E-mail marketing is a great way to build and maintain relationships with new or existing customers. It can also be used in-house for employee newsletters. Setting up an e-mail marketing system can be a pretty painless procedure but before you begin, you must decide:
- Will you maintain your own e-mail server or use a third-party software, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact?
- How important is it that the e-mails come from your domain (ie: firstname.lastname@example.org)?
- How many e-mails will you send out per month?
- How many individuals will you be sending e-mails to?
- how much are you willing to spend on an e-mail marketing solution?
Fortunately, there are e-mail marketing solutions for every budget, including those with little to no budget.
The CAN SPAM Act: learn it, live it, love it. I’m frequently told I’m a stickler for the rules but the great side effect of that is no one I have ever consulted has ever been in trouble with the FTC for spamming, which carries a $16,000 per e-mail sent fine. There are very simple rules to follow and the organizations that get in hot water are the ones that try to bend the rules or are in the business of re-selling or “leasing” mailing lists. Check over the compliance guidelines before you send your first e-mail.
Once you get the e-mail marketing server or service and you’ve read and understand the CAN SPAM Act compliance guidelines, you are ready to start sending e-mails. Make sure sure you understand e-mail content and layout, e-mail deliverability, mailing list effectiveness and user statistics. These can include bounce rates, click-through-rates, invalid e-mails, open-rates and landing page analytics. These numbers will help you track and improve the efficiency and content of your e-mails.