Building an email marketing list from scratch and starting a newsletter can sound like A LOT of work. But, it’s worth investing in your most committed audience: those who are willing to invite you into the privacy of their email inbox.
We use and recommend MailChimp (here’s how to set it up!). It’s easy to customize, and integrates well with many web platforms. Plus, it’s free to use with up to 2,000 subscribers!
Follow these tips for getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns:
Get permission. We cannot stress this one enough (in fact, we wrote a whole article on it). Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) came into effect July 1, 2014, and one of its major goals has been to protect consumers from being contacted electronically. You can stay up to date on tips for staying CASL compliant by visiting their website. At the time of writing this, their 4 main tips are:
- Don’t send a message without consent.
- Provide an opportunity for customers to say no (we like MailChimp for their built-in “unsubscribe” options)
- Clearly identify your company.
- Be truthful in advertising.
Having permission to contact your subscribers will protect you and all that you do. We even designed a formula called Borden Snaps, so that you can sleep easy, knowing that you have permission to photograph and email your customers!
Stick to a schedule. Try treating your email marketing as a business process, rather than an afterthought. If you need help, put a recurring reminder in your calendar! A schedule will help keep your communications consistent, and it means your subscribers will have clearer expectations on when they will hear from you. For example, our monthly round-up goes out at the end of every month (Have you subscribed yet?).
Remember: you’re in their space. Someone gave you permission to be in their personal inbox, so be respectful! Avoid constantly pitching or selling to your subscribers. Offer them value and communicate how grateful you are to have them as part of your community.
Manage expectations. Let your subscribers know what they’re signing up for. Your sign-up form can communicate a lot, and even let them choose what types of updates they want (here’s ours as an example). What will subscribers receive? How often will they get your emails? Stick to the expectations you’ve created.
Get whitelisted. In other words, get marked as safe to enter people’s inboxes. Most email marketing services will have best practices for you to follow, and for most people on your list you will already be marked as safe. Still, it’s worth looking into getting more people to add you to their address books! Here are some tips for prompting users to whitelist your MailChimp newsletters.
Take advantage of your automated workflow. Wow, that sounds technical. Basically, your automated workflow will let you send a welcome email to new newsletter subscribers right away. Make the most of this feature by using the welcome email as an opportunity to introduce yourself, link to helpful resources, and manage expectations. Keep it short and welcoming. If you want to get fancy, you can set up more automated emails and choose “triggers” for each of them.
Don’t be scared to segment. Your email list can be split into targeted groups. We keep it simple between subscribers to our monthly round-up, and those who want to receive updates every time we publish something. If you have created a segment, you will be able to send that list of customers a better-targeted email with offerings they will be more interested in. For example, your dairy-free customers might respond better to an email that only includes your dairy-free offerings!
Give something away. In a past newsletter, we offered our subscribers a free download of our smoothie guide. Be generous with those who care about your company – Sharing is caring!
Don’t forget mobile: it accounts for a large percentage of opens! Think about your own email-checking behaviour. How often do you open emails on your phone? MailChimp lets you see what your newsletter will look like on both desktop and mobile devices before you hit SEND. Double check that your newsletter looks great on both before sending your newsletter out.
Once your first newsletter is done, email marketing will become a natural extension of how you interact with your customers online. And it only gets easier! We promise, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”via @bordenteam”]talking to your most engaged customers is well worth it[/inlinetweet].
Kindly note: We don’t like to refer to ourselves as “experts”, but we do take great pride in sharing our business advice, distilled down from our extensive research and (often) mind-blowingly frustrating experiences we’ve endured and learned from. We try our best to create a clear and humble approach to good business tactics that you and your teams can understand and turn into effective and productive revenue streams. We are actual, real people and look forward to supporting you in any way we can, whether it’s on the topic of this post, or other business development and marketing communications you may be involved in, or considering. We are proud of the services we provide; if you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask us – we also take pride in being super responsive!