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Email marketing is one of the most cost effective and powerful ways to get the word out about your products or services, potentially putting your message right into the inboxes of thousands of qualified readers. Or it can be a terrible waste of time. Set your email marketing campaign up for success by developing a strategy built on the steps below.

1. Define Your Goals

Before taking any marketing steps, you must have a goal in mind. Is your goal to increase sales directly from your website? Increase brand exposure? Obtain more followers on your business social media channels? It's important to have a clear goal, for two reasons.

First, your goal will define the nature of your content. It will tell you what you need to do. More on this below.

Second, your goal will allow you to measure success. Your goal will show you what metrics you need to track and what numbers to hit. With the endpoint clearly defined, you'll know when you've arrived, and more importantly, you'll know when you haven't.

Take time to define your goal. You may have several goals for your email marketing campaign, but whatever they are, define them. Understand them. And build your campaign to deliver results.

2. Define Your Audience

Once you know your goals, you're ready to define your audience. Who should you be sending these emails to? For the most part, your audience is the same as the target market for your products or services. But your audience is also defined by other, more practical constraints.

How many email addresses do you have in your database? Who do they belong to? Do these email addresses belong to current customers? Do they belong to people who have never heard of your company or your products and may not be interested in what you offer? These factors will all affect the specific audience of each email marketing campaign you run.

Make sure you have a detailed understanding of the audience you're marketing to with each email blast you send. Shape the content and frequency of your campaign to fit the needs, expectations, and preconceptions of this audience.

3. Define Your Content

Every image or word included in your email—from your subject line to your social media buttons—is content. And all of it communicates something about your business, something that either will or will not motivate your readers to take the action you desire.

The content you write or create or aggregate into your newsletter will vary significantly depending on your marketing goals. If you hope to drive direct, immediate traffic to your website, for example, you may want to create a promotional offering or feature an article or video that can be viewed in full only on your website. If you hope to gain more email subscribers by prompting recipients to share the newsletter with their friends, your content will need to be more social in nature and you'll need to feature a “Share” or “Send to a Friend” button prominently in the body of the message.

Develop a calendar that lists the email messages you plan to send out. Consider the goal and audience of each message, and create content that will drive the results you desire.

4. Track Everything

Tracking is perhaps the most important step in this process. If you aren't able to track how many people received your newsletter, how many opened it, how many clicked a link within, and so on, the entire campaign is worthless. You must have a tracking system in place to determine whether your marketing efforts are generating the right results or whether you need to revise your goals, audience, or content.

Most email newsletter management systems will track and deliver all the data you need. All blazonco clients have the opportunity to take advantage of a fully robust email newsletter management system built right into our CMS. Our system provides a full report of all relevant statistics after each newsletter blast. Use this data to tailor your email marketing campaign to deliver stronger and stronger results in alignment with your ultimate goal.