Developing An
Email Marketing Strategy

Your email marketing strategy is a blueprint for getting the most out of sending sales and marketing emails to your customers. There are lots (and lots!) of resources about email marketing and this article is a high level starting point before you roll up your sleeves and look at specific email marketing tips and tactics.

Email Marketing Strategy

As with everything else, you will need to invest time and effort in developing your own email marketing strategy and figuring out what works in connecting to your customers via email. Email marketing is a powerful too but as with all other business activities, you must apply common sense and adapt techniques and strategies to your own business.

Get help with your Email Marketing Strategy or share your expertise and experiences!

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Email Marketing Strategy: Sales vs Bulk Emails

I think it is important to make a distinction right off the bat between sales emails and those that are part of a mass email marketing campaign. Sales emails are generally used in enterprise sales and marketing efforts where you are communicating with individual contacts within a company in order to develop a business relationship with that organization. Sales email require a specific etiquette which is different from the tips and advice that apply to mass customer emails.

Generally speaking, sales emails are like the individual conversations that you have with customers. These business emails should be short and to-the-point and their tone and content will reflect your specific relationship with that person and where you are in the sales process. Try to differentiate between things that are better communicated in person or on the phone versus email and make sure your email has an objective and a follow-up step.

Your mass email marketing communications consist of your newsletter and periodic updates and announcements to customers and prospects. The goal of mass email marketing is to provide valuable insights and information that reinforce your credibility as an expert and give you a chance to stay in touch with customers. The #1 rule of sales and marketing mass emails is not to sell or market unless you are providing a special offer. Rather, the best newsletters are fun to read and provide useful content.

Email Marketing Strategy:
Creating an Email List

I have already covered why you should NEVER buy email marketing lists and so your primary goal in developing an email marketing process is to build your own list. While this is easier that you might think, it does take time and you should be patient in waiting for returns from your email marketing efforts. The first – and only! - step in collecting customer emails is... ask! Simply ask your customers for their e-mail addresses and start building your list.

Email Marketing Strategy

Make it a habit to ask customers if it is okay if you stay in touch with them from time to time and send them updates and offers. This should be part of what you say in person and on the phone as well as asking for email addresses on your website and in other communications. Ask people for their email addresses when they buy from you and when they don't! Most people will not mind giving you their email address as long as you promise not to spam them or give their information to anyone else.

You may or may not use a bonafide email marketing system to manage your email list and marketing campaigns and if you do not, that is fine. This may be something that you return to at a later date once you have built up your email marketing list but for now you can just as well use a spreadsheet and your regular e-mail program. Make sure you have a business email address and do not send marketing emails from a personal email account as this is unprofessional.

Email Marketing Strategy: Content

The centerpiece of your email marketing strategy is having something useful to say to your customers. Whether you are sending a one-to-one business email or sending out a mass email to all of your customers and prospects, think about your reason for communicating with them and why they should even bother to read your email. As well, give your customers a reason to get back in touch with you.

Email Marketing Strategy

The best way to go about developing a strategy for mass emails is to keep yourself up-to-date with developments in your industry. If you can send your customers links, articles, downloads, reports and so forth that they will find beneficial in their own work then you will become a valuable ally and a trusted advisor to them. The last thing people want is to receive a sales or marketing advert with the sole purpose of trying to convince them to buy something.

It is also a great idea to send customers greetings on holidays and, if possible, to personalize your email efforts by sending people notes on their birthdays (customers love that!). These kinds of well-meaning gestures will be very well received by your customers and, once again, you should not pollute your good intentions with blatant sales and marketing pitches. What you are trying to to instead is develop a relationship with customers and get them to a point where they look forward to your emails.

Email Marketing Strategy: ”You”

What is your Marketing Personality and how do your customers picture you and your business? One of the worst mistakes you can make with email nowadays is to be too formal and forget to personalize your message. Rather, try and impart some warmth and feeling to your email communications while continuing to build your brand. Humor does not hurt either! Are there themes or special sections or bulletins you can add to your newsletters to make them interesting?

Email Marketing Strategy

Your sales and marketing message should always be ”you”-centric which means that you focus on your customer and speak to them directly (hence the word “you”!). Try and develop a conversational approach to your email communications rather that simply making impersonal announcements that will end up boring people. Talking to your customers as if you were speaking to them directly is the best way to engage their attention and generate interest.

The tone and content of your emails should be in line with your other marketing channels and you should always reinforce your Marketing Personality – aka brand – with every customer communication. Your emails can also be tied to other channels such as your blog or website updates, social media, marketing brochures and so forth. That way, you can maximize the impact of your marketing emails and create a message that is repeated over time in order to create awareness and help generate buzz your business.

Get help with your Email Marketing Strategy!

Mass Email Marketing Basics35 Email List Marketing TipsEmail Marketing ListsChoosing an Email Marketing SystemBusiness Email TipsMarketing Communication MixMarketing Communication PlanMarketing Communication StrategyIntegrated Marketing CommunicationMarketing Communication ProcessInteractive Marketing Communication"You" MessagingEmail Marketing Strategy Consultant

Create your own Email Marketing page!

Do you have insights, strategies or a story about email marketing to share with other readers? Perhaps you have implemented a new strategy that is working really well or have insights into how the role of email marketing is continuing to evolve. Send in your thoughts in as much detail as you like to create a page in this section.

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