How to Get Started with Emarketing | Act! CRM Consultants How to Get Started with Emarketing | Act! CRM Consultants

How to Get Started with Emarketing

Get started with Act! emarketing

Even in this world of social media, email marketing is still an essential tool for business with 59% of B2B marketers believing that it is the most effective channel for generating revenue[1].

The process of implementing an email marketing campaign may seem a little daunting however once you get your strategy and process right, email marketing is a really cost effective and efficient way to keep in touch with your contacts.

Here are our 5 steps to help you get started.

Step 1 – The Email List

First thing you need is a list of contacts and their email addresses. Obvious, I know, but you need to do some planning and management of this list before you start sending. Do you have permission to send marketing emails to everyone on your list? Are you adhering to the spamming laws? Are the email addresses valid?

To manage your email list, we suggest creating a field in Act! called ‘Email Status’. Make it a drop down with options such as Active, Inactive, Unsubscribe, Bad Email and Details Required.

Email Status Options

    • Active Contacts who have given you their permission to send to them. Permission can be given via an Opt-In form on your website, email request, verbal or any interaction with your business. (See 3 rules to ensure you are Spam compliant)
    • Inactive Contacts who have not yet given permission. When corresponding with a contact with an Inactive Email Status, you can ask them if they’d like to go on your mail list. While you have their attention, you can explain the benefits of your information.
    • Unsubscribe When a recipient ‘opts-out’ of your mail list, you must update the Email Status field accordingly. Act! Emarketing tools provide you with this list and prevent you from sending to them again even if you accidentally include them in your mail list. Others people may simply reply to your email and ask to be removed. These need to be updated immediately so you don’t send to them again.
    • Bad Email If someone changes their email address, there is no point in sending emails to them unless you update it with the new address. They may have simply forgotten to update you and are missing out on your valuable information. Do a lookup ‘Email Status=Bad Email’ and call each person to update their details.
    • Details Required Use this option if the contact does not have an email address. Again, you could look up ‘Email Status=Details Required’ and give them a call to get their email address and their permission.

In addition to the Email Status field, you can create a tick box/drop down field in Act! to track different content that recipients want to receive ie events, newsletters, promotions. By using fields to manage your email list, you will ensure that you are abiding with the Spam Laws and your contacts are getting information that they want to receive .

Step 2 – The Tools

There are 2 integrated emarketing solutions for Act! that allow you to create, send and track eye-catching email campaigns; Act! emarketing (AEM) and Swiftpage emarketing (SPE). AEM is perfect for those new to emarketing as it has a sleek a simple drag-and-drop template editor. SPE is great if you use a graphic designer or create your own HTML templates. SPE also has marketing automation so you can automatically send emails depending on the interaction with your email. For more information read the differences between Act! emarketing and Swiftpage emarketing.

A third option is the Act! Outlook integration. Outlook is easy, free and works seamlessly with Act!. Before sending your newsletter out via Outlook, there are some serious downsides to consider. Although one of the best email programs out there, Outlook was never designed for bulk emailing. You are not able to tell when an email has been opened or when a link has been clicked so it’s difficult to measure the campaign success. Sending 1000’s of emails out through Outlook presents a high risk of being branded a spammer which can get you blacklisted. That means none of your emails, including work-related ones, will go through until the blacklist is lifted. With these factors in mind, we suggest only using the Outlook with Act! for email merges with less than 100 contacts.

Step 3 – The Template

The most important part of your email campaign is the template. This is what your recipients will see and act upon (or not). It should look professional, reflect your business, contain appropriate content and have an effective call to action. See tips on creating content for your template.

Both SPE and AEM have easy to use online template editors with many built-in templates to help get you started. See the videos tutorials on Act! Emarketing.

If you use a graphic designer or create your own HTML templates, you can upload them to SPE or AEM.  This can be easier as you can work offline and upload when it’s complete however it does require HTML skills. If you are just starting, we suggest using AEM to create your templates.

Step 4 – The Send

Check, check and check again
Before you send your email out to your list, always send it to yourself first. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes, the links and images are correct and that it looks good. Getting at least one other person in the office to check is a good idea as you tend to overlook mistakes when you have been working on the same template from while. Also, get them to check that the message is clear and the call to action is enticing.

Create Your List
To create your email list, simply lookup ‘Email Status=Active’. If you are using a field to track different email topics (see Step 1) you can narrow the lookup so you only send to the contacts that want to see that information e.g. promotions.

Now view your lookup in the Contact List view. Customise the view so that you can see the following fields: Email Status, Email Address, Salutation or First Name and any other merge fields that you may have included. Sort by each of these fields (click on the heading) to tidy up your list. For example, if you sort by the email address field, you might see contacts that don’t actually have an email address. Update their Email Status to ‘Details Required’. If you have included their First Name/Salutation so that the email says ‘Hi John’ (assuming their name is John), sort by that field to make sure everyone has a name. This is a great way to clean up your database. See our top 6 ways to avoid dirty data.

Send the Email
When you are happy with the template and your list, it’s time to send the email. Timing of the send is another important factor to consider to maximise the effectiveness of your campaign. If it’s taken you all week to create the email, don’t send at 4:30pm on a Friday afternoon as you probably won’t get a great open rate. Popular times for sending are mid-week however it depends on your industry and what you are sending. It’s a testing process so try different days/times and see what provides the best results.

History
Act! enables you to create a history item of the send for each contact. The results of your campaigns can then be recorded in Act! history as well so you can see the interaction that the contact had with your email. Although this may be important in some cases, it can take a while to record a history item for thousands of contacts so decide if you really need this data before selecting the ‘create history’ option.

Step 5 – The Review

Both AEM and SPE both provide easy-to-analyse graphs and detailed reports so you can find out exactly what happened after your email was sent, including open rates, clicks, bounces, and opt-outs. This is really powerful as you have just spent precious time creating your template, so you want to make sure your efforts are worth it. Using this data, you can measure the effectiveness of your emails and better understand your recipients.

Another feature of both AEM and SPE is the ‘Call List’. By prioritising contacts based on who opened your email and what they clicked on you can create a Call List to  show your ‘hottest’ leads.

To help you update your database, you can also obtain ‘unsent’ and ‘bounce’ reports. You can then update your database manually or use a merge tool such as MergeAdmin to import and update your Email Status field.

If you have any questions or need help with any of the above steps or the entire process, please call us on 1300 362 046.

How to ensure your emails don’t end up as SPAM Read our other marketing blogs

SPEAK TO AN ACT! SPECIALIST in Australia 1300 362 046

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