Many small business owners hear about email marketing success stories and quickly adopt a “leap before you look” mentality. While email marketing is a tried and true form of communication that can deliver good results, it is also a potentially costly endeavor that may result in futile marketing efforts. Before you leap before you look, make sure that your small business is ready for the challenge of email marketing by meeting the following three criteria.
Criteria #1: Established Audience Personas — You must have a clearly defined target audience before you can create any type of email marketing campaign. To create usable audience personas you will need to collect important customer demographic information, such as gender, income level, employment status, age, location, and education. Using this data you should create specific audience personas that tell your marketing team vital information about the intended consumer. For example:
- Suzy, middle-age woman who works a part time job, has a family, is educated and interested in learning about how to best care for her family. Typically looks for savings around the holidays and has one home residence.
Criteria #2: Clean Email Lists — If you want to develop an email marketing campaign, then you need to have clean email lists. This means that you need to have more than a simple list of emails for all of your past, current, and prospective customers. Instead, your email lists should be divided into targeted segments. The segments will make it easier for you to deliver powerful marketing materials or promotions that can lead to higher sales.
Let’s say that your small business sells customized dog attire. You wouldn’t want to send an email that offers a discount to “our valued customers during the holiday season” to any of your prospective customers who have yet to complete a purchase. Conversely, you wouldn’t send a welcome email to your repeat customers. By cleaning your email lists you can ensure that you have valid email addresses and avoid the embarrassment (and potential customer loss) of sending the wrong email to the wrong person.
Criteria #3: Ability To Create Direct Copy And A Call to Action — The key to a good email marketing campaign is the ability to write concise email copy that speaks directly to the target audience, while simultaneously eliciting a specific action. To do this, you will need to identify specific benefits that your products or services can offer to a customer. Next, your email copy should create a sense of urgency within the reader that encourages them to click immediately on the call to action.
Developing an email marketing campaign can be an effective tool to help you increase sales, connect with your consumers, and improve brand awareness. However, before you leap without looking, make sure that your small business meets the above criteria, so that your new email marketing campaign can support your other marketing efforts.