3 Things to Do Before You Start Email Marketing for Business

Email marketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive digital marketing techniques available to businesses today. Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) in the marketing arsenal. According to the Direct Marketing Association in 2010, email marketing returned and average of $42 for every dollar spent. (Keep in mind that this is an average generated from a survey of top rated corporate marketing departments. )

Before you get going with email marketing you should do at least three things. Even before you select an email marketing service provider. These tasks should be done as part of your initial research. From these tasks you should be put on the right path to begin email marketing.

1. Review and understand the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. This Federal law sets the minimal requirements you must abide by when sending email. A couple items in this law that you should be aware of are (A) your email’s subject line must be relevant to the content within the email you are sending. For example, you cannot send an email with a subject line that reads “You’ve won $1,000,000!” and the body of the email is about the latest under water basket weaving techniques. (B) You must provide a method or mechanism to remove a subscriber from your email marketing list. Most email marketing service providers provide this service as part of their fees and will put a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of the sent email. Otherwise, you must remove the subscriber within 10 days or face Federal fines upwards of $16,000 per occurrence. Be aware of the terms and conditions of your email marketing provider as they may have additional requirements you must agree to in order to use their software.

2. Brainstorm ways to acquire email addresses with permission. You need to keep your list growing by adding new subscribers as other’s unsubscribe. There are a number of ways you can ask for permission. (A) On your website you should have an email sign-up form. Most email marketing service providers provide forms that you can put on your website and add those submissions are then added to your list. Develop a plan to offer an incentive to subscribe whether it be a free download or coupon. (B) When you attend networking events or trade shows be sure you are mentioning that you send out newsletters or promotions via email. Ask for permission to subscribe them and let them know they can unsubscribe anytime with no hard feelings!

3. Develop an email marketing schedule that fits your current workload and marketing plan. Too many times business owners bit off more than they can chew causing them to lose interest. Email markting is a gradual-growth marketing activity. You should start small and scale as it helps your business grow. Start by sending monthly, then twice per month, then weekly. If you do not see better results by sending weekly, scale back to bi-weekly. Don’t try to beat your list to death and don’t leave it out to dry either. You cannot take a month off an expect your list to be happy to hear from you again when you start sending again. Planning is key so make it part of your monthly marketing plan.

These three items above are just a few tasks you need to look into so you can gain a better understanding of what will make your email marketing successful. Keep in mind that the CAN-SPAM Act sets the minimum requirements of email marketing. The terms and conditions of your email marketing service provider are what you must follow to use their software.  Don’t be afraid to brainstorm unique ways to grow your list with permission.

Don’t be tempted to buy a list as it will kill your business. Finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew with email marketing. Scale up and level out your email marketing schedule.

Do you have an experience with email marketing to share? Leave a comment.

Connect with Greg Hyer through the links on his author bio further down on this page.

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  2. […] Often people starting out in business think they don’t need to have an email marketing service. But once you start emailing for your business, there are laws you need to know about, like the CAN-SPAM Act. Read contributor Greg Hyer’s post about what to do before you start email marketing. […]

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