How To Create An Email Campaign For Your Startup

Email Campaign
Image credits: Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are a budding entrepreneur, you would definitely need to carry out a lot of email campaigns in your life. And if you think otherwise, you are missing on a great tool that can help you conduct surveys, find out potential customers for your startups and do much more within your existing network of contacts. Here are some easy to follow steps that you can use to create an effective email campaign in a very less time.

Building a contact list

If you are working on to create a new service or product in a startup, there are many chances that you would not have already existing email lists of your possible target audience. In that case an entrepreneur has to resort to his own contacts and network to start with. Let's see some example on how to use your own email accounts and network to create a target audience.

  • Linked-in: The best part of Linked-in is that it makes it easy to export your contacts including their mails. Log in to your account. From the Connections drop-down menu, select Keep in Touch menu item under the Connections drop-down. Click Settings icon in the top right and there you can see Export LinkedIn Connections under the Advanced Settings on right hand side. Export the list in any of the csv formats.
  • Yahoo mail:  Login to your yahoo mail account and click the 'contacts' button on the top-left corner. From the Actions drop-down menu, select Export. You can export the contacts in any of the csv formats (e.g. Yahoo csv).
  • Gmail: Similarly in case of Gmail, login to your account. Click Gmail at the top-left corner of your Gmail page, and then choose Contacts. From the More drop-down menu, select Export. Again choose any of the csv formats.

Creating your mails

When it comes to writing good mails that would have better possibility of evoking responses, the thumb rule for a startup or entrepreneur is to stick to the KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) principle. The email communication is going to be a representative of your startup and hence you should take good care to write good mails. Here are some basic tips that can help you:

  • Subject line: A good subject line is catchy, complete, has an action verb (ask, buy, download etc.), clear, specific and to the point. Don't use too short (2-3) words a subject but don't let is go beyond 8-10 words.
  • Message: A simple way to write a good email message is to follow the What, Why and How rule. Try to write in the first few sentences of the mail: What are you trying to offer, Why the reader should be interested, and How to get it. Keep the same sequence of these three parts as suggested. Keep the message in small paragraphs and avoid the need to scroll down to read the entire message.
  • Incentivize: Incentives are the best way to get someone interested. If you are conducting a survey for your startup, declare a prize for the best answer (normally a 'Tell us how' type of question in the survey can be used to choose the best answer etc.). A small prize like an inexpensive T-shirt costing a few hundred can increase the chances of your responses by many folds. Similarly if you are trying to sell a product, offer goodie like a free ebook or some other download in the email to increase the chance of people going to your website etc.

Sending the mails

Create a mailchimp account, the basic free account is good enough for most startup and entrepreneurs for their initial needs. Using and email marketing service like mailchimp offers a lot of additional benefits while running an email campaign:

  • You can open the csv files created in the first step in MS excel as spread sheets. The most important 3 columns in the lists above are the First Name, Last Name and the Email, you can choose to drop the others.
  • Log in mail chimp and go to the Lists in the admin panel and choose the Import option in the drop-down menu on the right hand side and import the csv files created above.
  • You are good to start your campaign now. Of course you can use the whole plethora of the features from designing your mails to using the analytics and run a good campaign.
  • While running your email campaigns, try to experiment and optimize on the best time of the day, the day of the week or other parameters to get the best responses. For example emails sent between 8am-9am and 12pm-2pm have better chances of being read. Similarly, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send the mails.

Even if you don't have a need of running an email campaign at the moment, it is advisable for a startup or entrepreneur to keep these accounts and options handy. Again the web services (email provider etc.) used here are the most common ones; you can explore your favorite email service providers. Generally the options would be more or less same as discussed above.

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