My colleagues and I are immersed in the world of web marketing and take a lot of our skill sets for granted. One such skill is email marketing, the sending of an email to a list. While it is simple to do, and something we do at least every other day, 4 out of 5 companies I talk to are not doing it, and a good percentage of those who are doing it are doing it wrong, harmfully wrong. So here in four easy steps, is how to do email marketing.
Step 1: Gather your list.
Seems commonsensical, but most companies struggle when asked to produce a basic “house list”, let alone lists delineated by variables such as how old the contact information is, how it was received, if a product or service was bought by the contact, and so on. Short of setting up a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system, put out an “all points bulletin” to your company and collect all the names into a spreadsheet. Simple as that, put them into an excel spreadsheet, have a company name, contact name, mailing address, phone number, and of course, an email address. You need more than just the email address, spammers have just an email address, legitimate emailers have contact information.
Step 2: Join an Email Service Provider (ESP).
ESPs are different from Internet Service Providers (ISPs); ESPs are a new element in the ever-evolving arms race against spammers. If you are going to send an email to a list, you want to send that email through an ESP or you are likely going to end up in a spam filter (they are free to join, and they charge about a penny an email). Invariably receivers of emails sent to a list will click the spam button, and the ISP will ask “who sent this?” If no one replies the ISP blacklists the Internet Protocol (IP) address, automatically getting your emails dumped into spam folders. When you use an ESP they reply to the ISP; “We sent that, we have full contact information including name, address, phone number, this is not spam,” and the ISP relents. There are many ESPs to choose from, I’ll make it simple and suggest this one: VerticalResponse.
Step 3: Email your list with valuable content.
Arguably this is the easiest to state, but the hardest to do. Pick an interval, say once a month, and send a meaningful email that contains something of value. This is where you either win or lose; send nothing of value and you are spamming, send something of value and you are building your tribe. If you are having trouble coming up with something of value you can send in an email, email me and after I find out what your company does I’ll let you know what others in your industry are offering.
Step 4: Keep building your list, keep emailing your list.
Create a quota for everyone in your company; each needs to contribute three new contacts to the list each month. Start keeping segmented lists; in addition to the master “house list”, build lists that are finer grained. Stick to your e-mailing schedule, it must be a high priority. Keep sending emails that contain something of value.
There are steps beyond these, such as adding Marketing Automation to the mix, but email marketing is so simple, and virtually free, that if your company is not doing it, you are missing out on a powerful tool.
About Yves Matson
Yves is a seasoned and proven sales and marketing leader in information technology, marketing, and manufacturing. From the boardroom to the trenches, he is a well-rounded Business Development professional who has helped small start-ups to large companies successfully bridge the gap of sales transformation.