Permission Based Email Campaigns – A Beginner's 4 Step Process
Permission-based email reiterates to email messages sent to subscribers who requested it, in contrast to unsolicited email messages or spam. Permission based emailing is also commonly known as "opt-in" emailing. One can either have a pre-existing customer relationship or obtain permission directly from the receiver. The key point to remember is when choosing an email provider to send out your email campaign, it is important to ask what their definition of what constituents permission based terms. Having your company labeled a spammer from a reputable Email provider may cause your domain to be blacklisted or even blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other Email Providers. The worst thing that can happen to your business is having your normal email correspondence fall into a recipients "spam folder."
Permission based email has become popular for two simple reasons over the past decade. It's illegal to send spam in most jurisdictions. And secondly, sending unsolicited emails "or spam" rarely works for reputable businesses as the average consumer has effectively tuned out most unknown sellers as they have been inundated with various offers over the years. This has resulted in most businesses receiving very little return for spam unless they are pitching "viagra," or "porn," or other non main stream products.
When used properly we have a permission based email campaign can ad to your bottom line in many ways. Permission based emailing executed correctly is effective in increasing your sales conversion ratio, build strong relationships with customers, and allow one to increase revenue by introducing new products or services easily through cross sales.
5 Easy Steps in Beginning your first Permission Email Campaign
Step1: Choose an Email Service Provider. Many email software providers offer free services such as creating newsletters, managing customers and subscribers through an in house Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), and Analytics which allows you to track your campaign data (ie bounces, bad emails, email view reporting, etc). Twenty Tigers recommends using Constant Contacts) or GoDaddy. GoDaddy is one of the largest domain registrs, hosting, and email services provider in the United States while Constant Contacts is one of leading email software providers with over 200,000 small business customers. Both have their email services whitelisted (this is a good thing) by 99% of the ISPs and both offer the tools you need for a successful email campaign mentioned earlier.
(Please Note: In the spirit of full disclosure Twenty Tiger's uses GoDaddy for our domain name provider and registrar. We do NOT receive any compensation in any form from GoDaddy or Constant Contact.)
We have personally used both services and have seen many clients use them profitably as their mailing solutions. The reason we have recommended both is large because because of their different pricing models which may fit your marketing budget better depending on need, and how your campaign is structured. Neither company locks you into a contract and you are free to switch from one to the other (OR any other email provider) as warranted.
Constant Contact allows you to send unlimited emails per month for a given amount of email addresses in your list. The more emails you have in your list, the more you pay per month. For example, as of this writing you can send unlimited emails per month for up to 500 people for $ 15 / month.
GoDaddy on the other hand does not care about your list size. Their pricing is based on the total amount of emails you send in a given month. As of this writing, GoDaddy permits you to send up to 5000 total emails per month for $ 19.99. 500 total emails per month in $ 7.99.
Other than price, we have found Constant Contact to have more ready-to-use themes for those with limited HTML experience while GoDaddy has a larger 1,500+ image gallery. Constant Contact also has a limited 60 day trial so you can even try it out if you initially opted for GoDaddy. If you decide to go with GoDaddy, a quick money saving tip is to use one of their coupons quickly found on the web for a 10-20% discount. Simply Google "GoDaddy Coupons" and you'll see dozens of sites.
Step 2: Email Frequency. You must decide on what type of emails you want to send and how often you want to send them. We suggest starting out with a regular monthly newsletter to your current customers. Please refer to our earlier blog entry "13 tips for email success" for more ideas. We suggest emailing no more than once per week to keep your email list turnover rate low.
Step 3: Build Your Email List. This is the most difficult step for most new businesses but a safe way to start is gather the emails of people you have done business with in the past and / or requested communication. Also, if you have emails of friends and family, you can make them permission based on sending out an opt-in email. This initial opt-in email simply asks the receiver if they want to join your email list. You should add a sign-up form on your website to collect emails from traffic and collect emails offline with methods such as asking for emails at the point of sale.
Step 4: Choose your Theme and Develop Content. It's important to choose a good them or create one of your own. Develop timely and relevant content. We suggest segmenting your list into different demographic and customer groups to strengthen closing rates.
Step 5: Quantify and Test. Many factors affect the success of your campaign. The most successful companies we have found failed, sometimes miserably, on their initial campaigns. The key to success was they kept records of everything they did and quantify. Attached to this blog is a simple excel spreadsheet so you can track the success of your campaign.