that would be an added advantage). You don’t even have to know much about your topic – just be enthusiastic about it.
Once you identify such a topic, your passion will convey itself to your reader, suck them into your vortex, get them involved and keep them loyal subscribers. Over time, your opt in mailing list will develop a spirit and life of its own.
A few other guidelines to help you choose a topic for your email newsletter are:
• Try and select a niche that is not already dominated by other email newsletters
• Be unique. Put a new spin on an old topic and you’ll have a winner
• See if the subject area is broad enough to sustain interest over time
• Determine whether advertisers will find it interesting
How to pick your topic?
Your email marketing strategy begins with picking up a sheet of paper and writing down a list of topics that interest you. Pick 5 or even 10 subjects that you care about.
For each topic, answer these 5 questions:
1. Does this topic interest you, excite you?
2. Are there many other e-zines covering this topic?
3. Can you create useful content about this topic?￼
4. Will this information help many people?
5. Do you know a lot about your topic?
Now rate your responses.
Assess your score. Do this for each topic/subject you listed in the first step of your email marketing strategy.
Now rank your topics in order of highest score. The top 3 are the ones you are best suited to write about.
Choose one out of these 3 – remember to select the one you are most passionate about, the one that you would love to write about. That way, bringing out each issue of your email newsletter will be a pleasure instead of appearing like a chore.
Who is your audience?
Different strokes for different folks.
Even for opt in email lists on the same topic, writing styles will vary depending on your reader. Make a determined effort to try and define your potential reader. This will help you decide upon
- the content of your email marketing
- your advertising strategy to attract them to your email newsletter
- the products / services you will offer through your e-zine
Here’s a powerful email marketing tip:
You need to Get Inside Your Reader’s Mind
How to determine your reader’s interest?
Try and be as specific as possible. It is best to jot down the characteristics of your intended audience.
– What interests do they share ?
– How old are they ?
– What is their educational status ?
– Where do they live ?
– How much do they earn ?
– Spend ?
– On what items ?
And most important – Why are they reading your email?
In other words…
What is the purpose of your email marketing strategy?
It is critical to answer this question before you begin.
On the Internet, and in email marketing, always remember this important fact –
YOUR CUSTOMER ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
If you spend a few hours trying to figure out what your reader expects to find in your newsletter, it will go a long way in establishing your publication as a valuable resource.
How to find out what your reader wants?
Once again, make a list on a sheet of paper.
Step 1: Calculated guesswork.
Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. If you signed up to receive an email newsletter like yours, what would you expect to find?
Step 2: Poll friends and family.
Ask your near and dear ones for suggestions. Tell them about your plans for relationship marketing that involve an ezine. Ask them what they’d like to see in it.
Step 3: Conduct a survey.
If you have a website, or participate in other online discussions, you might ask others for their opinions and comments on your brand marketing plans.
Step 4: Watch your competition.
Your competitors might have an email list on your topic. Subscribe to it, see what it contains, judge whether it is relevant, useful and of good quality. Monitor email marketing statistics. Then plan to improve on it.
Step 5: Answer some questions
Through your email marketing, do you want to instruct and educate (articles, news updates), entertain (jokes, riddles), inspire (quotes, advice) or sell (products, services)?
- Is your list of email addresses a vehicle to serve advertisements to readers?
- Is email marketing a way to invite people to visit your website, or to contact you?
- Is your email marketing strategy designed to announce new additions to your site, or special offers and discounts, or a new product launch?
Step 6: Write down the best and most popular ideas.
Sort the ideas in order of priority. Decide upon how you are going to meet these requirements.
Step 7: Craft Your USP
On the basis of this decision, develop your own USP – Unique Selling Proposition. In a short sentence (or two), not exceeding 30 words, describe your email marketing strategy, its purpose and how you plan to achieve it.
Whatever you choose to do with your opt in mailing list and newsletter, define your email marketing strategy clearly before you begin. Over time, you will then be able to monitor progress, and see whether or not you are progressing steadily towards this goal.
And Now… ACTION!
With your email marketing strategy in place, it is time to get your hands wet in the real world of e-zine publishing with a step-by-step action plan to help you get right up to speed in an organized, methodical and practical way.
In a nutshell, here are the critical steps to take next:
• Prepare your administrative messages
• Set up your email autoresponders
• Set up your distribution service
• Put your subscribe/unsubscribe processes in place
• Set up your e-zine’s website
• Send out your first email
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