I can always tell when a company decides to start a new email marketing campaign. They've heard the ads for Constant Contact or iContact that tout the benefits of email marketing and figure they want to try it out. They just know that if they can start email marketing, they can make so much money they'll be able to swim in their piles.
So, they get all the email addresses from their email program, from their Facebook profile page (that was likely set up wrong) and their LinkedIn account. They'll name the list, "LinkedIn List" or something else that demonstrates they are learning.
Then, when adding the emails to their chosen email application, they'll lie and say that everyone on the list has given them their permission to send them emails.
The next step, usually, is to figure out the best offer they can give on each of the emails and then start spamming.
Of course, they don't think it's spamming because they like to think of themselves as ethical marketers. However, according to all common, ethical and legal standards, this is spamming at it's finest.
What's more amazing to me is that they are amazed when this approach doesn't work. They'll try it out for a few months, not get a single new sale then vow to never try that again.
Of course, if you are not going to do something right, you can't expect it to be successful.
Let me give you some things to consider as you are starting your email campaign.
Set your goal for success.
As you are working on your goals, you have to understand that if your product is not something that normally can sell just because you have a deal, then your email marketing campaign won't change that. For example, if you are selling office equipment, most people don't buy because there is a special. They buy because they've done their research or they have a strong relationship. However, if you are selling consumer gadgets, then people are likely to buy more because of an email campaign.
Here are some considerations for your goals:
I am a retail outlet and want to tell people about specific daily deals. My success rate will be defined by how my sales increase in all areas when adding my email campaign.
I am a business-to-business sales organization and I want to be kept in the forefront of my consumers mind. I want them to be ready to call me when they are in need whether it's today, tomorrow or in six months. I'll gage my success on how many people consistently open my emails and take even a small action (like click through to my website).
I am an educational organization and I want people to learn more. My success will be based on how many people open my emails and click through to learn more about the stuff I'm teaching.
I am an author. I will gage my success based on the number of people that click through and read my blog. Also, I'll look at my over-all sales numbers.
Only add to your list people who know you are adding them to your list.
You have a lot of contacts. People with whom you've done business in the past might have a reasonable expectation that you'll add them to your list but the people whose business cards you've gathered over the last 10 years probably don't.
Make sure you drop them a line and tell them what you are doing. Give them an opportunity to opt out. Whether it's legal or not, you want to make sure that you don't just start sending unwanted email. Moreover, make sure you don't start sending to each of their email addresses on file. Pick one and roll with it.
If you do not grow your list, you will not succeed.
Just because you have a list right now, it doesn’t mean that you can send messages to that same list all the time and expect constant results. Build your list at conferences, at networking events and in direct communication. Make sure you get their permission before adding their name to your list.
Avoid, at all costs, buying lists. Even though the list sales organization says the lists are 100% opted in, use your brain. How often do you intentionally click the box that says, "Yes, I'd love you to sell my name and email address to other people so they can market to me, too!?"
Send emails for what your clients want to receive.
If your prospects and clients didn't sign up for a daily deal email, they probably don't care about it. If they sign up for one specific type of list, don't just add them to every list you have.
Respect your audience enough to not just be cavalier about what you send to them. Remember, they are people too and should be not treated as a marketing or sales opportunity.
You are more likely to fail the first time or two.
Too many times people want to quit after the first shot and are not seeing success. They have the attitude of, "Well, I tried that once, I'm not going to do it again!"
Know your analytics. Know how your results compare to the goal you set. Take an opportunity to reevaluate your goals. If they don't seem to make sense after you've tried it out, make the necessary adjustments.
Also . . .
If you are interested in reading a little more on the subject, I wrote a blog post a while back called "Why Email Marketing Fails." You should check it out.