Three keys to a successful email marketing program

OK, so you’ve started an email marketing program. Congratulations.

As one email provider suggests in commercials, merely signing up for a platform makes you a marketer. The good news is: signing up is a solid start; the bad news is: it is going to take a lot more work to effectively market your message.

Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool to reach increasingly disparate audiences directly. You own your story, and email is one vehicle you can — and should — use to tell that story.

Companies have the power create a list of people who want to receive a message, and they can direct those brand advocates to owned channels for more information or to take a particular course of action: purchase, learn more, follow on social channels, and more.

In order to make the most of your email program, focus on three components:

  1. Message/Content: It’s not enough to just sign up for an email marketing service. You need a clear, concise message. If that doesn’t exist at the moment, take time to create it. Companies are better served by defining who they are and what they want their customers to do first and holding off on sending emails until later. Otherwise, a company runs the risk of confusing their audience at best and losing customers at worst.
  2. Audience/Targeting: Have you ever received an annoying email asking you to buy some random widget. It’s true that you didn’t sign up for that email, and receiving an irrelevant message from a company you’ve never done business with actually makes you less likely to buy from that company in the future. So, if you don’t like receiving them, why send them? Don’t buy lists filled with people who don’t want to hear from you. Take time to build a list the right way: focus on seeking people who actually want to hear from you. It will pay off in the long run.
  3. Frequency: Do you want to receive 14 emails per day from the same company? I don’t, and I’m willing to bet your customers don’t either. Email frequency is all about knowing your audience. Sending too often is annoying. Send too infrequently, and your audience might forget about you. But, companies that know their target (and look at data to know how often they want to be communicated with) have the most success with email marketing.

More than anything, have fun with an email program. It is a key tool to create and maintain a database of loyal customers. But remember, it is an extension of your brand, so use it wisely. You wouldn’t want to offend and annoy customers face-to-face; why would you do the same thing in their inbox?