There are several good Email marketing service providers out there like Constant Contact, iContact and others. To start out though all you really need is an email program like Outlook from Microsoft. You simply enter your customer emails into a group list called a Distribution List and when you want to send out a mass mailing you choose the Distribution List by name to send the emails to.
How do you obtain the email addresses to send to? First off you don’t want to purchase an email list and use that. You will become a spammer and nobody likes spam mail. You will get a bad name and probably be kicked off the internet. You want emails from customers or potential customers that give them to you. It is called “Having a prior business relationship with a customer”. Before you ever send them an email they have to ask you to do that.
Two ways our clients obtain email addresses is first to have a place on your website, usually the home page, where you ask a person to type in their email address. The caption can be about anything but usually you ask the person to join your email list and receive special promotions, etc. If you look at our home page you see just a field www.softtechinc.com. Ours just says ‘Join our email list”. You can try several captions to see which one brings you the best response. A second way, if you have a business establishment, is to put a small poster at your front counter with a pad of paper at the bottom with two fields – Name and Email Address.
In either case you can obtain more email addresses by driving more business to your website by advertising on Google using Google Adwords. We highly recommend that if you are just getting started building your email list you look into running at least a 30 day ad campaign on Google. We can help you with that.
We have been working with a small business for over 3 years and have constantly told him that he needs a place on his home page to ask for email addresses and a poster at his front counter. He finally tried this a month ago and in the first week he obtained over 30 email addresses. Some email addresses came from his front counter but most came from his website. He was amazed at how quickly his email list is growing.
Use the above ‘white hat’ techniques and you will obtain email addresses from people who want to hear from you and will read your emails. Continue with ‘white hat’ techniques and you will build a following of loyal customers.
Distribution List. To start a distribution list in outlook open your address book and choose File – New Entry. You will see a screen asking if you want to add a new Contact or Distribution List. Choose New Distribution List.
Give your distribution list a name – like ‘Our Customers’. From there you can add email addresses in two ways. First you can choose to add an email address from your address book. The second is to add a new contact and type the persons email address in by hand.
You can come back to this distribution list at anytime by double clicking on the list in your address book. If you type in a new email address you can also choose to add the person to your list of normal contacts.
Sending out an email mass mailing. Once you have built up a list of email addresses in your ‘Our Customers’ distribution list you are ready to send out an email to everyone in that list. The first thing you need to make sure of is Never Never Never enter this list in the To: field of an email. You never want to send your list of customers out in the To: field or the CC: field so that others can copy the addresses. I am sure you know that your customer list is Gold. You also want to keep your list private for the customers’ sake. You add the list into the BCC: or Blind Copy Field so others cannot see the addresses.
So what do you put in the To: field? At first we just put one of our employees email addresses in that field. We found that that actually confused some of our customers. They sent the email back to us saying that they had received it by mistake and thought it was supposed to go to the employee we used. I recommend that you have a new email address setup for your company. We use email@example.com as an address. If anyone replies to that address it is automatically forwarded to one of our employees and the address does not cause confusion.
What you put in the body of the email is entirely up to you and the purpose of the email. You may be sending out a newsletter and you can probably drag across the newsletter to highlight it and hit copy and then paste it into the outlook email. If you are sending out a promotion then you probably want to put a graphic in the email showing the promotion or product. If it is an announcement you may only need to type the announcement in.
Microsoft Word has templates for almost anything including a newsletter. There are some included in Word when your install the program and many more online at the Microsoft website.
How often should you send the emails out? Some businesses send out a monthly newsletter and thus send them out 1 time a month. We send Helpful articles to our customers and try to send out 3 a week when we can. The best times are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday just before lunch or just after. People are too busy to read them on Mondays and Fridays.
Some companies send them out daily like the company that sells name brand women’s handbags and shoes, etc. They put one item on sale daily and send an email at the same time each day announcing the sale. They usually sell out of that item every day. They once missed having the sale and received a ton of emails asking if there email address had been deleted or something. Women were watching for the sale each day.
Whatever frequency you choose it is important to keep it up. You may want to start out monthly at first and then increase the emails to bi-weekly and then weekly in the future. If you start sending them weekly or more often and suddenly find that you can’t keep this schedule up it looks bad. Start slowly and build up.
You should include your company name and address and a link to your website at the bottom of the email. See our previous article How to add your name, address and website link to the bottom of your Outlook emails.
Use the above information and you will soon build up a strong following of loyal customers that look forward to your emails.
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