E-mail can be a powerful marketing opportunity for your business. Like a Web site, e-mail messages can link your customers directly to the products and information that they need. With e-mail messages, you can control when your customers receive the information you want to share: during a big sale, after a new product is released, or immediately before an important event. Although your Web site must appeal to customers who arrive from many sources (advertisements, searches, recommendations from other customers), an e-mail marketing campaign can be focused on a particular topic and can target the needs of a specific group of customers. There are other benefits to e-mail marketing, too: e-mail newsletters are much cheaper than paper newsletters and are much better for the environment.

Using E-Mail Marketing beta in Microsoft Office Live Small Business, you can take advantage of the power of e-mail. With it you can create marketing campaigns, control which contacts receive them, reuse campaigns, and track the success of your campaign.

Plan your campaign
Choose your goal You know what you want: site traffic, product sales, or a well-attended event. But do you know what your customers want? E-mail marketing campaigns that focus on meeting a specific customer need are the most likely to generate action. For example, many businesses find that telling customers about sales (site-wide or on specific products) gives those customers a reason to buy now instead of later.

A picture is worth a thousand clicks Images capture attention and communicate a lot of information. For example, if you are releasing a new product, include a picture of it in your campaign and a link for more information.

An engaging subject line is half the battle A message that has a dull subject line is unlikely to be opened. And if your subject is misleading -for example, if it implies that the message includes a special discount, but there is none -then customers will be angry that you have tricked them. Choose a short, clear subject that tells the recipients what is in the message and why they want to read it.

Manage your mailing list
Nobody likes to receive spam. Too many unprofessional businesses use the Internet to flood inboxes with unwanted messages that have dubious content. Make sure that your customers have told you that they want to receive e-mail from your business, and that they have set their e-mail program to accept messages from your address so that your campaigns are not accidentally classified as spam.

In Microsoft Office Live Small Business, you can use Contact Manager to create groups of customers who want to receive your newsletters, notices, or other communication.

Notes:

  • You can only send e-mail marketing campaigns to groups in Contact Manager. If a contact wants to receive a newsletter, but is not in a group, you must add that person to a group before you send the campaign.
  • The group Newsletter subscriber has been created for you automatically; you can use this group or send campaigns to other groups also.
  • Every e-mail marketing campaign message contains an unsubscribe link. If a customer clicks that link, he or she remains in the group, but will not receive messages that are sent to that group in the future.

View the contacts that are in the Newsletter subscriber group

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Contact Manager, and then click Business Contacts.
  2. Under Business Contacts, select Newsletter subscriber. A list of contacts assigned to the group appears in the preview pane.

Add a new contact to the Newsletter subscriber group

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Contact Manager, and then click Business Contacts.
  2. On the actions bar, click New, and then click Contact.
  3. In the New Contact form, type information in the text boxes to describe the contact.
  4. Under Groups, select Newsletter subscriber.
  5. To subscribe the contact to your newsletter, under Campaigns, select Send to E-mail or Send to Alternate E-mail.
  6. Click Save.

Add an existing contact to the Newsletter subscriber group

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Contact Manager, and then click Business Contacts.
  2. Under the actions bar, click the arrow next to View, and then click View all.
  3. Click the contact that you want to assign to a group, and then on the actions bar, click Edit.
  4. In the Edit Contact form, under Groups, select a group.
  5. To subscribe the contact to your newsletter, under Campaigns, select Send to E-mail or Send to Alternate E-mail.
  6. Click Save.

Create a new group

If you plan to send more than one type of newsletter, you can create additional groups for each group of subscribers, if that helps you manage your campaigns.

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Contact Manager, and then click Business Contacts.
  2. On the left navigation bar, click Add a group, and then, in the Add a Group box, type the name of the new group.
  3. Click OK. The new group appears in your Business Contacts list.

Create your campaign
After you have decided on the information that you want to include in your campaign, and you have identified the recipients, you can design the message and set the details.

Only the account owner for your Microsoft Office Live Small Business account can create e-mail campaigns.

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Web Site, click Promote Your Business, and then click E-Mail Marketing Beta.
  2. Click Create Campaign. The Create Campaign page appears.
  3. In the Recipients and credits section, under Add Recipients, click + Add.
  4. In the Add Subscribers by Group dialog box, select the check box for each group that you want to send the campaign to, click Add, and then click Save.
  5. Under Credits required to send this campaign, the estimated number of credits required to send your campaign appears. For more information, see "About credits," later in this article.
  6. Under Campaign details, in the From box, type the display name as you want it to appear. For example, you might use the name of your company.
  7. In the Subject box, type the subject of your campaign. This will be used as the subject line in your e-mail message; make sure that you select an appropriate title that will interest your recipients.
  8. In the E-mail for replies box, type the e-mail address that you want customers to reply to.

    Note Turn on click tracking is on by default. This useful feature helps you track how many customers click links in your campaign messages, so that you can gauge how effective the campaign is. For more information about reports, see "Track your success," later in this article.

