How to Create a Promotional Email Campaign

Creating an email promotion doesn’t have to be a difficult task.  If you already have your email marketing list in place and your marketing calendar planned out, you’re halfway there.  Let’s look at what the next steps are to turning on the money faucet for your business.
For this example, let’s pretend you’re promoting a new line of Widgets from Brand X.  It’s Valentine’s Day (a big holiday for Widget sales), and you want to offer 10% Brand X Widgets (for a limited time, while supplies last) with coupon code BRANDX10.  That’s everything we need to begin.
Your email marketing platform (Constant Contact, iContact, Campaigner, Mailchimp, etc.) will have an option to create a new email campaign.  They will most likely allow you to choose from a set of pre-defined email templates.  However, it would be best if you had a custom template that you make and re-use for your emails so that all the correspondence that comes from your business is consistent and your customers know what to expect.
Your email template can be an simple as your business logo and a phone number on top, or you can also include links to your website and customer service hours.  Whatever you choose to include, keep the header short and sweet so that readers can get to the most important content of the email right away.
You may also choose to include a standard footer with links to your website.  This is likely the best place for links and additional information that are not as important as the promotion but necessary for your business (like legalese and disclaimers).
It’s important to note that people have no patience.  They just don’t read an email if you don’t get their attention right away.  We recommend creating one big compelling graphic with your promotion in big bold letters to be included as the very first thing in your email (under the short header, or possibly in place of it).  Use as few words as possible to describe your deal.  Remember that pictures speak louder than words, so don’t cover more than half the image space with text (under 25% would be ideal).
Don’t forget the call-to-action!  Whether it reads “Shop Now” or “Learn More” or even “Donate Today”, customers need to be told what to do next to take action.  You can’t assume they will know that they can click the image to go to your website (which it should absolutely do).
We recommend making this graphic about 600 x 600 pixels wide.  It will be easy to read in all email browsers (desktop and mobile), and you can also use that graphic (or a derivation of it) on social media.  Be sure to make a version of your promotion graphic for inclusion on your homepage as a billboard.  Consistency in marketing is key, and it’s important that your customers know that your email message matches the branding on your site.
To support your fabulous new main image, you’ll need supporting text just below it.  This can be your wordier explanation of your sale or description of the product or products that you’re promoting.
It’s up to you as to whether or not you’d like to promote other items, categories, or brands below this.  In our experience, it’s best to keep emails as short and to the point as possible.  With that said, if you’re running an ongoing promotion like free shipping over a certain amount, or a contest, it may benefit you to include a smaller section below the main promotion with a custom graphic.
Before you schedule the email to be sent, it’s time to test your email.  Send a test to yourself and open it on your desktop, and on your phone.  Make sure all the links work!
A great thing about using a professional email marketing platform is that you can schedule your emails well in advance.  That way, you can setup all your emails ahead of time and not have to scramble at the last minute to get them done.  Good-looking email graphics can take a while and go through a few revisions before you approve, so plan ahead with an email marketing calendar.
And that’s it!  You’ve crafted an effective email marketing campaign.   On the day you send it out, be sure to keep an eye on your site traffic and email campaign reports.

Why you need to start email marketing today

As a business owner, you want to spend your marketing time in the most efficient way possible. Every second you waste licking stamps costs money, while you could be doing something else far more productive. Email marketing, when done properly, can be like turning on a money faucet.

It’s cheap

The most popular email marketing platforms begin their service tiers at under $20/month. Most charge per the amount of contacts you have in your database, starting at around 500 contacts, with higher amounts of contacts costing more. Many allow you to email your contacts as often as you want, so you can send an email every week without worry.

For comparison, if you were to send just one postcard to 500 contacts, at USPS bulk rate you would pay around 24 cents each (not including the cost of the postcard and printing), for a total of $120. There’s no trackable open or click rate from postcards, nor is there a way for the receiver to unsubscribe.

It’s effective

Depending on your industry, average email open rates hover around 20%, with a click rate of around 2.7%. If you maintain your list well and keep it fresh, you can get better than average results with minimal effort. In fact, according to a recent survey Acsend2, email is the most effective and least difficult digital marketing tactic in the toolxbox (as compared to blogs, seo, social media, content marketing, ppc, and more).

Think about your audience. These are real people who have either already bought something from you or are intrested in what you have to say (otherwise they wouldn’t have signed up for your list). You’re not taking out a billboard in hopes that someone sees your ad; you’re delivering your message directly to those who want it.

It’s easy

The most effective emails are short and sweet. You don’t have to write a novel, because nobody’s going to read it, especially on their phone. According to a 2013 survey on email opens by environment, 41% opened their email on mobile (a number that increased 30% over two years, and is growing). Users want to get the info quickly and move on.

You can plan out your email marketing strategy well in advance, and pre-schedule all your emails to go out on specific days. This way, you have plenty of time to design and approve compelling email graphics, make coupon codes, and plan for a rush of orders.

Making the choice to start using email marketing is an easy one. Deciding where to get started and how to plan for your first email is something to think through. If you need help, be sure to contact VenturaU for professional assistance with your email marketing campaign.