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How to Use Email Marketing Effectively?
Long ago people use to check the post box outside their house to know if there is a document or letter delivered by the postal service.
In rural areas in emerging countries where internet access has not become universal, postal service run by the governmental agencies continue to be a most preferred form of inter-personal and business communication apart from the telephone.
The fortunate who are living in cities or urban areas with internet becoming part of their daily lives are mostly likely to log into their email accounts to check for new mail.
Still others who have integrated their email in their mobile phones get alerts every time their data connection is on.
Your inbox is not likely to become saturated by mails from friends and relatives but from business houses eager to popularize their brand or directly sell a product or service.
Such promotional mails are likely to end up in the ‘Spam’ folder or in Google it could add up in ‘Promotions’ folder and not in the primary folder that will store important mails.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 protect consumers for spamming and violators are fined upto $11,000 for each email address violated, along with criminal prosecution.
It also dissuades from using deceptive headers, subject lines and reply-to addresses. Physical location should be mentioned in the mails and option for unsubscribe should be valid for 30 days.
Since it is easy to know a marketing message from the subject line of a mail, most people tend to overlook them or simply delete without opening.
Therefore, this prompted many people to think that email marketing is dead.
However, there is no need to be disheartened by such statements. According to some surveys email and mobile email marketing still attract people to your brands or products provided it’ done sensibly with the customer in mind.
More importantly there are ways to integrate email marketing with social media which is now evolving as a medium of its own rather than an email marketing strategy.
According to a data from a survey quoted by Neil Patel from Ascend 2 and Research Partners, 54% of people believe email is the most effective medium and only 11% feel it is most difficult while only 34% felt mobile and short messaging service (SMS) is the most effective strategy.
Research shows that it earns $39.40 return on every $1 inveted in it but everything depends on open rate and click-through rate.
Open rate denotes the number of people who receive the mail and open it. Click-through-rate denotes the number of people who click on a ‘call-of- action’ button such as ‘Register’, ‘Join’, ‘ Download’, ‘Reply’ and the like.
Here are some techniques to get the best results from an email marketing campaign.
Use a recognized email marketing software for sending bulk mails
Unless the mail is official and targeted to an individual or another firm, sending bulk mails through official email id is not advised as there are limits on number of email id’s that can be reached at one go and most of them could end up in spam also.
It is advisable to use email marketing tools such as Aweber or Mailchimp to send bulk emails. Care should be taken to avoid incorrect email ids or ids that have marketing messages blocked by the user.
In many countries, the telecom or internet regulators have specified the number of ids’ that can be addressed at one go and have a separate platform for sending bulk mail through a recognized service provider.
Pay attention to subject line of the message
Just as in a headline of an article or news, subject line of the article is the first thing that a reader sees in your mail.
That is one reason why job ads request the applicant to specify the specific job title and code in the subject line itself that makes sorting of mails easier for the company’s Human Resource Department (HRD).
Likewise a marketing message should entice the reader to open the mail, it could be a great offer of 50% or 75% as FlipKart or Amazon does from time to time or it could be an invitation to an event with free registration.
It could be ‘Register Free for the most auspicious IT Services Event in City’.
Subject lines can incentivize people to open with a great offer, it can be a surprise as in say, ‘Don’t open this email’, it could be a reminder about expiry of subscription or payment.
Likewise, humor can also be effectively used to attract reader attention. Groupon:” Best of Groupon: The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve) is one such example.
Address in first person by name can boost open rates. Email subject line with first name of the recipient can lead to higher click through rate than emails that have generic titles.
For eg. it could be possibly like Air Asia -Ram Mohan: Birthday Gift offer, Mr Abhishek- Happy Wedding Anniversary Gift inside from Flipkart’.
The words should be simple, avoiding flamboyant words and phrases and capable of directing the reader to take action immediately.
No time is auspicious for sending mails
There is a popular view that emails are good times and bad times to send emails. However, that is a fallacy. People open emails as and when they get time, it could be early in the morning, in between work at noon or in the night.
However, it is more important that the mail has landed in the primary inbox and not in the spam folder which may never be opened at all.
Moreover, automated email marketing software systems allow the use to time the sending of emails and therefore time according to the geographical location and time zone of the customers.
Request receivers to add email to contact list
If the email is being sent to an existing customer or a prospective customer, they can be requested to add your company email id or your id in the contact list so that it doesn’t end up in spam.
Pay attention to design of the mail
The initial user experience is important and that feeling should be carried throughout the mail.
If the email is mobile-optimised and scrolling down type, then the land page or registration form should not be in a format that is better accessible through desktop or laptop.
For better click-through results for email marketing campaigns, ensure that the design is flawless and enables seamless mobile and desktop experiences.
