Five steps to a successful permission-based email campaign

12 Apr 2007

Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

Last time, I talked about spam and how to avoid falling into the bulk folder. The trick is to make sure your email campaigns are entirely permission-based. You can do this by following a few simple steps:

Step One: Sign up for a permission-based email software package. IntelliContact Pro has a ton of advanced features for handling your campaigns. It makes it easy to create and send newsletters. It also includes a slew of tracking statistics so you can see how effective your messages are. It will even manage subscriptions and bounced messages for you. It automates a lot of the grunt work involved in an email marketing campaign.

Step Two: You’ll have to decide what type of campaign you want to run and how frequently you want to send your messages. I recommend sending at least a monthly newsletter. Of course, if you sell more than one product, it might be a good idea to send multiple messages. Just be sure to keep your broadcast times consistent. You may consider sending promotional messages offering a discount or coupon for your product.

Step Three: Add a sign-up form to your website. The sign-up form lets you collect a group of addresses for your sending lists. We’ve found that it’s generally safe to import anyone who did business with you in the last year or so. Just make sure to send content relevant to what they purchased. (Always provide value!)

Step Four: Create an effective email template. A lot of email software programs include HTML templates. IntelliContact Pro actually comes with over 300 design templates. You can also create one in-house or use a graphic-design service.

Step Five: Develop quality relevant content for your messages. I cannot speak highly enough of providing relevant content for your customers. We all find it refreshing when, instead of the typical spam messages, we get an email that actually enhances our lives.

As your contact lists grow, you’ll notice increased traffic on the day of and the days following a message broadcast.

Next time, I’ll talk about building a strong, recognizable identity for your customers. This concept will help you improve your open rates and cement a strong relationship with your customers.

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