Email Marketing, though considered out-dated means for marketing in comparison to new modes like Social Media marketing and Mobile Marketing, but still with it’s ability to bring in conversions and reaching wide audiences in a short span of time and allowing recipients to immediately act on messages has made it one of the effective marketing approach adopted by businesses online to reach customers. Seen not only as a tool to reach customers or bring in conversions email marketing has been seen as major factor for building relationships, creating customer loyalty, and bringing in more personal contact with the customers at relatively low cost.
According to the e-Marketing Outlook 2013, survey by Octane Research, “Email continues to be effective marketing channel with a staggering 99% of the respondents revealed that email marketing programs were effective in meeting desired goals in 2012.”
With email marketing’s ability to bring in immediate clickthroughs, makes it an important medium of communication for online retail companies in comparison to other offline organizations. Email Marketing also allows ecommerce companies to target consumers by altering emails as it helps to analyze customer order history and by creating a strong automated email marketing strategy and businesses can foster growth.
Why Email Marketing?
Many believe that Email Marketing is an important medium for customer acquisition, and according to a survey by Octane Research, customer acquisition is the primary goal for marketing initiatives with more than 50% of Indian Marketer opting for it over customer retention of brand awareness. Apart from this, it is also seen as a way to find new customers and retaining old ones; marketers also find it as way of getting additional businesses and building relationships with clients.
Though email marketing is cheap and keeps brands visible, but companies need to follow some practices while designing their email marketing campaign and especially while designing their newsletter as its important to reach right consumers with the right message and at right time; then only businesses can reach good results.
- Must fit your brand: While designing your email marketing, brands must make sure that their campaign suits their brand i.e. it must be as per the company’s colours and logo, as this makes the readers to feel more familiar with the brand.
- Content: Sending an email is just not enough, but to make sure that customer click or read, the content must be engaging and should educate and inform the customers; for this marketers must keep in mind:
- Subject: Must be attention grabbing
- Must have social media icons
- Should have a clear call of action
- Consistent branding
- Easy to unsubscribe
- Use images with links
- Right content to image ratio
- Send what customer wants: As all customers or buyers are not the same; marketers must segment their newsletters rather than sending them to all the customers so that the customers receive only what’s relevant for them to check. They should also make groups or categories based on the type of customer i.e. customer, potential customer or new customers; which category a particular customer looks for; as sending this type of relevant data helps in to make recipient get involved, engaged and also gives them a feel of personalized correspondence rather than making them feel exaggerated by sending large number of newsletters, as poorly targeted emails lead to fall in engagement, loss of attention and thus decreased response.
- Frequency and correct timings: Correct frequency and timings for sending emails is the key drivers for bringing in more consumers to the websites; marketers must plan their plan their email marketing strategy keeping them in mind. As per Octane Survey, “Almost 70% has been sending emails to their customer base at least once a week. 32% are mailing daily and 37.7% are mailing weekly.” Too many emails may lead to high un-subscription rate and few emails may result in brand not being at the forefront of the customers mind. Many marketers even face immense trouble in choosing the correct timings and frequency for engaging customers by email communications. Few believe that emails must be sent on the consistent basis for keeping consumers informed about additions on the website.
- Email List: Focus on Quality not Quantity: Be it any medium of marketing the primary objective i.e. customer acquisition remains the same; but marketers must not only focus on building their email list but building list of customers who bring value and revenue to company; Quality must be focus not Quantity. As you are just not building email list but building company’s value thus marketers must focus on high performing email list.
- Links: Though there are no rules for the links in email marketing, but it’s always preferred that the links must open directly to the website aligned with the email content as this makes purchasing easy. With this, number of links in the mail also makes a difference, few believe that too many links gives a chance for high clickthroughs on the website, but they should keep in mind that this doesn’t only reduces readability of text but also makes mails end up in spam.
- Think about Mobile: While planning the email marketing campaign one should always remember that with the integration of smartphones and tablets, large number of customers open their mails in these devices, if this ignored the opportunity to market will be lost. So marketers must make sure that the landing pages must be optimized for mobile.
- Measure your success: For knowing how much email marketing has contributed to reach out your set goals or met objectives, brands must constantly review its statistics;
- How many opened the message
- How many unsubscribed
- How many visited website
In email marketing, one of the significant challenge faced is ‘Reaching Inbox’, marketers are trying to outsource this business function to ESP (Email Service Providers). By outsourcing to ESPs and leveraging the scale offered by cloud computing marketers are able to get the best performance without the need for additional investments. Thus by outsourcing to ESPs, the campaigns are delivering optimum results and driving up the impact of email marketing.(Octane research). To reduce inbox clutter marketers should;
- Use light images
- Identify best time to send emails.
- Proper subjects and messages
- Increase personalization and targeting
“There is no denying in the fact that, email marketing is a great tool for business owners to use and let their audience know about the promotions, new arrivals, contests, and other significant things. It is a communication channel between the business and its customers. There is no such so called challenge in this medium of communication. Businesses can easily reach to the inbox of their customers and let them about their products, offers and other things in a very effective manner through pictures, videos and written text. It is rather one of the most cost effective communication medium which can be used to target a large number of audiences. But, the main thing to be considered in email marketing is make your customer read your mail every time, so the information you are sending in your emails should be of interest to the customers otherwise unsubscribe rate can swell and the whole purpose of email marketing fails abruptly,” said Manoj Chandra, Founder & CEO, AllSchoolStuff.com.