The Who, What, Where, When, & Why
of Sending Effective Email
Social media marketing is an essential ingredient in today’s business world. Crafting your message for Facebook posts and scheduling tweets are very important, but how is the rest of your online presence? It can be easy to forget about the lowly, old email, but don’t be fooled. Email is still a vital way to reach out to clients and customers and should not be ignored. Here are the who, what, where, when, and why questions you need to consider when you put together your email marketing plan.
- Why are you doing email marketing?
The first thing to do at the beginning of any email marketing plan is to determine its purpose. Do you hope to increase sales or provide free resources? Is the main focus to showcase a new product or share best practice information? Do you want to include a feature, such as highlighting key clients? Sit down and come up with a short description of why you’re reaching out through email and you’ll be off to a good start.
- Who is your target audience?
Are you reaching out to current customers? Are you hoping to reach website visitors, social media users, or technology professionals? What are the demographics of your target audience? Are they homemakers, parents, or students? Getting a handle on who you’re addressing will help make the rest of your decisions flow with greater ease and solid reasoning.
- What are your goals?
This is a step that it is easy to miss. Instead of just casting your email to the proverbial wind, come up with some concrete goals. Decide on a percentage amount you’d like to increase your list over the next year. Aim to maintain a click-through rate (CTR) that is higher than your industry average. Increase sales or downloads by a chosen percent. Regardless of how you decide to measure your progress, a goal post will be a good incentive.
- Where should you place the emphasis in your emails?
Once you have a sense of your intention, goals, and audience, identify the types of content and media to include in your emails. Will your audience respond to video, graphics, or downloadable content? Will your sales increase by sending coupons or making special offers? Maybe your audience will respond well to heartwarming people stories or inspirational quotes. Do you want to raise your profile by sending review site links? Allow yourself to stay fluid and shift your content as needed for maximum impact.
- When will you send your emails?
Create a schedule. How frequently will you send your offers or newsletters? Decide when you want to distribute your email, then put together a timeline for developing content and drafting articles in advance.
- Who will be the responsible parties?
Do you know who will create content for your articles? How about the graphics? Who has a good eye for proofreading? Who will produce the draft, then who will approve your e-newsletter? Determine a point person for each task for an efficient email production line.
- Where will you distribute your content beyond the primary email list?
Rather than ignoring email in lieu of the powerful influence of social media marketing, consider keeping contact with your core audience through direct email and then repackaging and redistributing information from your emails for other outlets. Think about which distribution channels will work best for you and your current content. Should you write a press release or a blog post? Include the email content on a website archive? Do you have images that would be great for Instagram or Pinterest? Reshape your content for the social media that is most beneficial to you.
And now for one more “w” question:
- What are your results?
You’ve set your goals. How did it pan out? Measure your results according to purchases, click-through and open rates, and downloads. What was your most clicked content? Which content was shared the most? Did many emails bounce? Use your results to improve your process. Pay attention to who is subscribing, which content does the best, and which, if any, received a spam flag. Don’t take any “negative” feedback personally. Instead, use it as good information to better fine tune what you’re sending. Emphasize the positive, continue to learn about your audience, build your list, and keep making that direct connection with email.