In Part 1, we discussed the basics of email campaigns, how to set goals, and how to build an email marketing list. In this post, we’ll continue our look at email campaigns by covering how to find the right tools, how to develop content, and how to refine your approach to email campaigns as you begin sending messages and profiting from your efforts.
Finding a Tool
Dozens of email marketing tools are available. We looked at a few great tools for email marketing in another post, but to summarize, there are three criteria to consider.
Some tools are paid, some are free, and some are a “freemium” model in which you can purchase various tools and upgrades in the app itself. If you’re new to email campaign tools, check out some of the free or lower-priced options. They’ll have all the basic features you’ll need to get started, and you can always upgrade to something more advanced once you start seeing success from your efforts.
Ease of Use
How easily you can learn and use a tool depends on which one you choose. Some tools take more work because of more advanced features, and some might require that users have knowledge of HTML and basic web development to create templates and build regular sends. The tool you choose should be easy to use so email campaigns aren’t a chore, but instead a simple way to engage customers.
You’ll want to make sure any email campaign tool you use integrates with CRM systems you already have so you can see which of your existing contacts are taking which actions. In addition, you won’t need to re-input information between two separate systems. Many CRMs even have their own built-in email campaign tools, which might be a quicker way to get up and running.
Without fresh content, you won’t have much to share in your regular emails. How much content you can produce will influence how often you can send emails. But don’t worry—you can still be successful even if you don’t have the time to create oodles of content. For email campaigns, there are two kinds of content.
What goes in your email? Finding the right blend of helpful information and promotional offers can be a challenge. A good rule of thumb is to provide useful content first and worry about promotions second. Strictly promotional emails won’t draw a lot of interest. As noted, email campaigns are largely about developing trust and proving why you’re a great IT resource, and so providing links to useful blog posts, ebooks, and other content is a good way to begin developing that trust. Note that you can and should mention services or current promotions and offers in an email so long as helpful content comes first. A few common types of regular email sends are:
- Newsletters – Include news roundups, your latest blog posts, upcoming events, and even testimonials and new product or service offers.
- Whole articles – You can send an entire blog post as an email, with links to other articles at the bottom.
- Blog updates – This includes all the latest content from the blog including articles, infographics, videos, and more.
Links in your emails will typically go to either your blog, a specific product or services page, or a dedicated landing page. Whether you develop entertaining blog articles, how-to videos, or instructional ebooks, be sure that once prospects land on a page, they know where to go next. Make calls to action clear, and give them an easy way to take another step, whether it’s filling out a contact form, downloading an ebook, signing up for an evaluation, or what have you.
Most email campaign tools have built-in resources that make the process of building, scheduling, and sending emails simple. Once you have regular content to use as part of email campaigns, it’s wise to set up a regular schedule for email sends and stick to it.
How often should I send?
As we mentioned, consistency is essential to email campaign success, so once you start sending, be sure to keep sending. The frequency of your send will depend on your situation and your ability to create content. Some companies send emails as often as every day—which might be annoying for those who receive them—but some might send updates once a week or even once a month. The important thing to remember is that you should send emails consistently, and that your emails should have useful, interesting content—not just repeated product and service pitches. Your schedule will depend on your ability to produce content to share in the email, but it will also depend on the results you’re seeing.
Modifying and Refining Your Process
Once you’ve established a regular process, you’ll need to look at how your emails are performing. Are certain types of articles performing better than others? Did a catchy subject line draw more opens and click-throughs? Are people unsubscribing? Do you notice that click-through rates are lowering when you send more than once a week? Metrics give insight into what’s working and what’s not so you can continually refine your approach and continue to keep the interest of prospects in your email list. You’ll want to be sure the information you’re sending is helpful or intriguing and isn’t bothering recipients. With time, you’ll develop a regular email series people are excited to get.
While email marketing can seem difficult, it’s mainly the initial planning and setup that requires the most effort. Once a solid plan is in place and you have regular content to share, you can see some excellent results from email campaigns. Emails can be incredibly effective, and if you’re looking for ways to make a bigger impact through your marketing efforts, emails is one of the best avenues you can take.