Your website and your social media pages are a crucial part of your online marketing strategy but how can you speak directly to customers that have an interest in your product or service?

Email marketing is a sophisticated and highly targeted method of marketing if executed correctly. If you aren’t taking advantage of this powerful tool then you are missing out.

Where do you start?

The first step is to collate all of the data you have. Over the years you have probably collected many different e-mail addresses from many different sources. This data is invaluable. Most importantly before you do anything with this existing data you need to ensure that you have permission to market to this person. Send a personal email or drop them a line asking them if they would be happy to receive marketing information from you. You can use your database to inform people of new products, discounts, special offers, events and so much more. The chances are that if they have bought from you in the past they will be happy to hear about new products or special offers.

Build a comprehensive database

There is much information available on how much information you should collect. The key is to collect as much as possible without making the customers feel that they are being interrogated. To start with you need the following

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address

Then you can ask for more detail

  • Address – great for geo-targeting
  • Date of Birth – so that you can send out special birthday offers or age related products
  • Gender – you may have products that are specific to men or women
  • Mobile number – great for targeted text campaigns

Once you have decided on which information you are going to capture then you need to collate it into a comprehensive database – this will allow you to filter the information so that you can use it in the way you wish

By selecting the arrows above you can sort your database into name, gender etc and filter out a specific list to help you segment your audience.

Collecting new data

Once you have collated all of your existing data you need to work out how to collect data going forward. There are many ways in which this can be achieved

  • Add a subscription sign up to your website
  • Ask people to fill in their details when they visit your premises
  • Send an email after an order
  • Add an opt in to your ecommerce section

If people volunteer their data this is highly valuable as it means that they want to hear from you. You may also decide to build a VIP list for your more regular customers.

What to send and when

By using a programme like Mail Chimp the first 2,000 emails addresses are free and you get a certain amount of emails you can send each month before you need to upgrade to a paid for subscription. There are many email programmes around but Mail Chimp is reliable and recommended by many. You can do all sorts of data segmentation, create different lists and programme different templates etc. It is worth investing in some creatively designed templates to make your campaigns more professional.

You need to decide when to send your emails, how often, to whom and at what time of month, day of week, time of day. There is a lot to consider but there are companies that will help you to work all of this out and advise you on the best solution. There are so many different types of emails that you can send you need to work out which is going to yield the best results.

  • Birthday offers – great if you have captured everyone’s date of birth
  • Special offers – let people know when you are having a sale
  • New products – an email is the perfect way to let everyone know about a new product
  • General news – what’s happening
  • Event invitations – are you having a special event? Invite your database
  • Specific products – you may want to publicise a specific event

Whilst there are many reasons you could send an email you don’t want to flood people’s inboxes so it is advisable to not send too many emails. Work out which are the most important and build a schedule for the coming 3 months.

Whatever you use your data for remember that is very valuable to your business. If you aren’t already collecting data and using email marketing it’s time to start.