How to create email marketing strategy (5 Steps)

HOME / HOW TO CREATE EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY (5 STEPS)

If you have decided to start with email marketing, you have to take a number of steps. These steps are described below and don't let that scare you. It seems a lot and perhaps complex, but fortunately this isn't so bad. Many things you only have to do once.

Step 1. Make a plan and set your goals

First, start by making a plan. What do you want to use email marketing for? Which target groups do you want to email? What do you want to achieve with it? And how does email marketing fit into your marketing mix? These are some examples of the questions you should ask yourself.

Whether you want to use email marketing to recruit potential customers, to inform your employees, to raise donations for your nonprofit, or to increase registrations for your events, start by making a plan.

List your goals and think about how you want to achieve them. Also include the other marketing channels and make sure that your email marketing goals match the company goals. If you have clear objectives, you can also analyze the results in due course and adjust them where necessary.

Make it simple for yourself and write it down succinctly. A plan with 19 double-sided A4 sheets is really not necessary.

Step 2. Find the right software for your email marketing

To successfully use email marketing you need good email marketing software. Companies that market this software are also called 'Email Service Providers' (abbreviation: ESP). XYZ, for example, is an ESP.

What should you pay attention to when choosing software? And how do you choose the most suitable software for your organization. There are many things to take into account. We describe them briefly.

Functionalities

The functionalities are of course very important. Does the software offer everything you need for professional email marketing? Also keep in mind that you choose software that will allow you to be successful in the future. But beware, choosing a package that contains countless functionalities that you never want to use is also not useful. After all, you pay for that. So carefully examine the functionalities of the software packages.

A few key points to get you started:

  • Can you easily prepare a newsletter in your own house style?
  • Can you use automatic campaigns?
  • Can you analyze the results well?
  • Can you A/B test?
  • Can you easily import target groups and make selections?
  • Can you set up and integrate forms and surveys for events and customer satisfaction surveys into your campaigns?
  • Can you segment and personalize extensively?

Usability

You don't want to spend a week learning the software before you can use it. Therefore, choose software that is user-friendly and easy to learn. This way you can get started quickly and work with it with more pleasure.

Integration with CRM and webshops

Can you also link the software with your CRM package or your webshop? You have much more marketing power if you link the systems and it saves you a lot of manual work. For example, no manual imports of contacts are required. The customer data is automatically synchronized with a link, so that you always work with up-to-date data. With a link you can also trigger campaigns automatically. For example, a campaign is started by a change in the CRM or webshop. Think of an e-mail to the customer that there are still products in the shopping cart.

So check out what options there are. Perhaps there is already a standard link with your CRM or webshop or you can link the systems through customization.

Support

You can always have questions or run into issues that you would like some help with, which is why it's nice if you can contact the support department of the software directly. Keep this in mind when making your choice, because not every email marketing software offers telephone support. That makes it easier if you need help quickly.

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Email delivery plays an important role in email marketing and is also known as email deliverability. However, a good delivery of your e-mails isn't self-evident. This requires a lot of technical knowledge and continuous monitoring. The reputation of the sending e-mail servers is an important point here: webmail providers such as Gmail.com check this so-called Sender Score and on the basis of this whether or not the e-mails pass through. Only software providers who have the right technical knowledge and maintain the reputation of their email servers can provide you with a good delivery.

Safety and legislation

An important part is safety and legislation. What does the software supplier do about the security of the software? At which location is the customer data stored and is this allowed according to legislation such as the AVG? And can you conclude processing agreements with the supplier? Keep these points in mind when choosing the software. The last thing you need is a data breach or receiving complaints about the processing of customer data.

Budget

Last in the list, but of course not unimportant: the budget. Prices may differ for e-mail software packages. See how the price is built up with the license costs, shipping costs and integrations with CRM or webshop. Compare the price, keeping the functionalities and other points mentioned above in mind. What exactly do you get for the price?

Step 3. Build an email address list

To use e-mail marketing, you naturally need the e-mail addresses of your contacts. These contacts must have given permission (an opt-in), otherwise you're not allowed to email them. Purchasing an e-mail file is prohibited in alot of countries. So you have to get started to collect addresses yourself. But luckily this isn't difficult.

Ways to collect addresses

There are numerous ways to collect email addresses. We give a few tips below.

  • Offer a nice gift
    It works well to offer an incentive in exchange for a newsletter subscription. For example, a 5% discount on a purchase in a webshop or an interesting knowledge document.
  • Use a pop-up
    By using a pop-up you draw your website visitors' attention to your newsletter. This is a very effective way to recruit new subscribers. Be sure to set in which way and when the pop-up appears so that it doesn't come across as annoying to the visitor.
  • Place a registration option with a purchase or request
    Place a check box at checkout or with an application form for, for example, a brochure. Add the benefits of signing up and the frequency of the newsletter and you'll see that your file grows. Good to know; the checkbox must not already be checked, the visitor must do that himself.
  • Make registration accessible
    Whichever way you use, make sure that you keep the registration process accessible. Only ask for the data that you initially need and will use. You will collect few registrations if you present a registration form with 13 entry fields. You can try to collect more data with a profile enrichment campaign after registration.

Step 4. Set up your account

You have to set a number of things in the account of the software you have chosen.

Target audiences

Once you have collected the email addresses and opt-ins of your contacts, you can set the target groups. Suppose you're going to email your prospects, your customers and your employees, then you have to include these contacts in separate mailing lists.

Templates

Of course you want to send beautiful e-mails in your own house style. You need a good template for this. The template must be responsive so that your emails are displayed appropriately on all mobile devices. If you have a limited budget, you can often use a standard template. The disadvantage is that the template often doesn't match your house style very well. If you want to do it right, we recommend that you have a special template designed in your house style.

Then have the design converted to HTML by a specialist. HTML is the markup language that states how a website or in this case an email should look like.

HTML for email is very different from the HTML used for websites. Specialized e-mail developers also take into account all exceptions of mail clients so that your mailings look good in any mail client. Mail clients are, for example, web clients such as Gmail, a desktop client such as Outlook or the e-mail app on your Samsung smartphone.

Link with CRM or webshop

If you want to link your email marketing software with your CRM package or webshop, you must first configure the link. Which data do you want to synchronize exactly and which automatic campaigns need to be set up? This can get a bit technical, but luckily you're often helped by the software supplier.

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To send your mailings you need a sender name and a reply address. Provide a recognizable sender name and set a known and working reply address. Don't use no-reply@yourdomain.com, that comes across as very customer-unfriendly.

In addition, set an SPF record and optionally DMARC. These settings ensure that the recipient can see that you have actually sent the email. This reduces the chance that your mail ends up in a SPAM box. Using your own domain name in trackable links is also smart to set up, so that your mailings come across as more professional.

Step 5. Create mailings and set up automatic campaigns

Now you come to the real fun work: creating mailings. What kind of newsletters and automatic campaign messages you want to send depends entirely on your goal and strategy.

Keep in mind that your recipients' inboxes are already well filled. So make sure your emails stand out in the inbox. The biggest challenge is in the content. If you make sure you offer interesting and relevant content, you'll see that your emails are read much better.

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