7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a widely used technique by companies and firms who want to reach out to their audience. It is a simple and highly effective technique, which is why it has become so very popular in the business world today. Research and statistics show that the number of people who use this method is increasing day by day, and that it is indeed one of the fastest growing techniques being used by online marketers.
Email marketing is basically the process of getting in touch with previous, existing as well as potential clients and customers via the modern facility of electronic mail, which is commonly referred to as email. There are many reasons why people prefer this mode of communication over other outlets that are available to them. This segment of the book will be discussing all of this in much more detail. We will also be looking at the many different ways in which this procedure can be carried out, and the pros and cons of each of them.
We will also be taking into account a few facts and figures, in order to view the scope of the technique and analyze those statistics to reveal what implications they hold in the present and in the future. By the end, you will be fully acquainted with the basics and fundamentals of email marketing, how it works and why and when it should be used.
What is email marketing?
Before we get into the details of how it works and why it is so important, we must first define what email marketing actually is. Only by having a clear concept regarding this, will we be able to understand fully all other aspects that are attached to it.
Email marketing, is an internet based strategy that aims to build a bridge between companies and general public. It is a relatively new technique so to say, because it came into being after the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web. The strategy is heavily reliant upon carriers that allow people to send and receive electronic mail, which is typically called email.
What happens is that these firms and companies come up with marketing plans, which they then share with people through emails. These emails can contain things such as the concession bundles and promotional packages such as buy one get one free. They can also offer things such as free memberships for a limited time to people by following directions provided in the email. These were just a few of the possibilities hence one can clearly see now that email marketing can be used to serve a lot of different and diverse purposes.
Sometimes people may opt to get these mails while at other times companies may get your email information from elsewhere and then mail you directly. Either way the main purpose is to establish a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship between producers and consumers.
The point is to constantly keep people up-to-date with all the latest happenings so that they do not start becoming detached from you or your product or services. It acts as a reminder for all current customers where as for those who are not yet a part of your existing customer base, it acts much like a consistent advertisement. This way, the person may eventually hop on board as well if they come across something of interest in those advertisements.
Email marketing tends to be slightly more personalized as compared to other kinds of campaigns and this is because of the fact that emails are shared directly between the user and the company. People who receive such emails tend to feel special as the company chose to contact them directly and share exciting news and offers with them.
Overall, email marketing is a very useful tool and more and more companies are taking note of this. It has changed the way people have traditionally thought about marketing and advertising and opened up new avenues for creating awareness, which can help raise the revenues of firms by quite a significant margin.
Just as we have already discussed, email marketing is an internet dependent strategy that aims to create a long lasting relationship between consumers and producers of a good or a service. The idea is to remain in contact with existing, as well as all potential, customers by regularly sending them emails regarding one’s products or services and keep them updated with all the latest news and offers.
Debunking the myth
It is quite a common perception these days that emails have become obsolete as means of communication in today’s world. Many people seem to be of the opinion that technology has advanced so rapidly within the last ten years or so that, other newer forms of communication have now replaced electronic mail, which used to be popular once upon a time.
There is also a second school of thought, that differs slightly in opinion. This group feels like emails are still very much amongst the most favored forms of maintaining contact but, they are no longer effective for marketing purposes as there are several other avenues, which can get the job done.
Before we move onto anything else, it is important to debunk these myths if we want to understand just how powerful tool email marketing really is. The truth is that email marketing is one of the leading ways in which firms and people like to get in touch with their respective and prospective clients. Not only that, but email marketing can be seen as a trend which happens to be on the rise with many new members joining the bandwagon every single day. These companies are devoting more and more resources, including time and money, on a daily basis to craft an intelligent email based marketing strategy. It is assumed that 122 billion emails are sent out on average every single hour. Thus, emails should not be taken lightly as there is far too much to gain from this mechanism.
Why is email marketing one of the most preferred ways to contact people?
The reasons for this are quite simple. Whenever something succeeds on a scale as large as the global mailing network, then obviously there have got to be some pivotal features behind it which have made that possible.
