Email marketing can be extremely cost effective, but as with any other form of marketing you must target the right audience. Unsolicited email commonly known as SPAM is illegal, but according to the New York Times it accounts for 94 percent of all emails sent. People are easily annoyed by unsolicited email which is irrelevant to them and it is likely that they will delete any email which falls into this category without a second thought.
A successful email campaign will focus on people who have already expressed an interest in your brand or content. If your organization keeps a large database of fans, it may be worth breaking them down into groups so that you can target more effectively, with free email marketing or not. For example, securing a donation from somebody who has had direct help from your organization may take a different approach from somebody who has expressed a passing interest in supporting you.
As already mentioned, it is usually illegal to send unsolicited email. It means unless somebody has opted to receive email from you, they cannot be added to your mailing list.
Once you have a person’s consent, it is legal to send them newsletters. However, you must provide them with the option to opt in-out. Failing to do this can land you in hot water with the authorities. Use an experienced email service provider agency if in any doubt!
Build your mailing list
One of the most difficult parts of an email marketing campaign is convincing people to subscribe. Your website is an obvious place to start. If you don’t already have an email newsletter registration form, make it a priority to have one up and running as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to highlight the benefits of registering for your visitors. Be careful not to ask for too much information-name and email address are usually enough.
If you offer any other registration services on your site, adding an email newsletter tick-box is another good way to pick up subscribers. This provides visitors who are signing up to receive other services the additional option to be added to your email newsletter list.
Your email newsletter must provide value to your subscribers. They must find it interesting and relevant. Your subscribers will want to scan quickly through your newsletter to find something interesting. A good way to manage this is providing the heading and first paragraph of several articles along with a ‘read more’ link which takes readers directly to the full article on your website. This not only helps your readers to skip straight to the content that interests them, but also enables you to gather statistics on which articles are most popular.
The right email marketing system will enable you to set up messages which are customized with your subscribers’ details. “Dear Cameron” is a much more effective way to get a person’s attention than “Dear Subscriber”.
Getting Something Back
As well as providing value to your readers, your newsletter must provide some benefit to you as an organization. Before you begin putting together content, take time to think about the aims of your newsletter. What do you want people to think when they read it? What action(s) do you want them to perform as a result?
Statistics are, without doubt, the single most vital piece of this jigsaw. A good set of statistics will enable you to measure success and adjust campaigns for the future.
Once your email has found its way to your subscribers, the email marketing service provider will help you to track the number of subscribers who have read your newsletter and links clicked.