Thirty-day free trials and limited freemium editions of popular email marketing software packages give small and medium-sized business owners the opportunity to trial the internet’s most cost effective and potentially lucrative online marketing solution.
By John Hayes, EMEA Business Development Executive for iContact
However, no matter how sophisticated your email marketing software is, without a solid marketing plan behind it, your campaigns will lack punch.
This is a big problem for many SME marketers. They know that email marketing offers an amazing opportunity to build relationships with their existing clients and prospects and maximise their potential from customer lifetime value. However, a lack of strategy, time and basic email marketing knowhow can often result in a 30-day trial expiring before it has even begun.
iContact, an email marketing company for small and medium-sized businesses, recognised that free trail software is not enough to kick-start many SME marketing campaigns and so have produced a 30-Day Starter Plan to help guide new email marketers through the initial set-up, launch and early-stage reporting and testing processes.
It’s basically 10 steps and a timescale for the completion of each task:
• Step 1 (Days 1-2): Set your goals and build your plan – As with any business venture, you should set clear objectives prior to launching your email marketing strategy. The first question you should ask yourself is: What do I want to achieve from my email marketing?
• Step 2 (Days 3-5): Complete the Big Audit – Before you start your first email marketing campaign, you’ll want to take stock of the resources available to you and ensure everything is in place to maximize your opportunity.
• Step 3 (Day 6): Set up your account and build a recognisable profile – Setting up an account before your first send is very easy. Your main focus should be customizing your profile so email recipients can clearly identify your business or organisation.
• Step 4 (Day 7-8): Import, build and manage your contact lists – The process of importing your lists into your email marketing system should be fairly straightforward. It is important to make sure your naming convention (i.e., the name you give each list) is clear and concise, so you can easily organize and manage your lists alongside your campaigns.
• Step 5 (Day 9-10): Design your email template – When designing your email template, you’ll want to produce something that reflects your brand image and that you can easily edit, so you can quickly and efficiently create multiple campaigns.
• Step 6 (Day 11-13): Create the perfect email and landing page experience – This is often where many marketers become stuck. Before writing a word, take a look back at Step 1 of this guide and re-examine your goals.
• Step 7 (Day 14): Schedule and send – It’s now time to match your email campaign to a relevant list in your contacts folder, schedule a delivery time, and send. If this makes you feel a little nervous, don’t worry: even experienced email marketers get a little nervous before hitting the send button.
• Step 8 (Day 15): Pull reports – Measuring and understanding your results is vital to the constant improvement and effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.
• Step 9 (Day 16-25): Build auto-responders – Autoresponders enable you to deliver a sequence of automated emails over a set period time (often following an event).
• Step 10 (Day 26-30): Test and improve – Once you have sent a few emails and started to understand your KPIs, you can begin improving your email marketing performance through testing.
For more information or to download a free 30-Day Email Starter Plan visit iContact.com