Over half of all internet users check email every single day so it is no surprise that email marketing has become an essential tool for many within the marketing industry. It has been used right from the early days of the internet but what is it and do you need to implement it into your strategy?
What is email marketing?
If you have an email address the chances are 99.9% probability that you will have received numerous emails which are simply marketing emails. The majority of the campaigns that reach are inboxes are in fact rubbish and will get deleted or ignored without any engagement.
Email marketing however is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail – email as a means of communicating. What you communicate is totally up to yourself and your business requirements however, in most cases it is sale or informative email.
Every email a business sends to a customer or prospect could be considered as a marketing email, generally email marketing refers to the act of sending an email for strengthening the relationship between them and your business or brand. Emails which form part of an email marketing strategy encourage customer loyalty and as a result repeated business. Once you have this strong relationship with your customers your e-shots can be created and executed in such a way that it encourages them to act on impulse and purchase something immediately.
Ask yourself how many times you have received a “FLASH SALE!” email and then clicked through and purchased something from a brand or company your familiar with and hold an online relationship with.
Whilst email marketing is a fantastic tool for customer retention and engaging with your current customers it also is brilliant for businesses looking to acquire new customers or to get your company or brand in front of potential customers.
Not only can you reach a substantial number of email contacts who have opted in to receive email communication from you but you can also personalise emails, reaching out to individuals with relevant and dynamic messages and making them feel important.
Email marketing is trackable
Most email marketing platforms will give you the analytics to be able to track the response to your e-shot. There will be statistics available to you on say how many people opened or clicked on the email but also other metrics like whether they forwarded the email, bounced, unsubscribed or even marked as spam which we hope nobody would!
The point we are getting to is that from one email you can easily see the exact return on investment, if somebody clicks through to your website we can see they have come through from the email that landed in their inbox and thus it was the campaign which triggered the sale.
From the analytics too you can clearly see customer behaviour, what links they click on and from this you can easily see what parts of the campaign work best and what maybe isn’t working. With this invaluable knowledge you can then modify your campaign strategy to ensure it’s the best it can be and is always in order to work out what parts of your campaign are working and what parts aren’t. With this knowledge, you can then react instantly to modify your campaign strategy if need be, giving your customers exactly what they want.
Why should you implement email marketing into your marketing strategy?
We would always say that no email marketing campaign is complete without this being included but here are two more benefits for those of you who aren’t quite convinced by this marketing method.
Cost Effective – YES! Email marketing is cheap, especially when compared to other marketing channels. Whether you choose to do it yourself, or go through an agency such as ourselves, email marketing can put you in front of hundreds or even thousands of customers within the click of a button for very little.
Success Rates – as most campaigns will target existing customers or customers with legitimate interest they generally have a high success rate. When you combine what can be achieved from an email campaign with the cost effectiveness, in most circumstances email marketing will come out on top – the key to its success though is that you have to get it right.
Where do you even begin? – so we have convinced you that email marketing is a valuable tool and you want to give it a go but where do you start and what do you even send out?
It’s important that you get this right, you do not want to be sending out any emails just for the sake of it or emails which are disjointed and look unprofessional as this will not work.
First of we would always recommend working out exactly what it is you want to achieve from an email. Is it traffic to the website, maybe a certain page on the website or is it maybe that you have a new product that you want to launch and promote? Whatever the reason it needs to be clear what the e-shot purpose is.
Once you have the purpose you can then begin to think about the overall creative direction of the email, this is the look and feel. This should always run in line with your brand guidelines and once you have an overall look and feel you should stick to this for any future campaigns to ensure customers always know what to expect and can consistently see your brand giving you better credibility and increased trust.
The next thing to think about is whether there is a requirement for personalisation. It has been proven that personalised emails do get a better response than those which have no personalisation. We have seen an increase in personalisation but don’t over-kill it.
We then move onto – “WIIFM” confused? Well it stands for “what’s in it for me?” and this is what your recipient will ask themselves when they receive your email. Incentives work brilliantly alongside email marketing, so sending out say a product launch email is all well and good but when you incentivise this with say a special 15% off promo code exclusive to email subscribers it makes them feel special, it makes them see that there is something in it for them. Other things that work well are free postage and free gifts if they spend over a certain amount etc.
Link – Link – Link! You need to think about where parts of your email will link to and again we advise strongly against having lots of links and clickable areas. Clean, simple and professional e-shots with a strong call to action work best. Ensure that all links you place into an email work, there is nothing more embarrassing than clicking a link on an email and reaching an error page or a page not found. That said if you do link them to a particular page ensure the page is optimised and has clear call to action, don’t just get them to click say a link for “Top Ten LBD (little black dresses) and then dump them onto your homepage.
Timing is another important aspect to consider, nobody wants to be awoken in the middle of the night by their mobile phone pinging because some company has sent an e-shot with “latest offers not to be missed” at say 4am in the morning! Not only is it unprofessional emails are best sent at certain times in the day. Whether it is timed to land in their inbox first thing in the morning or throughout the working day but you need to work out for yourself when the best time to send is and you can do this through A/B split testing. You can test and measure what timing works best for which email.
Testing. Always create your email and then test send it to yourself or even your colleagues, ensure there are no spelling mistakes and that the email looks as it should. Check it across different devices and across multiple email platforms. Once you’re happy then send & track! Always check the results of your e-shot and work continuously on strategy to refine and edit your campaigns.
Are you ready for email marketing?
So yes… Email marketing is a vital component in many industries, especially for creating those important customer-firm relationships. Learn to use it well and it will definitely bump up your company’s success. Just try not to send out another email that goes straight through to my spam folder. And, if the email does manage to make it through to my inbox – Make it worthwhile to read!