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5 steps to email marketing success

5 steps to email marketing successSmall business owners often have a lot on their plate and will take on many roles. When it comes to marketing, one of the key challenges for any small business is identifying the mediums that will generate the most ROI for their business. Email marketing is one such medium that is proving its worth. So what makes an email marketing campaign successful?

Email is a medium that can be used to market your business economically and effectively. Email marketing makes use of a quantifiable strategy that allows you to monitor progress in real-time, while ensuring measurable and ROI driven results. It’s a strategy that’s definitely proving its worth. In fact, a recent Jupiter Research report revealed that email marketing is set to grow at a staggering 75 percent by 2012, reaching $2.1 billion.

But with phrases such as ‘spam overload’ buzzing by on the ether, it’s crucial for businesses looking to email marketing to also have the right processes, procedures and measurements that ensure a message is interesting and of value to the target audience.

Here are five simple steps to help point marketers in the right direction when devising an effective email marketing strategy:

1. Establish your objectives
As with any communications program, it is important to ensure that your email campaign fits with your business’ overall marketing goals. Take the time to understand the key characteristics of your target market to ensure there’s a clear focus on your offerings and the message that you want to communicate.

2. Define your target audience
Different people respond to different messages so always remember to be as specific as you possibly can when you identify your target segments and craft your communication. If your research reveals that email marketing may not be the most suitable method for engaging a certain segment, then be open to considering other means to deliver your message. For example, mobile marketing via voice or SMS messages may be more suitable than email in order to engage members of Gen Y. Conduct research into your audience demographic and habits to devise the most suitable form of engagement.

3. Build your message
The time it takes to decide whether to open an email or delete it is only a fraction of a second. Simply put: if it doesn’t spark our interest, we just won’t bother.

If you want your email message to be read, you need to deliver your message in a clear and straightforward manner. Make a point to develop a message that is interesting, personal, easy to read, and relevant to the recipients interests. Always remember to write in a friendly, approachable tone and encourage a quick response with eye-catching visuals and a click-through to your business website.

4. Determine your offer

By using your database, you can target specific demographic groups with offers that suit their needs and interests. Personalise your email offer and don’t be afraid to make it more compelling than an offer your customer could find in a retail store or even through your competitor.

Lead generation offers such as free samples, free gifts, white papers, sweepstakes/contests and free webinars, have all proven effective.

5. Test and Measure
The tools that you have access to are very insightful and can, in real time, inform of the deliverability, opening rate, click-through-rate as well as conversions. This provides the opportunity to make adjustments to any element of the email on-the-fly, to ensure that it is as effective as possible.

For example, you can test the important elements of the email message like subject lines and long versus short copy, at very little or no extra cost. A simple A/B test can go a long way. You can then either split the entire target list in half and test one against the other or take a random, smaller sample and do a pre-test.

In a tough economic climate, your marketing strategy needs to be creative, innovative and outside-the-box in order for your business to remain competitive. It is the ability to make significant changes to your marketing efforts and strategies without incurring significant business risk that makes email marketing a fantastic platform to generate new business and opportunities.

Joanne Rigby is the Marketing Director, Asia Pacific for Premier Global Services.

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Joanne Rigby

Joanne Rigby

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