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Email Marketing Solution

Direct Marketing Campaign

Setting up an email marketing solution

Email marketing solutions are one of direct marketing's strongest assets and a vital part of any cross-media campaign. Email has become an essential part of life for most people, and users are constantly checking their inbox - at the office, at home and even while on holiday. By failing to set up an email marketing solution for your business you're missing an enormous chunk of your potential sales.

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Email marketing is extremely cost effective and can reach thousands of customers at a fraction of the cost of direct mail. It drives traffic to your site, increases sales, inspires brand loyalty and allows you to build a relationship with your customers. The return on investment is also far higher than with traditional direct mailing and responses are received far quicker. So what are you waiting for?

When setting up an email marketing solution of your own you need to follow a few easy steps.

Ask visitors to register

The best possible email marketing solution is based on an opt-in mailing list. Ask all visitors to your site if they would like to receive more information about your products, and if a customer wishes to make a purchase require them to register on the site. As subscribers have chosen to receive information, requested to join or shown a willingness to receive emails, your marketing messages will never be considered spam.

Make it easy to subscribe

Set up an easy registration process that encourages as many visitors as possible to subscribe to your mailing list. Put a free sign-up or link on all your web pages and make the registration form short and simple to use. You'll need a POP email account on your server for your list, and at least two email aliases for subscribing and unsubscribing.

Set up and maintain a database

Every time a customer asks for more information, enters a competition or makes a purchase get them to subscribe to the mailing list and record their information. It is crucial to keep this database up to date. Make sure anyone who has requested to unsubscribe is removed from your list, and keep active customer's information current by tracking their purchases, their requests for information and their preferences for payment and shipping. This allows you to personalize your mailings so that customers feel a sense of loyalty to your company.

Send out your first message

The first message from your new email marketing campaign is critical. Personalize the mailing by addressing the customer by their name. Many businesses opt for a simple opt-out message first time round to ensure that potential customers do not delete it as spam. Others make a special introductory offer - such as a buy-one-get-one-free deal, or a targeted message offering specialized goods particular to their location.

Build relationships

Your ongoing email marketing solution should allow you to build relationships with your customers. Personalized messages, offers related to previous purchases and helpful information at times rather than a hard sell, can inspire a sense of loyalty to your company and encourage cross sales. Always follow any purchase with a follow-up message telling the customer that their order has been received and is being processed. This type of relationship building is priceless in the effort to get inactive customers reactivated and encourage active customers to become more active.

Software considerations

As your email marketing campaign grows you'll need to decide if you should retain control of your list by having a software solution on your own server or outsource your mailing list and database management to a professional company. Any in-house software will need to process the information from your online form, process subscription and unsubscribe requests, store information in an easy-to-use database, allow you to send personalized messages and replies, and schedule follow-up messages. Professional applications allow you to automate these day-to-day tasks and free up your time for online promotions. They're expensive but essential if you plan to keep abreast of changes in online marketing.