Online Business Success

How To Send Your First Email Campaign

Sandy Tam - Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy New Year!! Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and that this new year will bring you heaps of new business opportunities!!!

Let's talk about how to send your first email campaign from your site. Email marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to promote a business to a target audience (existing customers and new leads). Every small business can benefit by leveraging the email marketing functionality of this system to send periodic campaigns and newsletters to subscribers.

Preparing a recipient list

Before you can send an email campaign, you'll compile the contact details of subscribers. This set of addresses is called a recipient list. Choose Marketing > Lists to see the interface that enables you to create new recipient lists.

In this article, you'll learn to manually add a few subscribers to your recipient list. When you are doing tests, use your own email addresses or enter your friend's email addresses. You should never subscribe visitors or individuals who have not indicated that they want to receive your messages, as this practice can be perceived as spam and can adversely affect your business. Later, as your site's customer database grows with subscribers who've signed up to receive your newsletter, you can use the list of subscribers instead.

In the side bar, click the option to Create a new list.

Enter a name for the list, such as Friends and Family and click Save. This operation creates an empty list inside the system so that new subscribers that sign up so that new subscribers can be added to it.

Next, click the option in the sidebar to view Subscribers.

The List Subscribers window appears. This interface enables you to enter subscribers names and email addresses. (For example, you may have gathered subscribers at an event by encouraging interested attendees to write their name and email address on a piece of paper... and then you can later create a recipient list named Event Attendees and manually enter their contact information). But for now, if you don't have any subscribers yet, use this area to add the email addressess of a few friends and your own email address. Enter each name and email address one by one using the Quick Subscribe form. Click Subscribe to save each entry.

After you've added the email addresses to the mailing list, close the List Subscribers window by clicking the red X in the top right corner. 

Understanding bounced email messages 

When you send email campaigns, the message content is sent to the email addresses in the recipient list you selected for the campaign. Usually, the messages are sent successfully, but there may be cases where the subscriber has cancelled their email account and the message cannot be delivered. Other issues, such as the recipient's inbox exceeding its limit, can also cause messages not to be delivered. When an email campaign message cannot be delivered, the error message is returned to the system. These are called bounce email messages.

When the system receives the message that a message bounced due to the following errors, the email addresses are added to the Global Black List for the site:

mail box unavailable  
user does not exist 

Future correspondence sent to this address is automatically blocked for 45 days unless the user verifies their address in the system before the 45 days elapses by performing a double-opt in.

A double opt-in describes the process when a visitor subscribes to a newsletter or other email marketing messages by explicitly requesting it, and then confirming the email address to be their own. In most cases, the confirmation is performed when the subscriber clicks a link in a subscription confirmation message sent to their email address, which confirms that they can access the email account and they intended to subscribe to receive the messages.

Double opt-in confirmation is always recommended, because it eliminates the chance of spam or abuse where a third-party subscribes using somebody else's email address without their knowledge and against their will.

To learn how to unsubscribe bounced email messages, read Unsubscribing email addresses that have bounced.


Creating a campaign and choosing the campaign type

 Once you've created a recipient list, you can create the actual email campaign. Choose Marketing > Email Campaigns.

In the sidebar, click Create a new campaign.

When you send an email campaign, you can choose between two types:

A one-off campaign 
A loyalty-based campaign

One-off campaigns are email newsletters that are sent once, on a specific time and date that you set. The messages will be sent to the recipient list you choose. For example, you could create a September newsletter and schedule it to send on September 1st, to your recipient list titled Event Attendees, as a one-off campaign. 

Loyalty campaigns enable you to automatically send email newsletters to subscribers on a specific anniversary date, such as the subscriber's birthday, their year anniversary of becoming a member of your site, the anniversary of a service (car tune up, event, pet grooming, etc.) You can also schedule email newsletters to be sent to subscribers when they first sign up to receive your newsletter using the loyalty campaign option.

In this example, the option to send a one-off campaign is selected.

Entering the campaign details

Enter the campaign details by typing in the following fields:

  1. Campaign Name: Friends and Family Website Notification 
  2. Email From Name: (Your name or your company's name, to ensure your friends (or recipients) will recognize where the message originated) 
  3. Email From Address: [Your own email address] - You may see a red cross here. If you've entered your email address properly, the system will automatically send an email to that address to verify that it's legitimate. This is part of the system's anti-spam policies. After you have opened the verification email, the red cross is updated to a green checkmark, and you can send newsletters with the 'From' address that you entered. 
  4. Email Subject: Introducting the new website 
  5. Select the time and date that the email newsletter will be sent. If you select a time and date that is in the past, the email will send immediately. 

Choosing an email campaign recipient

In this step, you'll learn how to choose the recipient list for an email campaign. For this example, you'll choose the Friends and Family recipient list that you created at the beginning of this article.

Notice there is an additional option to create a new list. You can also optionally choose to send an email your entire customer database. Emailing the entire customer database is great for those periodical emails to keep all your contacts up to date about news, events and special occasions in your online business, but be careful not to send too many messages each month, because too many notifications can make subscribers choose to unsubscribe. Four notifications (or less) per month is ideal.

Select the desired recipient list and click Save Draft to continue.

Choosing a design template

Your hosted site includes professionally designed email newsletter templates. You can use these designs to help you stand out from your competition. Select one of the templates to see how the addition of graphics in your newsletter makes the presentation more compelling.

Enter the email message content

Use the WYSIWYG HTML editor to enter your campaign content. The editor is similar to the interface in the Admin Console used when editing web pages. In the example below, the Latin placeholder text was deleted and replaced with a simple message encouraging my friends to visit my site. You can use tag attributes to personalize the message. Tag attributes enable the system to customize the email it sends to each of your recipients:

  • {tag_recipientfirstname} is replaced by the actual name of the recipient
  • {tag_unsubscribe} is replaced by a link to an automatically created page that allows the recipient to opt-out of receiving future emails from you
  • {tag_siteurl} is replaced by a link to your site

Preview the message and send it to recipients

Before sending an email campaign, always preview it first to make sure you are satisfied with the email message and there are no misspellings or other issues.

It's a good idea to click the button to Email Me. This causes the system to send a copy of the email campaign to your email address, so you can receive it in your inbox and confirm how it looks in your email client.

Note: You may want to try sending test email campaigns to several addresses, to compare how the message looks in a browser-based email client (such as Gmail or Yahoo mail) as well as how it looks in an email product, such as Outlook, Entourage, or Mac Mail.

Once you've confirmed that the campaign is ready to be sent, click Save and Send to view the confirmation screen. Review the settings to double check that all of the details (send time/date, subject line, recipient list, etc.) are accurate. You can also use this page to review a final preview of the campaign.

Click Send to send the campaign (or to schedule the campaign to be sent if you entered a send date that is in the future).

Close the window to finish the operation.