First, why do an email campaign? It’s an important question because email campaigns are not as easy as picking up the phone to make cold calls and, done right, they take time to plan. Being in the IT industry, it’s important to create a personal relationship with your audience and position yourself as an authority regarding customers’ IT needs. An email campaign is one of the best ways to educate on IT topics pertinent to customers. Consider these factors when designing an effective email marketing campaign to position yourself and company as an IT expert...

1. Start with the End

Before starting, know what your campaign needs to accomplish, imagining the perfect scenario. By starting with the goal in mind, you are able to come up with the talking points that will gain customers’ trust and become an advisor when it comes to anything IT. Why would they need your IT services? Why are you a good fit for them? What can you provide that your competitors cannot? Can we save them money? How can you help them with hurdles in their verticals? This helps focus and leverage your strengths and how to position them within the campaign.

2. Find Content to Support Your Goals

To gain trust, you need to leverage a specific offering. This can be a variety of deliverables, such as eBooks, blog posts, white papers, links to specific pages on your website and webinar invites. For example, if you’re trying to get a hospital’s business, you can help prove your expertise and add credibility by sharing a blog post on a specific pain point or a webinar on IT best practices in healthcare.

3. Outline the Communication Strategy

Be clear on what you want your campaign to accomplish. Make sure each email speaks to your audience and is relevant to their business concerns. The audience should find each communication helpful, which in turn can help get your end result. Start by writing your plan in outline form. Be sure to include each email’s key message, supporting points and content you’ll be using. Outlines help bring clarity to your message in order to meet your goals.

4. Craft Clear, Concise Messages

Be sure your email copy is concise and to the point with a clear call to action. What do you want the reader to do? If it’s click on a link to sign up for a webinar, make this clear. Get to the point — right away — to reel in your audience. Grab their interest up front and follow up with supporting material that is clear and conversational. Speak their language — they may not be as tech savvy as you may be and are really looking for someone who can relate to their business’ needs. Consider word count. For blog posts, eBooks and webinars, you can get away with having your email around 100 words. You can go over this for email further down the funnel, such as using a testimonial. But, clarity and conciseness have a direct impact on the performance of your email and the campaign — it’s key to success.

Once you have a solid email draft, be sure to spend time on the subject line. The email is worthless without a catchy subject line. Keeping the subject line at or under 10 words and using “You” seem to perform the best, from my experience. A few good examples are:

5. Test and Set Metrics

If you’re leveraging a marketing platform, track the performance and A/B test emails to optimize your campaign and test different component of your emails. This helps to learn what resonates with your audience. The benefit is if you have an email that delivers an awesome open rate of 40 percent and click-thru rate of 10 percent, you can leverage the same practices for future touches. On the flip side, if an email doesn’t perform as well as expected, re-evaluate.

A few practical A/B tests done at Continuum to optimize email campaigns for our audience include:

  • Bolded text vs. non-bolded text
  • Quote vs. no quote
  • 1 link vs. 2 links
  • Bullet points vs. paragraph

6. Re-visit and Revise

At the end of your campaign, look back to see how your emails performed as a whole and what you can learn for future campaigns. Capitalize on what worked for future touches and campaigns. When measuring the effectiveness of a campaign, include metrics pertaining to opens, clicks, downloads, visits and direct responses, to pass along to your sales team regarding how effective it was.

It’s important to remember that an email campaign builds a relationship with your audience, and for any relationship to last long-term, you need to create trust. Your audience, or email list, have shown interest in your services by signing up to receive information, so give them a reason to click, building upon the relationship. The message should be accurate and consistent on all fronts including the email itself, the content and web page they are directed to. By taking the time to craft meaningful email campaigns, you set yourself up for the long-term in building great relationships with your customers and potential customers, which results in future business.

The preceding blog post was adapted from our guest column in Business Solutions.