Ever since the Internet went online, email has been hugely popular with everyone. At first, it was just a tool to keep in contact with people in one’s office, but soon, it became the tool of choice for marketers online. Knowing how to develop an email contact list and how to market to people online can establish your business and make your sales grow exponentially.
The basic steps for email marketing
While the basic steps are easy, you can create variations and specific marketing strategies to appeal to the reader of your emails, no matter what step you’re on. Literally, you will want to do the following to start an email campaign:
- Set up a capture page
This is the page that entices readers to add their names to your mailing list. It can include a free offer, like a newsletter, report, or ebook, or it can give out a coupon as a nice gift for adding their names.
- Use a double opt-in form
Next, you want to use specific techniques to safeguard your email list from spammers and hackers. The double opt-in is the standard practice these days, and we’ll go over that further later.
- Set up autoresponders
After you have captured an email and verified the new subscriber, you’ll want to send them a thank you for subscribing. There are numerous activities that you will want to do to confirm some step in the email campaign, and if you were to do them all manually, you’d never get off of the computer. That’s why you need to set up autoresponders to work for you.
- Create multiple lists
While everyone may be signing up using the same tools, they may not all go onto the same list. You should categorize your subscribers so that you can target them quite specifically with particular products and promotions that will appeal to them.
- Design different marketing campaigns
You don’t just want to have a generic marketing campaign; you want something that will appeal to the demographic on your email list.
- Use sales techniques that impact the psyche
Create an emotional response that gets your customers to buy. Have some great ideas for triggering basic buying behavior via the content in your email.
- Automate the delivery of your products
It should be part of your email marketing campaign to offer delivery as soon as possible. We’ll show you what products lend themselves well to email marketing campaigns and why.
- Keep track of what’s working
This is crucial to figuring out whether your campaign is successful or not. Some people put all of the pieces into place except for this one and then wonder why their work is not paying off. Learn what things you want to track to make sure that your email campaigns are proving to be effective.
- Customize the steps to your audience
While the basic steps will be the same for everyone, not everyone’s audience is the same. It’s up to you to figure what triggers will work best with your demographic and to implement procedures that will help you develop a better email marketing campaign.
Write it up on paper first
Like setting in place a mini-business plan, you can start to brainstorm how you will put in place the many steps that we’ve provided for you. Each step of the way is going to be a learning process, and you will probably need to tweak things as you go along, but if you want to start off on the right foot, put together a master plan.
This is particularly important if you are going to generate email lists across multiple websites and social networking platforms. Even though the steps are simple, the entire process can get very complicated when you are working with multiple lists from multiple websites. That’s when you’re going to have to plan ahead of time how to centralize your operations and how to keep track of people who may be on two of the lists that you own. What will you do if one person should be upgraded to a list whereby they are offered pricier items in email campaigns? Do you have mechanisms in place to realize that you should take them off the original list and put them on another list? If you don’t do this, you may end up sending duplicate emails, and they may get confused and frustrated with your services. Simplify as much as you can about how you will track the basic steps before you start.
Set up a capture page
A capture page is a leads sales form. Here you’re not so much interested in making a sale as in getting a lead. It doesn’t mean that you don’t use the same strategies as you would with a regular sales page; it just means that the end result is not going to be a sale. You should never try to sell something to someone right away when you are trying to capture his/her email address. It makes him/her suspicious. Instead, take the time to court your email sales prospects and offer them some incentive to sign up to your email list.
List the benefits
Just like a regular sales page would list the benefits, you are going to want to do that too on your sales lead capture page. Why should they sign up for your email list? Are they going to learn something through a free report? Are you going to make their lives easier? How much money can you save them if they take the time to add their name to your list? You alone know what the main motivation might be from your core audience.
List the biggest benefit up at the top, just like a regular sales page, and some other benefits after an opt-in form. If the capture page is too large, repeat the opt-in form over the length of the page so that people can remember to sign up.
Ask them to sign up
Just like you need to ask people to buy, you also need to make a specific request for them to sign up. It sounds redundant, but people often need a little nudge to do what they really want to do anyways. You’re just making sure that they know that they are welcome to sign up.
