Email marketing can best be defined as a form of direct marketing which uses e-mail as a means of connecting to the target audience and communicating commercial messages.
Broadly speaking, any email sent to either a current or potential customer can be considered to be part of email marketing.
However, in its strict sense, email marketing refers to:
- Sending emails to current or previous customers with an aim of building a relationship aimed at converting this customer into a loyal and repeat customer.
- Sending emails to new customers and prospects informing them of the products or services that your firm offers.
- Sending emails both to your current and potential customers announcing a new product or a limited time offer that you are running.
In sum, the end goal of email marketing is to increase sales revenue by encouraging the recipients of the electronic commercial message to take action and make a purchase.
Traditional Marketing or Email Marketing: Which is better?
Email marketing is thought to be far more superior than traditional marketing because:
- Return on investment (ROI) can easily be tracked and calculated when email marketing is done correctly. Email marketing ranks second after search marketing as the most effective way to do online marketing.
- Over 50% of Internet users have and use their emails on regular basis meaning that commercial messages have a wide viewership.
- Businesses can reach a large number of subscribers who have willingly joined their mailing and subscription lists.
- Email marketers can tailor their marketing messages and deliver them to their target audience at a time that they know their audience is online.
For the longest time, email marketing has suffered one major drawback: a huge number of emails have been rejected by the consumers’ e-mail service providers. However, email marketers have found a way to deal with this challenge.
Today, consumers can “opt-in” and whitelist the emails they receive from marketers and by so doing, reduce the number of commercial emails that get rejected. Additionally, subscribers have the option of unsubscribing to an email list an action that will automatically remove them from the marketer’s mailing list.
So, having seen WHAT email marketing is, let us now look at the WHY and HOW of email marketing.
WHY is email marketing more popular than traditional marketing?
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- Cost– Email marketing is the cheapest way of reaching out your customers with commercial messages. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire the services of an email marketing service provider, the cost you will incur will be lower than what you would ordinarily be charged when using other marketing channels to convey your commercial message to your customers.
- Success– When done right, email marketing promises a better ROI than any other direct marketing strategy. You can personalize your email marketing campaign and reach out to a target audience that has been carefully selected thereby increasing your chances of success.
- Measurable and flexible– As a marketer, your interest should be to track how your email marketing campaign is faring. Lucky for you, there are tools that can be used to monitor, measure and analyze how the campaign is faring giving you an opportunity to adjust the campaigns that are not doing well. These tools make it possible for marketers to know what part of their campaign is working and what part needs to be improved for better results.
HOW? The right way of doing email marketing
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As stated above, for your email marketing campaign to yield desirable results, you have to get it right. Here we suggest exactly what you need to do to get your email marketing campaign right from the word go:
- Creative– make sure that you design your email using color, images, and layout that will appeal to the recipients. Where possible, ask your customers if they would prefer their emails sent in text or HTML formats. If they grant you the permission to send graphical emails, utilize the opportunity to win the game. If I take an example, suppose you are marketing for a new coffee product and your emails are trying to spread awareness for the same. You can use small video of coffee to increase the engagement, else you reduce the size of your emails you can even go with infographics or images related to coffee.
- Relevance– Don’t be generic when sending out your emails. Make sure that you personalize all the emails to increase the chances of these emails being opened. Use a catchy headline and then address each customer by their name. If you learn that they are having a special day in their lives, acknowledge that and congratulate them. For example, if Tom Smith is celebrating his birthday, you can address the email with the header that reads something like, “Congratulations for turning a new year”, then go ahead and start the email with “Happy Birthday Tom,” By so doing, Tom will feel special and he is more likely to read through the whole email because you have made him feel special.
- Incentive– Offer the customers something for free. Customers love “Freebies”. You need not sell every email you send. Vary your messages; you can send one email with free useful information for example if you deal in jewelry, maybe you can send them an article on “how to accessorize different outfits”, then in another email, you send them a free downloadable e-book. When the day comes for you to send them an email asking them to buy something, they will not hesitate because you will have created a relationship with them.
- Call to action– make sure that all the emails you send to your customers have a call to action. Customers like being told what to do. The call to action can be anything from “buy now, read on, download now” etc.
- Automate– Once you have chosen the templates, thought through the message you would like to communicate to your target customers, you can use any of the many email marketing automation tools to automate the process of scheduling and sending out these commercial messages to your customers.
A final thought:
Email marketing is a powerful tool that you can leverage to create strong and beneficial customer-business relationships. Design your next email marketing campaign using the tips that we have shared above and see just how responsive your customers will be to your commercial messages.