Email Marketing

Email marketing is a very popular tool businesses use to reach out to customers.  It is cheap, efficient to use, and very effective.  It has been studied to generate the most return on investment among the many marketing instruments.  The question is how do you conduct email marketing?  Let this simple and straightforward guide show you how to get started.

Email marketing defined

Let us first try to understand what email marketing is.  Email marketing is simply using email to market your business. It is like sending direct mail, but only through the Internet.  It is a type of direct marketing strategy that allows you to communicate your message directly to your target or repeat customers and help build customer relations.  Email marketing is a promotional strategy that you can use together with other channels, like social media and print ads. 

Types of email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is not just about sending emails to notify customers of discounts or other promotions.  It can also be used to welcome new customers, greet customers on their birthdays and important holidays, send invoices and bills, send reminders, acknowledge receipt of inquiries, and more through automation.  

This wide scope and varied types of information you can relay to customers brings us to the different types of email marketing campaigns that you can use.

Direct emails

These emails inform customers of items or services that are new or on sale.  Special offers and other promos belong to this type of email marketing.  These emails provide information about the goods or services being featured, as well as a link to where customers can get full information, such as terms and conditions.  In some cases, discount codes are featured in the email.  These codes are comparable to vouchers and coupons sent through direct mail. 

Newsletters

Contrary to direct emails, newsletters are simply sent to build a relationship with customers who agreed to receive updates from a business.   These emails focus very little on advertising or promoting, but instead focus mainly on sharing information that may interest the customer.  These emails usually have a conversational tone and aims to keep the customer connected to the company.           

Transactional emails

These emails are sent automatically after an action has been made in the company’s website, such as a purchase, a booking, a reservation, or a registration to the website.  This usually legitimizes a transaction or welcomes a new member to the customer base.  While these emails are transactional in nature, most companies include a sales pitch or promotion with them.  For example, a hotel booking email confirmation may ask if you would like roundtrip airport transfers for a fee.  An online store may give a discount code to customers, which may be used on their next purchase valid for a certain period. 

Benefits of email marketing

Email marketing offers a myriad of benefits.  These include the following:

Cost-effective – unlike other marketing strategies, the costs of email marketing be a lot lower.  You will be able to avoid printing costs, space costs, advertising, and other promotional fees. 

Time-efficient – as mentioned earlier, emails to customers may be automated.  This way, it would be faster to get to your customers.  You can also use templates on your emails that you can reuse for different clients, for different campaigns, and for other purposes.

Permission-based – it is only right to email those who have opted to receive email notifications and other messages from you.  Otherwise, they can choose to unsubscribe.  This way, those in your email marketing list are more likely to engage with your business, and it would be less intrusive for those who do not want to receive such notifications.

Customizable – messages in emails can be personalized and customized depending on who you will send them to.  Your email list may also be grouped according to different interests, demographics, or other categories.  It can be used to communicate with a large or small audience.   

Assessable – you may be able to assess and evaluate the success of your promotion using web analytics software.  You can see which designs and templates are attractive and effective, which will help you with your future email drives.

Easily shared – emails and the contents you send can be easily shared.  If you send something that interests your customers, there is a chance they might send it to some people who could also be interested.  If ever they are not shared by email, there is also a chance that your message may be shared by word of mouth.

Eco-friendly – compared with direct mail, flyers, and brochures, emails are more eco-friendly since no paper is being used for printing.             

Email marketing issues

Since this article is meant for those who want to do email marketing, it would be fair to share with you the benefits and the possible issues you need to be aware of when it comes to email marketing.  This way, you will learn to strategize its use along with other marketing channels, and not discourage email marketing. 

Undelivered messages – your emails may not be successfully sent due to an outdated email marketing list, so make sure you keep your files updated.  Some emails may also get sent to spam when you use certain keywords in your subject, such as FREE, $$$, Sale, This isn’t spam and more.  

Viewing and loading issues– make sure you do not include too many images as they may take time to load and can be frustrating especially for those checking emails using their mobile phones.  The files attached should be small enough for customers to quickly view or download.  

Design issues – your email may be opened using different devices, so you need to make sure they appear as they should on different platforms.

Skills – if you find it challenging to design an email, or if you have limited skills and resources, you may consider outsourcing the services of freelancers or design companies to help out with the challenges of email marketing. 

email marketing laptop
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

A step-by-step guide to email marketing

So now that you have an idea of what email marketing is, as well as its pros and issues, let us proceed with the steps you can take to begin promoting your goods or services and your company as a whole through the use of email.

STEP 1 – Set your goals

To strategize your email marketing well, you need to first establish your goals.  This will help steer your email strategies.  Your goals will help you with what type of emails to send, what contents to include, who to target, when to send, and how you can measure the success of your email.    

So how should you set your email marketing goals?  First of all, they must align with your company’s bigger marketing goals.  Then, you need to establish more specific goals that you want to achieve. 

