The right way to create the perfect email marketing campaign (technical stuff)
There are some very important factors to remember when creating an email to send out if you writing the email by hand. The reason for this is that there are no standards to speak of so the different clients all have different engines for showing the emails. For example Outlook 2007 has an engine that is inferior in terms of CSS than Outlook 2003; this is a big step backwards.
1. Use HTML tables to control the design layout and some presentation. You may be used to using pure CSS layouts for your web pages, but that approach just won’t hold up in an email environment.
2. Use inline CSS to control other presentation elements within your email, such as background colours and fonts.
If you do not feel up to creating an email template by hand then you can either commission a designer to create a template for you or you can download templates off of the internet and modify them. If you are using a mailing house to send the email they will almost defiantly have templates you can use and modify or indeed they may well have a custom template design option, this can prove an inexpensive option and is often the best way to get that great email. However be aware of the rules above as it is very easy to fall into website programming mode and do a large block of CSS that will not always appear as you wish.
Always offer the user an option to unsubscribe to your email, this is very important as it is illegal to send unsolicited emails and it is illegal to send email and not offer a user to opt out.
How to build an email contact list
There are a number of ways you can build a contact list. Most companies will have a contact list of some sort that they can use. There is no best way to get contact details I would recommend the following steps to build up that valuable database:
On your website offer people the opportunity to download your newsletter however to really make this work you need to add an incentive. This can be anything from a meal for two at a restaurant for one in every 500 subscribers to a free white paper on a relevant and hot topic in the industry, just add an incentive.
If you exhibited at a show add a fish bowl or box on the stand offering a prize (I won an iPod touch once doing this) just state clearly that you will be sending them your newsletter once a month.
Again if you have a CPD seminar, offer out a questioner at the end (you should be doing this anyway). On this ask for an email address and ensure they are aware they are opting in to receiving your newsletter, state the frequency (once a month at the max or people will get feed up and unsubscribe). Try and capture as much data as possible as you want to ensure that the special promotion goes to the right people, after all is an Architect interested in your 10% off bricks on Monday, I think not.
“The Key to a successful email marketing campaign is to ensure that the audience you are sending information to wants to receive it.”