  9. To create your e-mail message, click Design your campaign. This opens the campaign template, where you can compose and format messages, change the font style and color, and add links, images, and maps. To preview your message while you create it, in the campaign template window, click View.
  10. When you have finished formatting your message, click Save, close the campaign template, and return to the Create Campaign page. To preview your message, on the Create Campaign page, next to the Edit button, click Preview.

Save a draft of an e-mail marketing campaign and edit it later

While you are creating a campaign, if you decide that you want to finish it later, you can do so.

  1. Under Status, select Save as draft, and then click OK. The draft is saved in your list of campaigns.
  2. When you are ready to edit the campaign, on the left navigation bar, click Promote Your Business, and then click E-Mail Marketing Beta.
  3. A list of your e-mail campaigns appears. Under Subject, find the name of the e-mail marketing campaign that you want to edit.
  4. To the right of the campaign date, click Edit. The Create Campaign page appears.
  5. Under each section that you want to change, click Edit.
  6. Make the changes that you want, and then click OK.

Test your campaign

After you have created your e-mail campaign message, you can test it before you send it to your contacts.

  1. Under Test campaign and status, next to Send a test e-mail to, type your e-mail address.
  2. Click Send test to send your test message.

Note: You are provided with a sufficient number of test messages to test your campaigns. These tests do not count against your credits for actually sending your campaign.

Schedule or send your campaign

  • To send the campaign now, under Status, select Send immediately, and then click OK.
  • To send the campaign at a later time, under Status, select Schedule delivery for, select the date and time in the drop-down lists, and then click OK.

About credits

At the beginning of each monthly billing period, you are issued a set number of credits for E-mail Marketing campaigns (the number of credits depends on the plan you selected). Each e-mail recipient of a campaign costs one credit. The estimated number of credits required for your campaign appears in the Credits required to send this campaign section of the Create Campaign page.

Notes:

  • If the number of credits required for your campaign exceeds the number of credits that you have, you are billed automatically for the additional credits.
  • The credits estimate required to send this campaign is based on the total number of individuals in the groups that you select as recipients for your campaign. If a person is included in more than one group, that recipient only receives one message and you only pay for one message to that recipient.

Reuse an e-mail marketing campaign
If a campaign was successful, you may want to use the message again, changing the details to reflect new sales, events, products, or other information.

  1. On the left navigation bar, click Promote Your Business, and then click E-Mail Marketing Beta.
  2. A list of your e-mail campaigns appears. Under Subject, find the subject line for the e-mail marketing campaign that you want to reuse.
  3. Under Actions, click Copy.
  4. A new campaign with the same name appears. Under Actions, click Edit to edit the duplicate campaign.

Track your success
There are many ways to track whether an e-mail marketing campaign was successful. Two of the most popular ways are to track clicks in the messages themselves and to track visitors and page views for the whole site.

View details about the campaign

You can see a complete history of your campaign after it is sent, including information about how many customers clicked links in the message.

  1. On the left navigation bar, click Promote Your Business, and then click E-Mail Marketing Beta.
  2. The Your Campaigns page appears.
  3. Under Subject, click the name of the e-mail marketing campaign that you want to view. The Campaign Details page for that campaign appears showing a complete history for the campaign, including the following:
    • The date and time that the campaign was scheduled and sent
    • The number of message recipients
    • The number of clicks on links within your message made by the recipients, unless you turned click-tracking off when you created the campaign
    • The number of replies that were received to your message
    • The number of e-mail addresses that generated a non-delivery message
    • The number of recipients who have chosen to unsubscribe

View site reports

To better see the effect your e-mail marketing campaign has had on site visits, look at the Web Site Usage Overview report for the days after your campaign is sent.

When you use click-tracking, which is turned on by default when you create a campaign, Office Live Small Business automatically adds an event marker to the Web Site Usage Overview report representing your campaign. If the campaign is successful, it is likely that you will see increased visits in the days after the campaign is sent.

To view the Web Site Usage Overview report, do the following:

  • On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Reports.
    The Web Site Usage Overview report appears.

View the results of your e-mail campaign in the Referring Sources report

Microsoft Office Live Small Business automatically creates reports about the sources that refer customers to your site. Your e-mail marketing campaign is a referring source, so after you send your campaign, you can view the click results of your campaign in the Referring Sources report without adding any additional settings.

  1. On the Home page, on the left navigation bar, click Reports.
  2. In Reports, on the left navigation bar, click Referring Sources.
  3. On the Referring Sources page, in the Source column, click the e-mail campaign report link.
  4. To view the e-mail campaign, click the Web address link. The page opens in a new browser window.

A powerful way to promote your business
E-mail marketing can be a very effective way to inspire your customers to click a link, attend an event, or purchase a product. Microsoft Office Live Small Business enables you to manage subscriber lists and customize your message so that your campaign can be specific and interesting to its recipients. After you send the campaign, you can track how effective it is at generating clicks and page views. Over time, you can assess the messages that are most effective in influencing your customers, and you can edit your messages to get the best response. E-mail marketing can help you bring your message to your customers quickly and powerfully.