Short summary: Email marketing
Email marketing is an outbound marketing tool that involves sending emails for advertising purposes. This method has proved to be very effective, especially in the B2B sector, and is quite easy to implement, even for small businesses. However, email marketing does not have a very good reputation, especially among customers from the private sector, and there are also some legal requirements that must be kept in mind.
Companies now have a huge number of different marketing tools to choose from. Email marketing is one of the oldest and most trusted of these tools, and an email campaign is regarded as one of the safest ways to provide information to customers. There is hardly a company today that does not send a newsletter, or something similar, to its customers.
A big advantage of email marketing is your advertising messages are only addressed to existing customers. There are similar email campaigns in which information is sent to unknown recipients – so-called “spam” approaches – but such campaigns are illegal in many countries. Regular email marketing is mainly used to inform customers about new products, special offers and other interesting promotions. Therefore, one can assume that the recipients will have at least a basic interest in the material, even if not all information is directly relevant to them. Such considerations also govern the likelihood that a newsletter or other messages will actually be read.
Email marketing has the further advantage that it contributes to customer loyalty. A newsletter with interesting offers and information gives the customers a sense of privilege, and this is especially true for personalized online advertising. Thus, email marketing or some kind of newsletter should form an essential part of any CRM system.
Email marketing is not only very effective, it is also very efficient because matching software is available to complete many common tasks. For example, there are various software tools to monitor and analyze email campaigns, and software can also be used to create a campaign. Thus, content for a newsletter or another message, which complies with email marketing rules and whose impact can be checked without too much effort, can be produced within a very short time.
Email Marketing Practices
Email marketing can be very effective when used properly – but how should that be done? If you do them yourself, or hire a email writer – there are always various factors involved. First, an email campaign must be able to determine who the recipient of the message should be. Here, we must distinguish between one-to-one and one-to-many communication. In the former case, a customer is directly addressed, with an offer tailored to his needs for example. Of course, this type of online marketing only really makes sense if there is a realistic chance that the recipient will respond to the offer. The more personalized information design makes any one-to-one campaign considerably more time-consuming, so this approach should be used wisely. On the other hand, one-to-many communication involves an email that is addressed to a large number of customers and makes this type of campaign very cost-effective. However, the recipients won’t get the same feeling that they have been personally addressed, which tends to dilute the advertising message to some extent. Nevertheless, this variant is an extremely common method used in email marketing, and various measures can be adopted that will significantly improve its effectiveness.
One of the most important of these elements is the subject line. This is usually what decides if the recipient opens the message or whether the email just ends up unread in the recipient’s recycle bin. The subject line should reflect the content of the message as closely as possible so the reader can scan the content at a glance. A subject line such as “A personal Christmas offer for you” or “5$ off your next purchase” clearly identifies what the email is about. However, a subject line that reads something like “Christmas is coming – find out about our offer now” would probably result in most customers deleting the email before they are even half-way through reading it. A personal address in the subject line can also help to make the email more interesting to the recipient. Of course, this requires a well-maintained CRM system that is capable of handling the subject line in this way. A CRM system is also helpful for other elements within the email because it allows a message to include other personal elements even when your mail is sent in bulk. Customers are more inclined to take advantage of offers when they receive an email that is considered to be more personal.
Your content should always be carefully arranged to put the most important information at the beginning. This will make the reader immediately aware of the relevance of the topic. If, for example, the legal regulations concerning the thermal insulation of buildings have changed, this information can make an offer interesting for those customers who already have thermal insulation. This information should be placed at the beginning of the email. Otherwise, many potential customers may be lost. The initial information in an email has another special significance. You have to capture the reader’s attention and get him or her to read the rest of the message. This can be much more easily achieved with a personalized approach and a clever choice of information. However, one should always keep in mind that most users now use mobile devices to send and receive emails. The “above the fold” space is limited by the relatively small screens on such devices, so you must be particularly careful with your topic selection.
Another integral part of an email marketing campaign is the prompt to perform a certain action, known in online marketing as the “call-to-action“. After all, customers should not only be informed by a newsletter or other message, they should also be persuaded to perform a specific action. It does not matter whether it is an order, a registration for an online seminar, or a non-binding enquiry, only when the customer has responded appropriately to the email will the campaign have achieved its goal.
Pictures can help to clarify an advertising message. However, images are usually retrieved online to avoid unnecessarily inflating the size of the email file, and many email programs also prevent such content from being loaded. But there is another way around this problem. By using an image caption that properly describes any graphic image, the reader will still see what it is about – and that may make him or her curious enough to download the picture anyway.
The possibility of a social media share can also help to spread your advertising message. If the email is properly drafted and well written, customers may want to make their friends or business partners aware of the offer via social media.
Email marketing is a proven online-marketing element that can reach a high percentage of addressees and improve customer experience. A prerequisite for this approach is a structure for your message that is well thought out and content that is highly relevant to your target group.
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