The following are some examples of email marketing goals:

  • A retail store expanding its business: sending emails to get more attendees for the opening of a new retail store in X branch
  • An online or retail apparel store: To promote new items or advertise an upcoming sale so people will visit your online website or retail store
  • A blog, media, or entertainment website:  To send links of new interesting stories and posts to your blog or webpage so people will visit your website and  increase number of website visits
  • A membership club of hotels/restaurants:  To update members of events and special offers
  • Travel and tour services:  To make a sales pitch for other related services after a booking or sale

STEP 2 – Make your email contact list

Now that you have specifically identified your goals, you can now make your email contact list of who to send your emails.  There are different ways of building up your contact list including the following:

  1. If you are operating a physical retail store, you can start by simply letting your cashier ask customers who have availed of your products for contact details.  You may also provide a bowl where customers can drop their business cards. 
  2. One of the easiest ways to build up your contact list is by adding sign-up or subscribe buttons on your website.  Make sure they are visible and are provided in multiple locations on your website. 
  3. Another way to collect email addresses is through social media.  You can take advantage of Facebook applications, for example, that collect email addresses.  You can also use your social media platforms to promote and encourage customers to subscribe to your email marketing campaign
  4. You can add more people to your contact list by utilizing your business email for general queries and concerns.  This way, you will be able to collect more email addresses from interested customers.  As you send future emails, be sure to include an unsubscribe option at the footer for those who want to opt-out.       
  5. Finally, you can include your family and friends in your marketing efforts.  Owning a small or medium business, you can always start by asking your family and friends for support. You can ask for their contact details, including their email addresses.  Just make sure to tell them what you are trying to achieve with the details you collected. 

It is very important to treat the contacts in your email list with respect.  They should be informed of what they signed up for.  They should also be given the option to stop receiving emails or unsubscribe should they wish to.  This will help make sure that you will be sending emails to people who are interested in what you have to share and interested to hear from you.  You need to remember that the more you push yourself to customers who are not very interested, you just might lose them instead of building longer and better relations with them. 

STEP 3 – Choose the email campaigns you like to send

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of email marketing campaigns.  Decide which types of campaigns you want to send to your contacts.   This time, you have to be specific. 

  • Newsletters – If you decide to send newsletters, make them regular.  Do you want to send monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annual newsletters to the people in your contact list?  Make sure you send them on the same day of every month, quarter, and so on.    
  • Direct mail – Decide what direct mail to send to your contacts.  Do you want to advertise your upcoming sale or promo, invite them for an event, or promote your new product or service?
  • Transactional email – Decide when to insert email marketing in your transactions.  As much as possible, include email marketing after every sale, booking, or inquiry to maximize marketing opportunities.    

STEP 4 – Create your email

After choosing your email marketing tactic, you will now be designing the email that will be sent to the people in your contact list.  If you do not have the expertise in designing, implementing, and automating emails, you can always outsource.  Just be sure to relay all the details you want to include and the goals you want to achieve. 

Email design tips

Here are some tips that will make your emails more effective:

Keep your messages short, concise, and easy to read 

People do not like reading long messages.  They want to get directly to the point.  They also want an email that is easy to read.  Make sure the fonts you are using are readable and of comfortable size.  

Add images and other visuals 

To make your email more attention-grabbing, use images.  Other visuals also make emails easier to understand.  Just remember to use file sizes that will not take time to load.  People can get impatient and may decide to disregard your message instead.

Ensure your email design is consistent with your brand

The colors, the fonts, and the general look of your email must be consistent with your website, your retail store, or other marketing materials you are using.  Consistency can help promote brand awareness and build trust with customers.     

Include a call to action button 

Especially when sending direct mail, be sure to include a call to action button in your email, such as order now, reserve now, book now, inquire now, or click here for more information to encourage interaction with customers and possibly a sale.

Personalize your emails 

Personalizing emails, such as including the first names of customers and ensuring content is related to their interests, will get a higher chance of interaction and engagement from customers.    

Optimize your design for different devices 

Since emails can be accessed on different devices, make sure they are designed for viewing with whatever device they are using, especially mobile phones.       

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Are you planning on ditching your email marketing campaigns, because you think it’s dying or maybe even dead? Well, you may have to think again.

According to statistics, email marketing still remains to be the best way to attract and retain customers. Incredibly, it performs even better than social media when it comes to engagement. Yes, you heard me right.

If you need more convincing, read Is Email Marketing Dead? Statistics Say: Not a Chance.

Conclusion

Whether you are operating a small or a large business, a physical or an online store, or offering a good or a service, email marketing is important, efficient, and practical.  It is easy to operate, cost-efficient, and effective in keeping good relations with customers.  You just need to set the right goals that align with your company’s key marketing goals; build the right contact list; choose the right email strategies and content; and use an effective design in order to make email marketing a valuable marketing tool for your business.         

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