I'm sure many of you out there have been in this position: you craft a beautiful, logical, well thought through email which is due to be sent to a large stakeholder list. Then you hit send. After a few seconds you experience that moment we all dread - "did I forgot to attach the file?", or worse still, "did I forget to delete the sensitive information in the mails below which I've now forwarded!?"

As you can see, that's the best (and worst) thing about email - it's easy, it's efficient, it's scalable and of course it's instantaneous. There's no come back. Situations like those mentioned above explain why we all (should) think very carefully about why we send volume emails, to whom we send it, what it's supposed to say and what the outcome is that we wish to have.

Email marketing is no different. However the potential reward of doing things right - winning new customers, retaining existing customers and ultimately building long-term customer loyalty - can have a dramatic impact on your business.

The key to achieving these goals, and getting the most out of Sage E-marketing for Sage CRM, is to focus on building an email marketing programme.

This firstly begins with formulating an email marketing strategy according to company goals with measurable KPIs. In order to send relevant, desirable content to customers and prospects, you should then establish rules for segmenting your list. The next step is to focus on your design and layout, ensuring each section of your mail conforms to best-practice and makes its way into the recipient's mailbox. After this stage, you will consider ways to grow and manage your list, refining it to ensure you spend your resources on the right targets, and reduce the attrition rate. As time goes on, and you become more confident and experienced with email marketing, there will be an opportunity to increase campaign ROI by introducing automation, such as the drip marketing functionality in Sage E-marketing for Sage CRM. The final process will be to analyse your campaign results, and make the necessary changes to ensure your email marketing programme is meeting your company goals.

Over a series of 6 whitepapers, I will be covering each of the stages of the email marketing programme, which I hope will give partners and customers some guidance on best-practice, and therefore help you get the most out of Sage E-marketing for Sage CRM.

Coming soon will be the first paper on "Email Marketing Strategy", so keep an eye on the Ecosystem!