January 18, 2010

Email Marketing: How to Devise a Strategy for Your Business


Hostway Team

By Kristie Lorette

Email marketing is a highly effective and inexpensive way for businesses of all sizes to build relationships with customers and boost business sales. Email marketing can take on several different formats including promotional email coupons, e-newsletters, surveys and articles. Follow these steps to create an email marketing plan for your business to help your sales grow.

Steps to Planning an Email Campaign

An email campaign consists of several email communications sent to your database over a specified period. Generally, a campaign requires at least one email communication per month. Depending on your audience, the frequency of your emails may increase to twice a month or once a week. When you’re ready to start an email campaign, your first step is to create an email marketing plan.

  • Know your audience. It’s important for you to think, feel and get to know everything you can about your audience or target market. Find out what they like, what they dislike, whether they’re male, female, fall into a certain age group or income bracket. All of this information helps you to get inside the heads of your target market, so you can create email marketing messages and develop campaigns that speak directly to them.
  • Choose touch points and write them on the calendar. Now it’s time to plan out how frequently you’ll send out your emails. A particular event may trigger an email to go out or it may be around events happening in your business or industry. For example, if you’re a beauty salon owner, you may schedule an initial email to go out to a new client after their first visit to your salon. The email may include a coupon for a discount off their next visit to the salon (to incent them to come back). Try to schedule out your email campaigns for six months to a year into the future.
  • Plan content and assemble. Using your email campaign schedule and themes as a guide, the next step is to write the copy, gather graphics and assemble the emails. You can send plain text emails from your email inbox. Or you can use online software programs that offer templates and an easy cut-and-paste type system for small businesses to create professional emails. These software systems are also contact management systems that allow you to collect subscriber information and put your email marketing on autopilot with email deployment scheduling and more.
  • Track the results. Especially if you’re sending out a coupon or email that contains a coupon, be sure to add code to your email so you can track the response rate and results. Tracking your results allows you to weave promotion items that work into future campaigns or tweak campaigns to find what works.

Email marketing campaigns allow you to consistently communicate with your current and prospective clients. By consistently communicating with your audience, you increase your opportunity to boost your sales. Before you launch your next email campaign, create an email marketing plan to help ensure the success of using this strategy for your business.

About the Author

Copywriter and marketing consultant, Kristie Lorette, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and businesses create copy and marketing pieces that sizzle, motivate and sell. It is through her over 14 years of experience working in various roles of marketing, financial services, real estate and event planning, where Kristie developed her widespread expertise in advanced business and marketing strategies and communications. Kristie earned her BS in marketing and BS in multinational business from Florida State University, and her MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

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