getting-startedIn most of these posts, I talk about ways you can improve your email marketing efforts, or ideas you can try in your email marketing campaigns. However, if you’re new to the world of email marketing, these are things that probably haven’t entered your mind yet. You might even be wondering why you should even use email marketing. In this post, I’ll aim to answer some of the questions you may have, and guide you towards getting your first email marketing campaign off the ground.

Why Use Email Marketing?

This is probably the first question you’ll have when embarking on a marketing strategy for your business. Why should you use email marketing over more traditional methods of marketing (like newspaper or radio advertising), or more modern methods (like mobile and social media)?

Email has multiple benefits over other methods of marketing. There are currently three times more email addresses than there are both Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. It is also consistently the marketing method that offers the greatest return on your investment: email campaigns make around £25 for every £1 spend on them. Email marketing campaigns are also quick and easy to get off the ground, and customers like receiving them. If this has convinced you to use email, here are some tips to help you get started:

Decide On Your Goal

Before you embark on your first email campaign, you’ll need to decide on what you want you want the goal of your email campaign to be. Although increasing your customer base is probably the first goal that springs to mind, when starting out with email marketing, it’s best to be as specific as possible. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website, or more footfall to your store? Do you want people to try a particular new product in your range? Or do you want to make people aware of an offer or promotion you’re running? This goal will dictate almost everything about your email campaign, including it’s design, content and who you send it to. Having a clear goal will also help ensure you’ll achieve success with your email campaigns.

This email from Graham and Green has a very clear goal: they want their customers to shop in their sale before time runs out:

Graham and Green Subject Graham and Green Header Graham and Green Sale

Build Your Mailing List

Before you even think about putting together your first email campaign, you’ll need to work to build a solid, quality mailing list. To do this, you will need to capture the email address of people who are interested in your business (do not buy a mailing list; this will instantly mark your emails as spam).

There are a number of ways you can capture people’s email addresses. If you have a physical store, you can ask your customers for their email address during a transaction, or you can request sign ups on your social media pages. But, by far the most widely used, and most successful, way to build a mailing list is by using a sign up form on your website.

Most web pages contain something like this, from Phase Eight, used to capture email address for a mailing list:

Phase Eight Sign Up
However, if you’re new to email marketing and building your list from scratch, you may need to be more persuasive with your sign up form. Some companies, like Hotels.com, list the benefits that their mailing list offers on their sign up form:

Hotels Sign Up

You could also offer a small discount to people who sign up to your mailing list, like Gap do:

Gap Sign Up

The main thing to remember is to keep your sign up form simple. If customers have to enter a huge amount of details on your sign up form, it might put them off signing up at all. You might need to try a few different sign up forms to see which works best for your business.

Once you have a quality mailing list, you can then start working on your email campaign.

In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the different types of email campaigns you can send, and show you how to put together your first campaign.