Getting Started

June 18th, 2005 by Adam Q. Holden-Bache

Ready to take the plunge into email marketing but now sure how to get started? Our five-step process will get you rolling with a permission-based email marketing program of your own.

Step 1: Gather Email Addresses

Start by building your email list. In the beginning, gather your customer’s full name (first and last- separate the fields!) and email address. Carefully consider if you will require any other information, as it may be a deterrent to those considering sign-up. You can always collect more data later.

Collect wherever you can. Get people to join your mailing list from your Web site. More importantly, collect names and email addresses right in your place of business or any time you interact with your customers. Offer exclusive promotions or communication to email customers. Engage your employees and sales force in collecting email addresses. Make sure you retain the confirmation of opt-in addresses to validate their sign-up.

Step 2: Create a Communication Strategy

What is your ultimate goal? Most likely it is to strengthen relationships with existing customers. With that goal in mind, think about how you are going to get there. Will a regularly scheduled newsletter help the cause? Will promotions do the trick? One nice element about email is that it doesn’t cost much to experiment. Try different kinds of communications and track the response. And conduct an online survey to gather valuable information from the recipients of your communications.

Step 3: Determine Campaign Frequency

Once you have your communication strategy in place, think about frequency. This may require some testing, but be diligent in finding the right frequency for you and your customers. And, most importantly – experiment! You’ll discover what works best for your business.

Step 4: Build content and format

After you’ve determined your frequency of communication, it’s time to think about content and format. What is your message and how should it be delivered? Do you want to follow standard familiar layouts or create something completely different? Content thought starters include: special-offer promotions, company announcements, event driven communications, holiday messages, sweepstakes and coupon promotions.

Step 5: Be Personable and Have Fun!

Email is a one-to-one communication. Even corporate email should be personalized and communicate a warm and friendly tone. With a solid plan, some effort and strong technology partners – email marketing success can be yours!