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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Your email marketing campaign checklist

Emails are a popular marketing method. As the costs are low, they're simple to set up and it's relatively easy to track responses and measure success. But they are also great for staying in touch with customers and providing an opportunity to promote your products and services. David Coghlan has some useful email marketing tips in this essential checklist

Whether you're new to email marketing or simply want to make sure you're doing it right, here's a simple checklist you can refer to when creating your next campaign.

Planning

  • Segment your audience and consider what would be the best way to approach them; email may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Design and layout. This should create impact but also allow the message to be clearly delivered. The design should support the message, not dominate it.
  • Share icons. Link to all social media channels to encourage sharing and connecting and to spread the word about your messages.

Message

  • Keep your core message clear and simple. Don't try and overload it by cramming in more than one message. Leave that for your next campaign.
  • Legal requirements. Make sure you are compliant with the Data Protection Act, the Corporate Telephone Preference Service and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations to avoid some hefty fines or even prosecution.
  • Platforms. Have a plain text version for those who can't see images. A recent report showed that surprisingly, only 48% usually have images switched on in their emails.

Pre-send checks

  • Proofread your email and check for typos or spelling mistakes. It is always worth getting someone to check over it for you as well - two pairs of eyes are better than one.
  • Check that any links you've included actually work and follow through to the correct site. If you include links to your social media sites, check they go through to the right pages before you click send.
  • Test your email out on all platforms, such as PC, mobile phone, iPad and so on. Bear in mind that 79% of smartphone users use their phones for reading email.
  • Call to action. Have a clear objective of what you want the reader to do when they see your email. This will be helpful when creating the initial content and design as well.
  • Provide your reader with a simple unsubscribe option at the end of the email so that you adhere to legal requirements.

Follow-up

  • Integrate your email marketing with other marketing activities, especially social media.
  • Track your campaign (looking at clickthroughs and open rates) to measure success. This analysis will also allow you to see if your call to action was followed up.
  • Trial and error. Sending email campaigns is a learning curve, and most of what you learn is from your previous campaigns. Take note of the areas you fall short in and you'll know what to do next time.
  • Capture response. Remember those who acknowledged your campaign, and equally those who didn't. Enter this information into a database.
  • Capture bounce backs. Take note of those emails that bounce back so you know who to re-send to and those whose details need updating.
  • Capture un-subscriptions. Those who unsubscribe from your email need removing from the contact list straight away, or highlighting as no further contact required. Failure to do so could lead to penalties.

Some of these suggestions may seem obvious, but if you follow this checklist, you can trust your campaigns rather than just hitting the send button and hoping for the best.

Written by David Coghlan.

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