Email marketing is a tool for customer relationship management. Used efficiently, this extension of permission-based marketing can give one of the highest returns on investment of any online marketing activity. Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that utilizes electronic tools to deliver commercial messages to an audience. It is one of the oldest and yet still one of the most powerful of all online marketing tactics. The efficiency comes from the fact that it is the following:
- Very targeted
- Massively cost effective because of a low cost per contact
- Can be customized on a mass scale
- Entirely measurable
Additionally, chief strength email marketing is that it takes advantage of a customer’s most frequent touch point with the Internet: their inbox. Email marketing is a tool for creating relationships with both current and would-be customers. It should maximize the retention and value of these consumers, which should finally lead to better profitability.
2.1 Email marketing methods
If you consider marketing as communicating with recent and would-be customers, you will see that all emails that are sent from your organization should be considered as part of your universal email marketing strategy. What are the ways that, as a customer, you might receive e-mails from e.g. an online retailer (eBay, Amazon)?
Transactional emails: When you place an online order, there will be a number of emails that you get, from confirmation order to notification of shipping.
Newsletters: These are emails that are sent to provide information to customers. They do not certainly carry an overt promotion but instead ensure that a customer is in regular contact with the firm. These build relationships and foster trust between consumers and firms/brands. Newsletter are also referred to as retention-based emails, these may include promotional messages but should be focused on providing information, geared at building a long-term relationship with the consumer.
Promotional emails: Should a retailer have e.g. a summer sale, they will send an e-mail relating directly to that promotion. They always feature a call to action and are designed around an exact aim.
Other examples: emails to suppliers, communication with affiliates
All letters sent out can be used to carry a marketing message.
2.2 Email campaigns
The first part of an email campaign should include the planning of the goals you want to achieve. Email marketing is being used as a method to help you achieve those aims.
Promotional emails usually have a direct aim:
Users purchase something
Users download a guide
Users ask further information
Newsletters focus on long-term aims, and so your key performance indicators become more important here.
An effective email campaign is most likely to be the one geared at retaining and creating a long-term relationship with the consumer.
2.2.2 Definition of email list
Doing an effective e-mail campaign requires that a business has an up-to-date database, a list of subscribers who have agreed to allow a firm to send them emails with marketing messages.
Consent must be clearly given by all users to whom e-mails are sent. Companies that abuse this can put their reputation in risk, and in lots of countries legal action can be taken against firms that send unsolicited emails or spams.
There are a many of ways to attract prospects to opt in to a database but a signup form on a website of the firm is key.
2.2.3 Inventive implementation
Emails can be written and viewed as hypertext markup language (HTML) emails or as text emails. Bear in mind, however, that occasionally HTML emails are rendered as text emails.
Text emails are the simple ones—text only, as the term suggests. If you have a computer with Windows operation system and you open up Notepad and type there, then you will be forming a text file. These emails are smaller and simpler.
HTML-based e-mails can be more spectacular. These e-mails can have images, different fonts, and hyperlinks. It’s maybe what you’ve had in mind through this section when we have referred to email marketing.
It is compulsory to have an unsubscribe link on all business emails. Interactive emails are best created with lightweight HTML capability allowing the email to open rapidly. This supports to capture the reader’s attention before he/she moves on. The construction must allow users to scan and navigate the email simply.
Figure 2: A HTML-based email template
2.2.4 Write content
Significant and precious email content is necessary to ensure the success of an email marketing campaign. Valuable text is informative and should address the problems and needs of users. It is imperative to recognize that the reader determines the value of the content, not the producer.
Effective email campaigns deliver value to their readers. It can vary from campaign to campaign. Newsletters can offer e.g. humour, study, info, promotions. Stay away from words like “cheap”, “order now”, and “reduction”. These can be marked as spam by the readers.
2.2.5 Display test
An email client is software or a program that are usable to read and write emails. Some are web-based, like Gmail, Yahoo, Freemail (in Hungary), but there are also lots of software-based email clients, like Outlook, Thunderbird etc. The same email could look dissimilar in these applications, and there are spam filters in these programs too. Platform compatibility control and spam filter tests can be run here: http://litmusapp.com.
2.2.6 Personalization of emails
Some applications (SendBlaster, Printshop Mail Suite, e-Campaign 9, Bronto, Group Mail Free etc.) of email marketing allow mass customization. Even modest personalization can lead to better results.
A segmented database of users can allow customization by demographics or buying history.
By making valuable content, launching the correct frequency, testing an email for display, an email vendor should be able to ensure an outstanding delivery rate. Emails should be delivered at regular times, but the ideal time for best outcomes must be tested.
Email reputation can determine whether or not your email is regarded as spam. It is determined by the judgment of the Internet service providers (ISPs), the antispam activists, and the recipients. The sender’s Internet protocol (IP) address and/or sending domain can influence the reputation. If another email sender uses the same server that you use, and he/she is a spammer, you could be reputed as a spammer too by an ISP or a third-party provider.
(Spam is the use of email and other systems to send uninvited bulk messages.)
If sender’s score doesn’t fall within the ISP’s thresholds, the sender’s e-mails can arrive in the bulk folder, be quarantined, or be sent back to the sender.
Becoming a successful email marketer needs perpetual list cleansing. A good marketer must have a current up-to-date list to achieve good deliverability via reputation.
How to improve your reputation score:
- ISPs propose several sender’s authentication standards such as Sender ID, sender policy framework (SPF), and Domain Keys. It’s worth using them.
- Keep your database clean.
- Eliminate hard bounces after three deliveries. (High bounce rate can lead to spammer status. Bounce rate signifies the percentage of visitors who enter the site, but "bounce" (leave the site) rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site.)
- Reply to complaints and execute unsubscribe requests.
- Try to gain explicit permission to send emails without any deceit.
All interactions via email should be regarded as the part of the email marketing activity of a firm. Automatic emails (confirmations and office replies) are all opportunities to engage with consumers.
2.2.9 Performance indexes
Tracking, analysing, and optimizing are keys to be successful. Email tracking systems provide statistics in a user-friendly way.
Key performance indexes:
- Number of emails sent
- Number of emails opened: An email can be delivered, but that does not automatically mean it was opened.
- Number of bounced emails
- Unsubscribes: Numerous loss of subscribers is a major indicator that you misunderstood the needs of your subscribers.
- Pass-on rate: High pass-on rate (or forwards) shows that your list values the emails enough to regularly share with others. “Forward to a friend” link in all e-mails can increase it.
- Click-through rate: When a user clicks through to a website, it can be simply measured as a percentage against number of delivered, opened, or sent emails. It reveals which content or promotion was the most attractive for the subscribers.