When people start talking about email campaigns they usually paint them as beautifully simple to do. Step one is to put a form on your website encouraging people to sign up to your newsletter. Step Two is to send very exciting newsletters to the thousands of emails you collect.
But what if you don't have hundreds of people passing through your site every day? No problem just post to your mountain of Facebook fans or Twitter followers asking them to sign up. Don't have that ..... ah!
But before we cross that bridge lets consider something more fundamental...
Are email campaigns for you?
They sound like a good idea, a whole bunch of people rave about them, but will they work for you? To email people regularly you have to have something to say on a regular basis. Do you? Write down what the contents of your first 20 emails would be to see if subjects come regularly to mind.
For some it is a no brainer. I regularly need to use currency exchange services so my daily email from one such company gives me an update on the rates, what is on the horizon that could bring change and of course reminds me of that company. Its effective.
I regularly buy take away soup from a particular bistro. It's nice to know what's on the menu early in the day. Its effective.
I got a rambling email with very bad graphics from a book author that usually had little to do with the book he penned or writing in general. I unsubcribed. It wasn't effective because he had very little to say when it came down to it.
I have very little to say! My clients aren't really that interested in the daily ins and outs of SEO or online marketing, thats what they pay my company for. Besides there are plenty of daily newsletters out there for those who want to receive the 'daily panic' about speculated Google changes or Facebook tweaks or whatever people want to fret about today.
So before you give email campaigns too much time think again about how you would use one if you have 1,000 people waiting for your message on a regular basis.
Up until now I've been a little negative(!) so try to think high and wide. Your website sells screws and nails? What about a new furniture design project each week? You're a medical practice? What about a new excercise or healthy recipe each week?
In a nutshell give email campaigns the thought they deserve, don't dismiss them too easily but don't become obsessed by the idea either if you really can't deliver valuable content to people's inboxes.
Now if you are confident you have something to interesting to say regularly its time to understand where emails fit in online marketing.
Email campaigns have their place
They are about bringing people back, not so much about bringing people in (unless you get yourself mentioned on someone else's emailed newsletter). Don't get caught out by not understanding this.
Emailed newsletters can be extremely effective in doing this but if you want to build your subscriber list fast and you don't have website traffic or a strong social media presence the only way to do it is to drive traffic in initially via PPC/PPI.
So make an initial decision. Good emails take time to construct. If you do the job well in terms of content and presentation but are only sending to ten subscribers you aren't going to get a return on the time you invest. If you do it badly because "I only have ten subscribers" they are going to unsubscribe and you'll be back to square one anyway.