Email marketing is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using electronic mail (email). In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Email marketing can be done to either cold lists or current customer database. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to:
Sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business,
Sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,
Adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers
Researchers estimate that United States firms alone spent US $1.51 billion on email marketing in 2011 and will grow to $2.468 billion by 2016.
Types of email marketing
Email Newsletters are direct emails sent out on a regular basis to a list of subscribers, customers. The primary purpose of an email newsletter is to build upon the relationship of the company with their customers/subscribers.
Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer’s action with a company. Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, purchase or order confirmation emails and email receipts.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to its high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are a golden opportunity to engage customers; to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.
Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).
Direct email involves sending an email solely to communicate a promotional message (for example, an announcement of a special offer or a catalog of products). Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they can also rent a list of email addresses from service companies.
Email marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies for several reasons:
An exact return on investment can be tracked (“track to basket”) and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
Almost half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with email blasts that are delivered between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates.
Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292m in the UK.
A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered.
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States’ Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider’s acceptable use policy. Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they can also rent a list of email addresses from service companies.
Tips on how to Send E-mail Marketing Campaigns
Define the purpose of your Email Campaign :
To Start e-mail campaign on the right foot, be certain about what you define through the campaign and have a clear goad and purpose about the campaign.
Develop and Prepare your email list
Build and email list by encouraging current, previous and prospective customers to provide you with their mail address. Entice them to give you permission to send them email by providing a basic clipboard on your front counter or submit form on your website, that states “sign up here to receive coupons and discounts by email” or “ Register Here to get free email Newsletter!” Targeted opt-in email lists of individuals interested in what you offer can also be purchased at reasonable prices.
Establish a time table
When to make a campaign is important course of action to be taken while doing email marketing. Decide on how frequently you will be sending your broadcasts. There is a fine line between over doing it and not reacting out enough in order to build and maintain long-term relationships. Using a mixture of useful content and promotional messages and sending it at varying time intervals is an acceptable practice. Avoid sending too many promotional related emails.
Send emails when Readers are most receptive
Independents studies have shown the best response rates are generated from email campaigns sent on Tuesdays and Wednesday – Each region of the world has specific days, during which email campaign gets more responses, so its important to choose a specific day of action.
Write Compelling Email messages
The test body of your email is critical, Ensure your message gets right to the point with captivating content, exciting news or special offers. Be certain to include a sense of urgency with any promotional material – (i.e. Offer Expiry). Please the most important portions of your message n the first paragraph. Use bullet points to make it easy to read. Use of pleasing and clear fonts, size and colors. Inclusion of responsive mail addresses, website and mobile numbers are very important.
Use a Powerful subject line
First impression are everything!! Capture the recipients attention with the subject line. Studies have shown a well written subject line can produce open rates 10-20 greater than subject lines that are not.
Use a Strong call to Action
Use words that urge the reader of a promotional message to take immediate action such as “Call No” or “Click here” A retail advertisement without a call to action is considered incomplete and does not convert well.
Lets face it: Getting one on one personal attention is better than dealing with a faceless corporation any day of the week. Refrain from trying to sound professional and tone down the corporate speak. Your customers and prospects are your friends. Speak to them like a real people. Your response and click thru rates depend on it.
Include Unsubscribe Link
Refrain from holding the recipients of your message hostage and provide your readers with an easy and convenient method to unsubscribe from your list. It is mandated by law that you must honor all unsubscribe requests within 10 days. In addition avoid the use of deceptive headers, form names, reply-to email addresses and subject lines. All unsubscribe links in your physical mailing address in the footer of your message to identify to yourself.
This is an often over looked step. Tracking the links in your outbound messages will allow you to gain valuable insight and uncover what works and what doesn’t within your campaigns. Tracking is a standard feature in certain email marketing systems like Reliant Email. Tracking details are extremely helpful when fine tuning your email campaigns. Track what subject likes generate the most opens during your broadcasts. Analyze which messages produce the most click through to your website or phone calls to your business.
Refine and Repeat
What did you learn from your first round of email campaigns? Here are some question you can ask yourself:
What worked and what did not?
Did you achieve the desired results defined in step #1?
What can I do to improve my response and conversions for my next campaign?
Remember to continue to refine your approach and learn from your experiences and your customers. Repeat these 11 steps as needed to continue to build a successful email marketing program that keeps your customers and prospects coming back to you again and again.