Email marketing is an extremely effective promotional tool if used correctly. It’s a form of direct marketing whereby you communicate directly with your customer base via their personal inboxes. However, there are pitfalls if the campaign is not approached in the right way. The last thing you want is for your emails to be seen as junk mail. If that is the case your messages may never be seen, as they could be dumped straight into the recipient’s spam folder.
Even if they are seen, mail considered as junk is usually deleted unread. If that happens then all of your hard work counts for nothing, as the customer has ignored your message. In a worst case scenario, they may see constant emails from your company as annoying and be actually turned against your brand. Obviously, this kind of counter-productive result is the last thing you want. The following should help you avoid these risks and mount a successful email marketing campaign.
Set your goals
An email marketing campaign should have a specific goal and purpose. You are sending out emails as part of a broader promotion, and as such the campaign will have a set duration. After it has finished it should be possible to judge its effectiveness by quantifiable metrics. Consider who you are contacting, why you are doing it, what you want to tell them, when you are going to do it and how you want them to respond.
Quality not quantity
One of the key benefits of an email marketing campaign is its low cost. Unlike traditional advertising or mail shots it doesn’t cost your company anything to send out emails, from one to one million. This means that an email marketing campaign can provide a significant return on investment (ROI).
However, there is a risk that you may be tempted to send more emails than is necessary, just because they don’t cost you anything. The result is that you could be perceived as “spamming” your customers. The ease of email marketing also means that you will be competing with many other emails from other sources. It’s important then to think quality not quantity, and to make sure that your emails stand out and contain content that your customers will actually want to read.
Personalize your messages
Another advantage of emails is that they can be easily customized according to different demographics, or even personalized for individual customers. The more you can tailor your email to an individual, the more likely they are to respond positively. You can track whether an email has been read and whether the call to action has been responded to and then fine tune future messages to improve this.
Choose an email marketing tool
Once you know what your message is going to be you need to choose the right email marketing tool for sending it out. Different tools have different purposes, so which is “best” depends on what you want to use it for. Look for advice and recommendations from within your business community. You could also follow business leaders like Chern Lee of online marketing company Iconic Industry on social media. Chern can be found on Twitter at #chernlee.
When your email is written you should proofread it thoroughly and then test it in-house before sending it out. Try different options and see how they look in different browsers and on different screen sizes and settings. You might also want to A/B test two different versions of your email by sending them out to a limited audience first and gauging which is the most successful. The “winner” can then be sent out to your full mailing list.
Analyze your results
Once the emails have gone out and the campaign is concluded it’s essential that you analyze the results, so you can improve on them for future campaigns. What is the best time of day to send out emails? Your metrics should help you to answer this question and many more.
An effective email marketing campaign costs very little in terms of financial outlay and can achieve great results, however, if it’s rushed into and not planned carefully it can have a negative impact instead. Make sure your campaign is designed to register with your target demographic. Be clear about what you want to achieve and analyze the degree to which you succeeded afterwards. This will help you to build on your initial campaign with further direct marketing actions in the future.