Getting Started With Email Marketing

email-marketingAs an Implementation Manager at WhatCounts, my job is to help you with technical configuration and provide platform training and support to get you started on the right foot, with the best email delivery possible.

In my role, I get asked a lot of questions about all aspects of email marketing. Because one size does not fit all, I often find it a useful exercise to turn those questions back around to promote introspection and brainstorming which will help you adhere to best practices and excel in your email marketing program.

Below are frequent topics that arise:

1. Subscription and permission

  • What is the sign up experience like for a new subscriber – clear and easy?
  • Are you truly asking for permission?
  • Are you setting expectations with regard to frequency and ANYTHING ELSE a subscriber should know about? (Tip: use a landing page, or a welcome email, or both.)

2. Privacy policy

  • If you don’t have one on your website – get one!

3. List Hygiene

  • Consider double-opt-in as the best way to get a clean list of addresses.
  • When migrating from another ESP, and exporting addresses, do you know which subscribers previously hard bounced, complained, or opted out so that you don’t mistakenly import them?
  • Do you know which of your subscribers are currently active and engaged?

4. Avoid SPAM complaints

  • How? Start by referring back to all points above. Also think about…
  • By definition, SPAM is unsolicited email. People will have different opinions of what they consider to be SPAM, even if they subscribed to it.
  • It only takes a small number of spam complaints for delivery problems to arise, so you need to look inward and figure out WHY someone would be complaining and fix it ASAP. (See next bullet points as a place to start.)
  • Will you send targeted/relevant/timely messages? At what frequency?
  • Is opting out difficult or not obvious?
  • Do you have a way to get feedback or ask for subscriber preferences?

5. Goals

  • Decide in advance what specific responses and goals you wish to achieve with each email campaign. Gauging your success on goals that are too generic, such as “be relevant” or “send compelling email” will be challenging.

For example, are you trying to:

    • drive customers to visit your site or store?
    • motivate purchases?
    • introduce a new product?
    • obtain registration for a service?
    • inform with a monthly newsletter?

Setting goals will not only help you be successful in the long run, but it will make an immediate decision such as “what should be in my creative template?” much easier to answer.

The above list is designed to make you think! If you’ve been email marketing for a while, perhaps you’ll use this as an opportunity to reflect on your existing program and make some changes. If email marketing is a new endeavor, then hopefully my list will lend focus to the things that you need to do in order to take that next step (with your other right foot) and jump into email marketing!

Liz Rosen
Implementation Manager, WhatCounts

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