You can even reassure the people who sign up that you don’t give out the email addresses to other partners, if that’s the case. Your content should be easily read, and the form should be easy to fill in.
Use a double opt-in form
The easiest opt-in form for users is one where they are simply asked for their email address and password. That email address is verified by sending out a verification email. Once the subscriber opens his/her email, he/she can click the link that will approve the new sign-in. This keeps automatic spammers and hackers who want to add others to your list to create mischief out of your list. It means that the user of the email address himself/herself must verify that the sign-up is valid.
Set up autoresponders
Autoresponders are email inboxes that receive email and automatically send out a reply. If you set up your systems right, you can set up an autoresponder to be triggered at the moment a sale is finalized to send out a “thank you” note. Anytime a customer or visitor takes an action to email you or to buy something, you can have the autoresponder kick in and market to them some more.
Different autoresponders for different actions
You can set up an autoresponder to welcome people to your email list. The first email autoresponse that you contact a prospective customer with should never sell him/her anything. Instead, it should be an introduction to who you are and what you hope to achieve based on this new relationship. It may seem a bit slow to start off with something this innocuous, but it sets the stage for building a gradual trust between you and the customer.
Other times you might want to set autoresponders is when they buy something from you or when they email you for specific things. You can set up an entire set of autoresponders for different functions, such as customer service and help desk functions. Just be sure that if the problem needs to be escalated to a live person that the customer can do that at some point.
Different autoresponders for different campaigns
Along with setting up autoresponders for different actions, you also want to set up different autoresponders for different marketing campaigns. Once you assign someone to a list, for instance, you might find him/her to be in the low-income list. In that case, your email messages may be different to this group than to the ones who you expect to buy more because they have higher incomes.
You can also set up autoresponders to issue emails to a list at specific intervals. You will just set up the content of the email and then put it on a schedule to send out to your different lists. That way, if your campaign goes on for three months, and your customers get a new email from you every week, you don’t have to do this all by hand. The nice thing about automating your marketing campaigns is that when someone is automatically added to your email lists, they will end up being put on an autoresponder list for just the right campaign, and it goes on by itself after that. This leaves you free to concentrate on the actual content of the emails and promotions instead of trying to email people and keeping track of everyone.
Create multiple lists
As you go about your Internet marketing activities, you will find that you are creating lists at different places. You might have a separate list of contacts for leads at several different websites. You might have a few for social networking sites. You might even have some that came through via a blog setup. You need to be aware of where your contacts are coming from and how to market to them. The best way is to centralize your activities and to create two master lists.
Two master lists
One master list should include all of the people who are customers and the other master list should include all of the people who are sales partners or affiliates. The reason for this is that you obviously will never be sending the same emails to either of these groups, so it’s safe to split them up this way. Anytime you get a new contact, and you have his/her permission to contact him/her, you should put his/her name on either of these two lists. You can do this automatically or via a mass import, depending on where you got the contact. It will be harder to add social networking emails, and you can only solicit those that go to your website and agree to sign up to your email list. These lists are not going to be used to market to anyone. They will only be used for informational purposes. In a way, they act as a mass bulletin board for two distinct classes of people who you are dealing with online.
Split them down further for autoresponders
Once you have the two master lists, you are ready to split them into demographic categories. You might want three lists so you can use them to create three campaigns: low-priced items, mid-range-priced items, and expensive items. Obviously, these correspond to a three-way split of income levels if you know that information. If you don’t know the information, you can just automatically add people to the low-income list unless they selfidentify themselves by making a large purchase. Then, they would automatically go on the high-income list due to their own actions.
The advantage to this system is that now you know to whom you are marketing and what to offer them. The next thing is to develop a series of emails that will be sent out at regular intervals as a strategic marketing campaign. As you can see, this means that you will have multiple emails flying back and forth; even if you only have 20 subscribers, it’s going to be a hassle trying to do this by hand. That’s why you should look into outsourcing your autoresponding system. A service like Poptin is not that expensive and can help guide you on the best way to start setting up your campaigns without much trouble.