Some of the best call to action sentences are –‘I want you to Register for Webinar, I want you to download white paper and ‘I want you to continue reading’….
Importance of Call-to-Action
Every email should have a call-to-action that is user-friendly and easy to navigate through. It could be ‘Register Free’, ‘Book Now’, ‘Join Now’, ‘Download’, Enter Name, Email id and the like.
It should have an option to decline your offer also in which case no further mails related to the subject need to be send again.
The call-to-action can be varied according to the needs and likes of the individuals. A person who has already attended an event by booking on-line doesn’t need persuasive copies the next tie.
A direct invitation can be mailed which can be decided on the basis of the processing done by your email marketing automation software.
Share community generated content
There could be large volumes of user generated content that the company has at its disposal which can be shared to other users.
However, not every user may love to be in the spot light so it’s better to develop good relationship with them before using their content.
It’s better to ask the concerned individual whether it is alright to use the questions, articles or tweets in the next mail.
A strong call-to-action with a community member’s testimonial adds value to an email marketing campaign, according to Stephan Hovnanian, owner of Shovi Websites,an email marketing and web strategy company in Boston.
Use segmentation tools and resend mails
It is important to realize that when it comes to email marketing, one- size-fits-all approach may backfire.
Each individual differs in their tastes, preferences, income and social levels and hence email campaigns targeted at salaried groups may not appeal to business category of customers.
The use of automation email marketing software has already been highlighted and hence segmentation tools in it can be effectively used to target the mails to the right audience.
Mailigen used segmentation tools to increase its email open rates from 20 to 29% Creating the right distinctions between customers and targeting high-value messages helps in increasing effectiveness of email marketing.
It is very important to gather user data about groups of people- the content they prefer, how often and when they open emails and how they respond to them.
Sometimes, an email send with a better headline can persuade a reader to who didn’t open the previous mail to open and read.
Social integration with email marketing
There are differing views on the effectiveness of social media and email marketing in the rapidly changing dynamics of digital media campaigns.
Neil Patel in a new blog post has urged corporates to integrate social media into email marketing campaigns.
The Sony Vaio, laptop brand, launched their new VAIO summer line-up and included ‘Pin it’ buttons in their purchase confirmation email.
This resulted in 3000 new click-throughs as customers were eager to let others know of their new purchase.
These mails had a 70% open rate and 18% click-through-rates. Among the strategies suggested by Neil Patel include collecting email ids of social media followers as email has a higher customer lifetime value (CLV0 than social media platforms, developing a private Facebook group for privileged subscribers or customers, and add social sharing icons inside mails. GetResponse has stated that social sharing boosts email CTR by 158%.
The digital marketing is constantly in a state of flux and there is no strategies that will work all the time and in all scenarios.
There was a view that it is dead and growth of social media and mobile devices had diminished its importance.
It is still alive and kicking as marketers try new strategies to attract user attention.
However, a report from Campaigner said that 2016 and beyond will be a difficult as well as challenging for email marketing especially with respect to attracting new consumers.
Increasing ‘open rates’ continue to be the most challenging for the marketers, apart from creating compelling content, earning new subscribers and maintaining them.
Finding and developing a contact list of subscribers is of paramount importance in email marketing.
In exchange for contact information, we can provide a free email marketing newsletter, a free seminar attendance or discount offers. Citi Bank sends mailers to existing card holders to refer five friends and get paid for it.
Now efforts are on to make email marketing subscriber driven rather than a one-way brand push of advertising.
Subscriber Voice, a start- up has devised a seal which once installed allows the subscribers to provide structured and unstructured data on their experience, which is representative of the overall brand relationship , directly predictive of loyalty, purchase behaviour, lifetime value, churn and the likelihood to recommend.
Email marketing volume have grown 15% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate). This is forcing a whopping 77% of US consumers to become hesitant when providing brands their email address.
It is in this context that Subscriber Voice has come up with the new idea of subscriber-driven email marketing and soon emails may sport the Subscriber Voice Seal to show the company cares for engaging with customers and understanding them.
Retailers are now using purchase behavior data to send more relevant email to consumer, 50% use demographic email marketing data such as gender, age and location.
It also depends on the quality of the data-base with the company. If the data also includes apart from email, mobile, work phone/residential phone, follow up can be done on phone through voice-call or SMS.
Integration with social media and other communication channels holds the key to better response and conversion rates for email marketing.
Lot of creativity, research, data analysis, thinking and conceptualization needs to go into every email marketing campaign so that it doesn’t end up in spam or trash. Long live email marketing.
This has been a guide to How to Use Email Marketing Effectively?. Here we discuss a brief overview with some techniques to get the best results from an email marketing campaign. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –