12 Aug GuideLines: Tips for getting started with Email Marketing
Email marketing can be a hugely successful way of both gaining new customers and engaging with your existing audience. Email remains one of the most heavily used methods of communication and therefore an effective email marketing campaign can be a fantastic return on investment.
Below is a closer look at the benefits of email marketing, how to stay on the right side of the law, and some practical tips for ensuring a successful campaign.
WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING?
Email marketing is simply a process of sending a commercial message to a select group of consumers. Email marketing can be anything from a regular newsletter to individual promotions of new products or events. Any email communication which is designed to influence customer loyalty, brand perception or boost sales can be classed as email marketing.
WHY USE EMAIL MARKETING?
The majority of consumers check their email at least once a day so the likelihood of your communications being seen; and viewed quickly is very high. Combined with the fact that the cost for sending is very low and a campaigns success rate easily monitored, email marketing can provide a significant return on investment.
There are many email marketing software options which make setting up campaigns and monitoring them simple and straightforward. With a quality database and the right monitoring it is possible to closely target campaigns at specific sectors of your customer base.
EMAIL MARKETING AND THE LAW
Anti-spam law restricts the sending of unsolicited marketing emails to individual subscribers and it is key that the following rules are adhered to:
- The sender of the email (you) must not conceal their identity and the option to opt-out and unsubscribe from the emails should be clear
- The sender of the email should not send marketing materials to any individual without their permission
The issue of permission can be complex as many would argue that previous correspondence; such as enquiries instigated by the potential client, or the previous purchase of a product / service would deem email marketing permissible with the provision of an opt-out facility.
Whether you agree with this stance or not (most e-mail sending platforms don’t) it is important that lists of recipients are carefully monitored and only include individuals who genuinely want to receive your content.
HOW TO (LEGALLY) GET EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS
Growing subscriber lists organically isn’t a quick task, but purchasing a database of unknown quality can do your company reputation serious damage. Quality over quantity will always win out with email marketing and with some regular promotion you’ll soon see subscriber numbers increase. Follow these simple steps to get started:
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Set up a simple email sign up form on your website. Consumers who want to sign up for your newsletter should simply be able to enter their name and email address and click to submit. The easier you make it, the more convenient it will be for interested consumers to simply click and sign up. Adding a simple image or a strong call to action can also help draw consumer attention to the sign up box.
Incentives are a great way of getting new people to sign up for a newsletter or email campaign list. Many retailers offer new subscribers an initial purchase discount or even a free gift for signing up. Think of an incentive that could fit with your service offering and add value for your clients.
Popups and overlays have once again become popular, and though some people really dislike them, they do put the suggestion centre stage making it an active decision for the consumer, rather than something they can ignore.
Share, share and share some more. Whichever social media channels your business utilises, they can be used to promote and drive forward your email marketing campaigns. A couple of tweets or a weekly Facebook post with a reminder/ incentive to sign up to your list will help boost your subscriber numbers.
If you attend formal networking events, or any event where potential clients are attending, don’t be shy about asking permission to email them when exchanging business cards. Some email marketing platforms such as Campaign Monitor have customisable sign up apps for tablet devises that can be great for exhibitions and events.
CHOOSING AN EMAIL MARKETING PLATFORM
There are many different email marketing platforms, some free of charge, some with monthly or regular subscription fees. Below we take a quick look at four popular services amongst the many out there:
Mail Chimp remains one of the most popular email marketing clients as it is simple and easy to use. It’s ideal for small to medium sized lists and they can be sent out and managed for free, with a link back to Mail Chimp included in the email. Whilst greatly improved in recent times it doesn’t provide quite as in-depth analysis as some other platforms.
Campaign Monitor is the platform of choice for large lists. It is recommended highly by many large corporations and its pricing structure is comprehensive and well laid out. Smaller businesses with micro lists may be put off by the pricing but the analytics and other functions behind this platform make it a very powerful tool.
Delivra is popular with agencies producing campaigns for large numbers of clients. The system is highly intuitive and can be used by companies who may have little tech support too. It is packed with powerful reporting tools so all consumers can gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns.
DotMailer has its fans in all walks of life from small standalone businesses to large enterprises. Like Mail Chimp it has an easy editor function and a range of templates to help provide ideas for people putting together campaigns for the first time.
EFFECTIVE EMAILS: KEY CONSIDERATIONS
There is no point building a huge email list if you have no decent content to send over and no idea about how to format your emails. The content is what really counts so keep it interesting, concise and create that voice for your brand that customers can relate to. The breakdown below will help get you off to a good start:
FROM NAME AND ADDRESS
The recipient will of course want to know who is sending the email. This appears in two ways: the ‘from name’ and the ‘from address’. Both of these can be customised, many companies opt for a friendly from name, some crafting a character for their email campaigns or simply using the company name itself. The email address chosen is often a general customer services one, such as firstname.lastname@example.org as this means if the recipient does try and reply, their email will be picked up somewhere.
The subject line is what is going to draw your readers in. When scanning their inbox your email needs to stand out. The correct subject line can be key to a successful campaign so be sure to give this some serious thought.
CALL TO ACTION
Whether you are creating a sales led email or a general newsletter the call to action needs to be clear. Make sure all links direct customers to the relevant article online or the specific product pages rather than your homepage. If linking to an article on your websites blog or news section make sure this article closes with your contact information or a call to get in touch for more information on the services you provide.
The majority of email marketing platforms have a range of templates and layout designs you can use to create your own emails. The quality of these designs can vary and be quite restrictive so often it is more effective to have a bespoke design or email template created. This will ensure your emails have a strong brand identity and a considered layout suitable for your target market and business’ message.
Consistent brand image is a must but so is a personal touch. When sending a marketing email it is important it is addressed to the right recipient and not just ‘Sir/Madam/Hey there!’ The effectiveness of using a recipient’s real name has been studied and it really works, it makes you memorable.
Any personalisation does rely on the quality of your database so make sure you at least get the basics of the customer name (correctly spelt) alongside their email address.
Email marketing should be an integral part of any company’s marketing strategy. The return on investment for most companies is so high it simply shouldn’t be missed and after a few practice runs you will be into the swing of things and it won’t be long before it has a positive impact on sales and engagement.
Into the White offer a range of email marketing packages from template file creation to fully monitored and managed campaigns. A brief overview of our email packages can be seen here.