One of the primary reasons for this is that emails are easy to send out. Sending out a marketing related email does not require any lengthy or complicated processes regardless of whether the email is being sent to one person or to hundreds of people. All that is needed is just one simple email account. This account of course requires registration but once it has been made, then there are no other in between steps that need being taken.
Secondly, this is a very cost effective method. There is such a negligible cost associated with sending and receiving emails that they can practically be said to be free. The only thing that one needs to maintain an efficient mailing network is a fast and reliable internet connection especially if the total incoming and outgoing email volume is massive. Of course, firms will also need to hire someone who is capable of formulating and running the entire email marketing strategy but that is a cost that would be associated with almost any other marketing methodology as well.
Thirdly, email marketing is unbelievably fast. Though it has been in use for decades now, it still remains the front runner in this category despite all kinds of mind blowing technological advancements. Within a matter of few seconds, the email gets delivered and recipient can view it. Similarly, the recipient too can reply just as quickly, which drastically reduces the total time of correspondence. Regular mail could take days and even longer if the recipients are away or unable to respond.
Thus, email marketing has changed the face of communication for the better significantly. An added bonus is that there is also no risk of the mail getting lost if sent over the internet. There is very little chance that the email will not reach the person it is meant to and even in the rare case that does somehow happen, once can simply go back and check the records to see if it was sent to the correct email address or not. Hence, it is a very easy process to monitor overall.
This particular point is very important because if the time taken was longer, then this would create a lot of problems for the company especially, where limited time offers are concerned and if the number of clients is too large.
Email marketing is also a highly preferred method of communication because almost everyone today has access to the internet. Furthermore, it is safe to assume that almost all of these users have at least one email address that they use for all kinds of professional as well as non-professional dealings.
In addition to that, studies also suggest that a vast majority of these individuals check their emails regularly and almost on a daily basis. The percentage of those who check emails daily has also increased due to the vast usage of mobile devices, which have apps to quickly check emails and to notify the users each time they receive a new one. This directly translates into an efficient readership, which is the main target of an email marketing strategy to begin with.
Due to all these reasons, email marketing has carved a special place for itself in the otherwise highly competitive and ever evolving world of marketing and advertising.
The different ways in which email marketing works
As we have already mentioned, email marketing can work in several different ways. It can be used to convey a range of messages depending on what companies do and what they want to achieve from such a strategy. However, there are two main branches, that email marketing can be split into. The first is known as transactional emails while the second is known as direct emails.
The former refers to those emails, which are sent as a response to actions that have already been taken by the recipient. For example, this includes all emails such as customer care follow-ups or sign up confirmation emails. These are sent only when the person has been in contact with the company for some purpose. These emails are classified as a distinct category because they are meant to sustain a relationship that already exists between the producer and the customer.
The latter refers to all those emails, which are sent randomly by the companies to people regardless of whether they have been in touch with them before or not. These emails are sent in order to highlight ongoing offers and to simply create awareness regarding their products and services. These emails contain promotional characteristics, which seeks to spread the word as quickly as possible and as far and wide as is feasible.
This distinction must be understood because the material that both kind of emails carry tends to be very different and the sender must keep this in mind while creating the content, which is to be sent. Transactional emails are supposed to be to the point and must contain only things that the reader has already shown an interest in. Direct emails on the other hand can afford to be much more detailed in comparison and one can add several things within such emails. This is because the client is not waiting for these emails and thus has no specific expectations from the content, which is included in these emails.
Tips, tricks and things to keep in mind when implementing an email marketing strategy
Preparing and writing emails with the aim of marketing one’s goods can be quite a technical task and it is always a good idea to plan ahead. Therefore, it is important to conduct a research beforehand, to see what kinds of emails receive the most attention and consequently generate the highest response rate.
The one thing, which you should be very clear on, is what you expect to get in return from implementing such a strategy. This is vital because a confused perspective will most definitely lead to a less than desirable outcome.
Think about why this strategy is important to you and your company. Begin by identifying areas of improvement in your general marketing plan. Ask yourself all the necessary questions such as the following:
- Who are you writing to?
- Who do you need to be writing to?
