If you are serious about adding e-mail to your marketing mix, you should take e-mail seriously enough to develop a plan for it. Too many organizations launch a half-baked e-mail program and then are disappointed when it doesn’t live up to expectations.
The plan does not have to be as long as War And Peace, but it must include a few key elements so that you can develop a focused, targeted, measurable program that gets results. At a minimum, here are elements that I recommend:
• Audience Definition
• Key Messages
First, determine what is it that you want e-mail program to achieve from marketing and communications perspectives. Is this a newsletter designed for relationship management purposes, or is it a sales-oriented vehicle? Are you trying to build awareness, generate leads, increase web traffic, encourage loyalty, or close sales?
Next, you need to define audiences. Who are you trying to reach? What do you know about them from demographic and psychographic perspectives? Are you addressing multiple audiences? If so, do you need to segment your audiences and develop e-mails with different messages? How will each audience profit from our communications.
Now, what is it you want to say to each audience? What’s nature of content? Will this include just editorial information or will it also contain some sales-oriented material?
Closely tied to messages is your format. Are you producing a newsletter with a lot of editorial material, or does it contain just brief snippets of information? Is it an announcement list, a discussion list, or just commercial messages? Think about your audiences as you develop most appropriate format.