Email has been around for a very long time. It is for this reason that some people consider it to be old fashioned, especially in the face of text-messaging and social media. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Email is still relevant today, caries most of our important conversations, and is a viable tool that could be the answer for you, for cost effective marketing. In order to conduct effective email marketing campaigns, you need to be mindful of the salient practices that, if followed, would spell out the difference between success and dismal failure.
Conducting an email marketing campaign is nothing less than an art-form. You need to begin with the end in mind, and set out a strategy to execute, in order to achieve your goals. You also have to bear in mind, that email marketing is more than sending a carefully worded email as you would to your friends or relatives.
You have to factor in a lot of variables, such as how often to send out the emails. The frequency aside, the particular content of those emails carries a lot of weight. The campaign, has to be structured with the intent to avoid alienating your audience. You have to take into account people factors, as well as technological considerations.
We often tend to think that the marketing dynamics change tremendously, if the marketing platform changes. The truth of the matter, however, is that the fundamentals practically remain consistent, whether your are on email, social media or video marketing.
The fact that you use email on a daily basis should not detract from your attention to the fact that, like marketing online in general, you have to factor in the variables of branding and content strategy.
The success of your email marketing campaign, will depend on whether you have taken care of the branding aspect, and are providing relevant content. The technology you use is also very important.
In an email marketing campaign, you will send out emails that may range from below a hundred, to several thousand recipients. It is not realistic to think that you can manage the sending of all these emails, using your regular email program.
To manage your email campaign properly, you will require specialised software, that is specifically designed to handle mailing lists. The software should be able to schedule when emails are sent out, and sends them out in a controlled manner, to avoid overloading your server.
The most important aspect of these software programs, is the ability to allow people to subscribe and unsubscribe from your mailing list, if they so wish, or even allow them to subscribe to different lists. There is nothing more annoying than being on a mailing list from which you cannot get out, and it is critical that you provide the choice to leave, for people on your mailing lists.
There are several solutions for software that you may use for your mailing list management, including the free and open-source PHPList, that can be installed on your web server. Software that needs to be installed on the server, requires technical expertise to install, and you may require the assistance of your web developer. Alternatively, you may use a cloud based service like MailChimp, which offers some basic features for free.
The biggest challenge when using email marketing, is building a mailing list, to which to direct your marketing efforts. It is not easy to build a valuable list, that is responsive to your emails and produces results.
Ideally, your mailing list should contain emails of people, who have opted to be on the receiving end of your emails. It is not a good idea to just garner emails from anywhere and build a list, because if you do, you will have a larger number of email recipients who are annoyed by your emails, and stand the risk of your website IP address being blacklisted.
As an email user, you are no doubt familiar with spam. The annoying unwanted emails that find their way into our inboxes. When we get such mail, we tend to report it as spam, and recipients of your emails from your campaigns will do the same to your emails, if they are unsolicited.
When this happens too often, your website IP address will be blacklisted, and mail servers using that blacklist will block your emails from being delivered. This ruins the reputation of your website, and also means that some of your emails will not get delivered.
The answer to avoid being blacklisted, is to do both of two things. The first is to make sure that you aim to provide value to your email recipients in your content. Provide them with something useful, or helpful in the emails. Do not just aim to make a sales pitch all the time. Rather aim to build relationships, through providing value over a series of emails, over time.
The second thing is to consider providing double opt-in, when subscribing people to your mailing lists. This is something to be handled by your mailing list software. A double opt-in first gets the recipient to subscribe, after which they must confirm their subscription, by clicking a link sent to their email. This way, you are sure that only people interested in your emails are on your mailing list and you maintain your reputation.
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