- Are you reaching out to everyone that you need to get in touch with?
- If not, who else should be included?
- Do the emails convey the exact message you want to transmit?
- Are the emails effective enough?
- How can you further improve?
- What do you want to achieve with the email?
- What kind of response do you expect from the recipient?
These are just a few examples of the many questions that should be kept in mind when addressing the issue. Once you have obtained clear goals and objectives by answering these questions, move forward to identify areas of weakness.
Make sure that all your marketing related emails, whether they are direct or transitional in nature, are being sent on schedule. Never miss out on an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot because time really is of the essence when it comes to marketing. Also keep in mind the fact that overdoing things is going to have the opposite effect. Thus, be careful to limit your emails in number so that they do not start irritating the reader. No one likes their inboxes to be flooded by unnecessary emails by the same sender over and over again. Hence, optimize by planning ahead, and sending out emails only when you have something significant to communicate.
Likewise, make sure that you respond to all queries and questions that you receive in a timely fashion. Otherwise, this could reflect badly on the reputation that a company works so hard to build.
Keep the tone of the emails friendly, but remain professional. This is a must, because it is human nature to pick up on these things. Everyone who reads these mails is not only going to be influenced by what is written in the email, but the recipient will also be influenced by how it is written. This brings us to the next point, which is to focus on the actual content.
The email should be well written in simple words so that the viewer does not have any problems trying to understand it. Jargon should only be used where needed and the content should ideally be such that it does not leave any questions in the mind of the reader. The trick is to make the email as self-explanatory as it can be.
The next point on the agenda should be to read and re-read. Proofreading is important, if one wants to send out flawless emails. Sometimes it happens that we realize something integral is missing only after we have reviewed the rough draft.
Optimization of an email includes thinking about subject line, sender’s name, the entire body of the email, images and links. Think about formatting and the outline that looks attractive and coherent. Also, have in mind that over 55% of emails are now opened on a mobile device which means that email optimization for mobile devices is necessary.
The best thing about email marketing though is the option to personalize emails. Try to take full advantage of this and make small changes wherever you can to make the recipient feel as if they are on your priority list. Modify the emails to include things, which you think the client will be drawn towards.
A good tactic is to ask your recipients if they wish to continue receiving updates from you. This will also benefit you in the sense that you will be able to separate the serious clients from those who are not interested or not reading your emails.
Email marketing is as simple as it is useful and it really does not require the person to have a great deal of background knowledge. Anyone can become an expert by following these tips, which can help with taking the business to an infinite number of people.
Email marketing services
Since sending emails can be a significant part of your online marketing, there are services that can help you with conducting this task. The major benefits of using email marketing services include:
- Custom email designs
- Automation based on the customer behavior
- Personalization and user profiles
- Send time optimization
- Targeting options
- A/B testing
- Analytics and reporting
All of these features can help you improve your relationship with the customers and analyze customer behavior in order to learn more about your business and efficiency of your strategy. There are many different email marketing tools you can use, including both free and paid, but we will recommend two of them:
MailChimpThe free plan comes with the limit of 2,000 email contact and 12,000 emails sent per month. There are paid plans that offer more flexibility and additional features.
GetResponseThere are seven payment plans to choose from, depending on what your business need.
In this chapter, we have discussed in detail what the term email marketing conveys and what all falls under its umbrella. The chapter seeks to empower people with the knowledge that can help them understand why email marketing is critical to their business and why they need to be using it.
It also seeks to educate them regarding the dos and don’ts of email marketing. The chapter begins by making the reader recall what email marketing is and then proceeds to make a case for why it is a growing trend even today, decades after it was first introduced.
The chapter also helps people learn about the different sub categories of such emails, and why each of them is so influential. Readers are taught how to differentiate between the two branches so that they may realize what purpose is served by both of them.
We then move onto perhaps the most important part of this section, which highlights ways in which people and firms can fine-tune their email marketing strategies in order to extract the maximum amount of gains from implementing it. Towards the end, they will have a sound knowledge regarding email marketing, which they can then fit into their business models, no matter what kind of industry they are a part of.