How To Get Started With Email Marketing

Including ideas of what to put in your email messages

Email Marketing is one of the many low running cost marketing tools in a business' toolbox. With it's increased popularity in recent years many small businesses have looked to get started with email marketing and reap the benefits.

Getting started with email marketing can be a simple process, which is probably why so many small businesses are doing it. However the difference between a successful email campaign and one that burned up while entering the atmosphere of potential customers is how you do it.

I have listed below the basic steps you need to take to get started with email marketing. I have also listed some ideas of what to put in your email campaigns. I have used an accommodation business, like a bed and breakfast or small hotel as an example to help give you a clearer understanding.

Here's what you need to do;

Start Email Marketing

  1. Firstly sign up to a email service provider like MailChimp.com or Dotmailer
    [I'm recommending MailChimp because I find it the most user friendly for my customers]
  2. Start collecting subscribers LEGALLY!
    [Legally: You cannot add email addresses to your list without the holders permission first. If you have an existing list think about if you have express permission from everyone on it before you merge it into your new email service provider. Read more about Email Marketing Legal Requirements here]
  3. Add a Sign-Up form to your website. - Like this one [new window]
    [Ask your web developer to help you do this or contact me for support]
  4. Build up your subscribers list.
    [Start encouraging people to sign up to your newsletter. You can read my article about Get More Email Subscribers here]
  5. Draft up your first email message / campaign & get ready to send.
    [Don't blindly send emails willy-nilly, think carefully about what to send and why. Make people want to read it, don't just send them spammy sales emails.]
  6. Send your message & monitor activity.
    [Monitor your subscribers activity and see who opened your message, clicked a link or shared it with friends. This all helps you improve your campaigns over time.]
  7. Send regularly but not too much!
    [Work out a periodic scale to when you will send out campaigns and stick to it, weekly, monthly, quarterly. People will in time learn to expect it and look out for your latest campaign]

What To Put In Your Email Campaigns

Knowing what to put into your email campaigns can sometimes be the tricky bit. You don't want something too salesy and spam-like, plus you don't want to bore your subscribers.
Quality content that will interest your readers is the key point here.
Do some research, sign up to a number of newsletters from similar business' to yours. This could be holiday lets in your area or cottages in other parts of the UK.

Here are some email newsletter content ideas for holiday accommodation business'. You could combine a few of these content ideas into your campaigns or vary the subject matter from time to time. Keep it simple & be specific, there's no need to go on and on as your readers might get discouraged by long emails.

  • Latest Offers
    [Your latest offers and late availability discounts.]
  • Local Events
    [Forth coming local events / festivals that have a tourist pull factor to your area. This can benefit potential guests and those who have already booked and are planning what to do when they get there.]
  • In-house Events
    [Forth coming events at your holiday park / hotel that might attract visitors. Live music, entertainment, etc]
  • Sell the area!
    [Write about the high points of visiting your area and encourage readers to visit. From the best beaches to local attractions tell them why its a great place to visit. They might in turn book with you?]
  • Special Occasion Offers
    [Such as valentines romantic breaks, Christmas holiday discounts, Mothers day short breaks, honeymoon deals etc.]
  • Yours News
    [Your latest achievements, awards or other exciting developments, though try to avoid blowing your own trumpet too much. Think carefully if you have enough future developments to sustain a news based campaign]
  • Competitions
    [Competition where by anyone who reply's and answers a question correctly is entered into a draw to win a free nights stay etc.]
  • Guest Testimonials
    [Why not add recent guest testimonials to your email campaigns and encourage those who have recently stayed to send their own feedback as well for a chance to get in the next newsletter? Everyone loves their own piece of the pie.]
  • Collaborate With Others
    Ask related business owners to contribute a small piece of writing to your email campaign, A) to interest your readers, & B) in exchange for a mention in their own newsletter to their members. For example a kayaking tour company could write about exploring the Pembrokeshire coast by sea in your newsletter. They would then return the favour and inform their own newsletter members about great places to stay (your accommodation) in the area. Everyone wins.]

So in summary; set your self up with an email marketing platform provider, build up your subscriber list (See Get More Email Subscribers for ideas), decide on your email subject matter and make time to keep a regular email marketing campaign flowing.
You may also want to read: Email Marketing Legal Requirements if your unsure on current laws.