When I receive an email from a company I am often quick to judge its content on its relevancy to me based upon my previous purchases or website usage. This ingrained behaviour is a result of having been involved with email marketing for years and in fairness could be considered a reflection of my inability to switch off when outside of work.
Over the years I have witnessed email marketing as a discipline become increasingly advanced and whilst I am all for innovation when it comes to developing strategies and campaigns, there is still a great deal of worth in getting back to basics.
There are many businesses out there which are able to exploit advanced email marketing tools and tactics, ensuring that they are utilising the latest integrated marketing technologies available. The problem with becoming transfixed with the latest technologies and tools though is that it is easy to lose sight of the basics.
Email Marketing Basics
• First and foremost assess your resources, your website and see whether they actually convert visitors and meet objectives.
• Effective email management is about the relevance of the message to the customer and the timing of the email - contacting customers early with promotions and incentives and in a timely manner, instead of bombarding them with messages.
• You must understand the customers you are reaching out to and how you plan to interact with them (Customer Insight). This requires an in depth understanding of you customers’ wants and needs, which can be achieved through effective data management and segmentation.
• Any campaign you enact must be executed in a way that is measurable. This requires the creation of a control group and using data from previous campaigns to gauge effectiveness.
• You should ensure that your main engagement points are optimised. This could involve optimising your sign up form, addressing the clarity of your unsubscribe process (giving the opportunity for alternatives to commercial messages) and also ensuring that any sends have been fully tested in a variety of inbox preview tools.
Email Marketing Pitfalls
When there is pressure to secure new leads or generate profits it can be easy to simply ramp up email marketing efforts. This is a common mistake that reveals a misunderstanding of the fundamental proposition of email marketing; communications should be focussed on the consumer’s needs and motives, not your business’.
Bombarding consumers can result in serious damage to your brand. Email marketing is based upon trust, reputation and permission, once these are lost you will see fewer opens and fewer subscribers, while getting trust, reputation and permission back can be near impossible.
Email is such a flexible and fast method of marketing that it is easy to start overestimating the value of the emails being sent out. At every stage it is vital to consider the consumers mindset and whether a particular piece of news has any relevancy to them.
Email marketing has the power to elicit a positive reaction with your consumers; equally however there is the chance that by overusing email marketing and sending irrelevant emails you could damage the reputation of your business.
Email Marketing Tips
So you understand the basics and know what to avoid, but how can you make the most of your campaigns in the future?
• Consider using subject matter other than just the hard sell. For instance you may want to offer incentives through a campaign, use it to say thank you or even provide your consumers with an entertaining email filled with games.
• Being unique is vital if your emails are going to stand out. To gain this individuality be creative with your visual and content whilst striving to give each and every email personality. Personality will help to make your emails memorable and irreplaceable, helping to differentiate you against your competitors.
• Make small changes to your email campaigns over time whilst testing and testing again. This iterative approach helps you to optimise you emails over time and makes you future campaigns more successful.
There is still significant value to be gained from email marketing IF it is performed effectively and if the basics are heeded during the creation of your campaigns. Equally if you understand that relevant messaging is paramount in every send you undertake then you are on the right path to success.