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Email Marketing: A Beginners Guide

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 17 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Email Marketing: A Beginners Guide

One of the most effective ways you can promote your online business is with email marketing. Akin to direct mail, email marketing has become one of the most popular forms of online promotion due to its low cost and its ability to be highly targeted. It is, though, important to remember that email marketing should be just one component of the marketing mix you use to promote your online business.

Good rates of return are possible with email marketing if your online business plans its email campaigns carefully and fully understands the message that is to be communicated. The most effective email marketing campaigns are those that segment the potential audience for the marketing message into smaller specialised groups. It then becomes much easier to design an email marketing plan to reach just those customers. Large-scale general emailing campaigns that try and reach a wide general audience are usually not as effective as well targeting messages.

Don’t Spam your Customers

Spam email has become the scourge of the Internet. Any consumer that uses the Internet regularly will potentially receive hundreds of unsolicited emails each day. Making your email marketing message standout from these less than welcome emails is the challenge for all email marketing your online business creates.

Anti-spam laws now exist that your online business must comply with. Generally, these revolve around privacy issues. Your email marketing messages should be requested by the people you send them to. This is why your email sign-up systems must ask permission to send email messages to your customers. Any unsolicited messages could be deemed spam and a breech of your customer’s privacy. The EU is tightening up on spam email so make sure your campaign is operated within the law.

Email Marketing Checklist

There is a lot to consider when you start to design an email marketing campaign for your online business. As a form of website promotion email can be highly effective if you follow the guidance below:

Your Opt in Messages
Before you can send any marketing email to the customers that visit your website you must ask their permission. Make sure the opt in webpage on your website clearly displays details of the email your online business will be sending.

Composition and Design
As with all the other types of communication your online business sends out, take some time to design and check the email marketing messages you compose. A copywriter and web designer can be a great help when creating professional email marketing messages.

Track your Responses
One of the most important aspects of your email marketing campaign is tracking the responses you get. This is vital to see how effective your messages are. You can use the information to improve your email marketing and increase the sales your online business enjoys.

HTML or Plain Text
Today the HTML email has almost totally taken over from plain text. However, most of the HTML emails you will see enable the recipient to also receive the email as a text only message if their email program can’t display HTML messages, or if this feature has been turned off. Always provide both formats to ensure the maximum number of recipients can open and view your email message.

Market Segmentation
It is important to realise that your online business could sell to a global audience. As such the email marketing messages you send must be tailored to select groups of customers. In the world of email marketing one size definitely doesn’t fit all.

No Hard Sell
Remember that every email marketing campaign you send doesn’t necessarily have to be selling something. Communication with your customers about news or events that your business is involved with is just as interesting to your customers as new products or services. Keeping in touch with customers is vitally important to build brand loyalty, but watch out you don’t send too many messages too often.

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