You know you need to start email marketing, or are pretty sure you need to give it a try. You’ve done some research on how to create good email newsletters or drip campaigns and know some email sending software, but where do you start to make sure you do it right the first time?
There are some steps that if you get them wrong or miss them at the beginning, it can have a terrible consequence on your deliverability (getting your messages delivered to the inbox) and your reputation with the Internet service providers, which means no one ever sees your emails. Here are some quick tips to make sure you get it right.
Create an email marketing plan
Wait, before you start checking them out email marketing software and comparing features and options, you need to have some idea of how you need to use your email marketing service. The first step is to map out your general strategy with your email marketing and how you will collect lists, where you will collect them, how might you want to segment them now and maybe later after you start growing and possibly trying new things. You will of course probably start simple, but it helps to keep in mind how you might use it later. This way you don’t have to move and set up somewhere else when suddenly you want to get more advanced and your service doesn’t let you. You may want to check out MailChimp’s How To Create An Email Marketing Plan.
Choosing an email marketing software
So, let’s say you have your plan together and have a good idea of how you will use email marketing and what you need your service to do. This is where you decide what service will work best for you. Here are some questions you might want to keep in mind while checking into these.
- Does the service let you easily set up A/B testing for subject lines and content?
- How easy is it to segment based on your needs?
- Do you have reporting from the campaign level down to the list and even the subscriber?
- How do they count opens, clicks, delivered? (Different services have different reporting algorithms and definitions.)
- Do they make compliance with your local privacy laws and regulations easy?
- Does the service handle authentication with the Internet service providers for you, or do you need to authenticate your email IP?
If you’re a small business or have limited resources, you may want to stick with services that handle authentication for you, such as MailChimp and iContact. It can get complicated if you aren’t familiar with dealing with name servers and the types of records that need adding/changing. When using a service that requires you to do your own authentication, you need to make sure you get it right before sending! I cannot stress this enough. If you get this wrong, you will be in recovery mode for a while trying to correct the damage you did to your sender reputation with the ISPs and you will not see the results you expect with your campaigns. Take a look at this article for more information on using your own authentication.
email marketing help
I highly recommend reading Eloqua’s Grand Guide to Email Deliverability and Privacy it covers a lot of good information on best practices and provides some links to great tools and resources.
You may find that it is completely worth it to pay an email marketing professional to advise you on which service, your email marketing plan as well as setup to get you off to a solid start.