When embarking on an email marketing campaign, the main focus will always be building up the subscriber list as quickly as possible. A decent subscriber list makes up the foundation of any email marketing campaign as without it all the other aspects, such as content, are pointless - there would be no-one to read it.
Building your subscriber list, as unlikely as it seems, is actually the easy part. You should have at least a few dedicated followers of your brand who will sign up straight away, and e-commerce sites will benefit from customers who make a purchase signing up too. You can make one-off offers for signing up, such as discounts or free e-books. From there, you would hope people will share the first few emails you send out, which are packed with great content, and see your subscription list build up that way.
But what happens a few months down the line, when you actually have a list built up? You may notice open rates dropping or even people unsubscribing entirely. It's a common mistake among first-time email marketers is to focus too heavily on making gains rather than sustainability.
Sustaining an email marketing campaign means producing great content on a regular basis which can be incredibly hard - even the greatest minds hit a block eventually. The unpredictable nature of content production means that you need to allow for slow months and make the most of when you're feeling particularly productive.
The best way to plan your email marketing campaign is to create a monthly content plan, with your strongest ideas as the main focal point of each month. This should mean that your emails are consistently strong, and negates the all-too-common dilemma of using up all your good ideas straight away!
You need to build up a rapport with your customers as you want them to think of your messages as something to look forward to rather than dull corporate nonsense. Personalise your messages - even something as simple as addressing the customer by name at the top of the email can work. Consider the tone of your emails too; generally a conversational tone works best when 'humanising' a brand, but you should work towards creating your own 'voice'. You won't hit on this straight away, but as you get more confident in your content you should find your 'voice' naturally breaks through.
Also make sure that you have a hotshot copywriter churning out eye-catching subject lines on a regular basis. Even if a subscriber likes your brand, a boring subject line can be enough to turn them off opening your email. Like your content, consider building up a bank of proven subject line templates - there are plenty of online guides and books that break down the science of great headline (and subject line) writing.
It's well documented that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so make sure you aren't sending out too many emails and boring (or even annoying) your subscribers. Anything more than once a week is too much and will probably lead to your emails being sent to the spam folder. However, you may even find that sending one email a week is affecting the quality of your content so the best option is to send out a well thought-out monthly email or, if you have particularly dedicated subscribers, a comprehensive quarterly.