Email marketing (also known as list marketing) is a powerful tool that allows you to build a relationship with your potential clients. As many marketing gurus advocate, one of the secrets to increasing your online sales is to have the customer view you as a friend instead of a salesperson, and email marketing is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal.

If you are thinking about using email marketing as a way to reach your customers, make sure you choose a reputable email marketing software package (often known as autoresponders). Here are some of the popular ones on the market to choose from: Aweber, Get Response, Constant Contact, and I contact. All of these packages have the same intention – to make the effort of attracting and then emailing thousands of subscribers an automated process that is relatively quick and painless.

Objectives

Be clear about the objectives of your email marketing campaign. What results are you looking for – a quick sale, or a gradual buildup of the perceived relationship between you and the customer? Different goals will require different types of campaigns.

Educate and Inform

If you have never used email marketing software, then expect a slight learning curve to get started. Companies that provide such software usually have tutorials on their website to help you learn the basics, and help pages to allow you to work out more advanced uses. I strongly recommend going through the tutorials on the company’s website before you attempt to get started with your own email marketing campaign – that way any mistakes you make while you are learning (and you will make errors!) won’t be seen by your customers.

Creating a Buzz Piece

You may be thinking about providing an email newsletter service to your prospective clients or a free report with valuable information about your subject area. In both cases, a bit of forward planning is always a good idea.

If you are going to provide a regular newsletter, once you have established a schedule, spend time writing quality content for your newsletter. Plan ahead and collect useful materials to include in your next newsletter. If you are going to provide a buzz piece, make sure that you have it written and ready to go before starting to collect client’s email addresses.

Creating Content

Try creating the content for your newsletter in batches. For example, you may decide to create five articles for your upcoming newsletter. Brainstorm ideas and write them all down in one session. That way, you have a plan of action for your next few newsletters. But you don’t have to distribute all five of your articles in one go. Email marketing packages allow you to pre-write newsletters, then send out one per week as part of a series that spans one or many months.

Get to Know Your Autoresponder

Spend some time monitoring the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. Understand the features provided by your autoresponder and learn to analyze the statistics provided about your subscribers. Some useful statistics include how many subscribers open your email (the open rate), how many subscribers click links in your email (the click through rate), and demographical information about your customers such as what country they are from. This is all useful information that will help you identify opportunities and areas for improvement in future email marketing campaigns.

Lastly and not least, remember that email is a two way communication process. Take notice of the replies you get to your email marketing campaigns – they contain valuable information about your clients and what they are interested in. Get to know the subscribers of your email newsletter – it will be hopefully be the beginning of a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with your customers.