Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to Start a Career in Ecommerce Part 4, Email Marketing

You've learned the basics by getting started with a site, and you've learned how to use web analytics.  Now it's time for some basic marketing, and nothing is more basic in the world of ecommerce like email marketing.

But before you start, you're going to need a population to email.  You likely don't have access to such a group, but I'm betting that there is a local non-profit in your area that has an email list that would love to be the recipient of your volunteer work.  A church, conservation group, or any other non-profit will do.  They'll have access to names, and will be giddy to receive the help.  As one who's done this before, trust me - you'll be a hero.

Armed with a cause and some names, you now need a means to send them.  Sending them in a massive batch through a traditional email pipe will look a lot like spam to the inbound ISPs, hence your efforts will get killed by their spam filters before they're ever delivered.  Likewise, you won't be able to track performance to see critical things like how many folks opened the email, how many clicked, what they did when the clicked, etc.

Thankfully, there are some email marketing platforms that will help you get the mail to your audience and will also track your performance.  A great place to start is with Constant Contact, which offers a free 60 day trial.  Beyond the training period, should you want to continue to support your non-profit with email services (they'll LOVE you if you do), you'll find that Constant Contact offers substantially reduced rates for non-profits.

Armed with the list, it is now time to craft a message.  Determine the goal of the message you'll be sending (donations, attendance, volunteers, etc.) and build content to support the "conversion" you are looking to drive.  And while you'll be new to all of this, Constant Contact has testing mechanisms to allow you, in real time, to deploy different versions of your message to determine which ones perform better than others.  Armed with this insight, you can modify your message, test it against new ideas, and ultimately optimize the performance.

Hypothesize, test, optimize: It is the key to all ecommerce marketing work, and email is a great place to start to see it in action.

There's a group out there that needs your help.  Likewise, you've got access to some very powerful learning tools that are available to you for free.  Hence, if you're really looking to learn about ecommerce, the only thing that is stopping you is you.

Good luck! 

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