Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that allows companies to target specific groups of people based on interest. Companies can use interest-based email marketing to send relevant information to users based on the products they are viewing or searching for online.
Though there are many email marketing applications available, not all offer the same feature set or integrate well with other forms of software. Building a custom email marketing application from the ground up is a tedious process and requires a lot of planning and research beforehand. The following steps will help you create a functional email marketing application that you can use to reach your audience and grow your business.
Choose Your Platform
Chose a web development platform that you feel will be the easiest for you to expand upon and customize. The following are some considerations to make when choosing a platform:
- Ease of use
- Ease of integration
- User experience
You’ll want to use a platform that is stable and offers support for the features you need. The cost of building and maintaining the application should be considered as well; the more affordable the platform, the more you’ll have to spend on customizations (such as integrating with external systems).
Pick A Domain Name
The domain name will be the URL that people enter in their web browser when they click on a link to your site. When picking a domain name, make sure that it is easy to remember and type on a regular basis. It should also be unique and relevant to your business. If you work in B2B (business-to-business) you might want to consider.co.uk as an option since most companies using that domain name are based in the UK.
Set Up Your Email Accounts
As the name suggests, you’ll need to set up at least two email accounts for the application: one for notifications and another one for the bulk of your mail. You’ll receive notifications when someone clicks on a link in an email, so you’ll want to use a catch-all account for this (e.g. email@example.com).
The bulk of your email mail should be stored in a separate account and should not be mixed up with important notifications from customers and other correspondence you receive in your daily life. This account should be protected so that only you can access it. You can use a third-party tool like Mailgun or SparkPost to help you set up these accounts easily.
You’ll also need to consider whether you want to use the platform’s native email client or a third-party email client. The advantage of using a native email client is that it saves you the burden of having to download and set up a separate email client. The disadvantage is that you’ll need to rely on its functionality and its ability to integrate with other platforms (e.g. CRM, CMS, and others).
Plan Your Database
The database is where you’ll store all the information about your users (e.g. their name, email, company, etc.). It is important to have a clean database before you begin adding any data to it. You can use a free tool like SQLite Database Browser to help you make sure that your database file is free of any corruptions or inconsistencies before you begin using it.
You might also want to use a database abstraction layer (DBAL) to make it simpler for you to connect to various databases (e.g. MySQL, Firebase, SQL Server, etc.) and switch between them easily.
Secure Your Server
It is essential to secure your server since it will be accessible from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. You can use a tool like WordPress’s free Let’s Encrypt add-on to automatically secure your server with free web certificates before you begin using it.
WordPress also offers premium certificates that you can purchase for an additional fee, providing you with additional security for your site.
Get A Design
Once you have your platform and your domain name set up, you can begin designing your email marketing application. The first thing you’ll want to do is establish the layout and design for your application. Here are some important considerations to make when choosing a design:
- Text Alignment
- Margins & Paddings
Your theme should be highly flexible and able to accommodate all your creative needs. It should also be easy to maintain. You don’t want to waste your time with a design that is difficult to customize or extend. Additionally, ensure that the design is responsive; it will look good on all devices (e.g. desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones).
After you have your database filled with useful information, you can begin adding features to your application. You don’t want to rush the process and add features that aren’t ready or useful yet, so take your time in this phase.
The following are some features that you might want to add to your email marketing application:
- Sign up / Log in / Sign in buttons
- Contact form with email capture
- Simple blog with comment functionality
- Social media integration (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Fluid Layout
- Google Analytics integration
- And more…
Once you have a fully functional email marketing application, you can begin using it to reach your audience and grow your business.