The idea of “email marketing” can seem intimidating, but it can be thought of as a form of direct marketing like traditional mail. Instead of using the postal service, however, it uses email to send your commercial or non-profit messages to an audience.
Various marketing email types sent out include email newsletters, quick announcements (also known as postcard emails), catalog emails, and press releases.
At its best, email marketing can engage your audience better than a passive website, and at its worst, it can annoy and alienate that same audience.
In this post, we’ll go though the purposes of email marketing, what types of messages to send, how it differs from social media marketing, and some email marketing pitfalls to avoid.
Why use email marketing?
Most generally, email marketing helps build and deepen relationships with customers and prospective clients.
The email addresses you’ve collected, after all, are likely from people who you’ve done business with them before, or they’ve shown an interest in your company or market. Sending an email to them helps you stay in touch with them.
Given the option of using new social media options, the place of email marketing has been up for debate, but experts say the advantage is that email can get read more consistently over other forms of marketing.
Chris R. Keller, who heads Waterloo, Ontario-based small business company Profitworks, writes that email marketing “goes directly to the place where people are looking to receive messages.” Instead of having to seek out messages on Twitter or sift through an overwhelming stream of Facebook updates, Keller says that the actual read rate is much higher with email than social networks. “People usually check all email messages that are delivered to their in box, at least reading the subject line.”
What should be sent in a marketing email?
A marketing email should give recipients a reason to open it. To do this, you’ll have to understand what your customers want, and create valuable content based on their needs.This alignment can help promote your firm as knowledgeable, authentic, and strong on client relationships.
There are many sophisticated techniques to personalize and customize marketing emails to specific customers, but it’s best to start out creating emails that your typical recipient would want to open. This could mean providing clients content such as up-to-date company and industry information, special offers, tips and tricks, and free downloads. Providing content that is relevant to your recipient gives them a reason to open it.
Take a look at the following email newsletters:
From top to bottom: a postcard email advertising Indigo’s Plum Rewards program, an email newsletter showcasing the latest posts on news site The Daily Beast, a catalog email from bookseller Chapters, and a press release email from 8×8.
There are different types of emails
An email newsletter could, for instance, provide the latest news on the company and its activities, tips and tricks about using the firm’s products, and case studies on particular clients. A postcard email could announce an exclusive sale that will only be for a limited time. A catalog email could coincide with reduced prices or new items, providing your audience with a range of possible goods to buy. It can also be important not to forget press release emails, which are sent to members of the media, including bloggers, to invite them to write about your company and its latest news.
We have written before about aligning your website goals and your business goals, and the same goes about aligning your email marketing and your business goals. Knowing your business and your customers will help you translate your core mission to your email marketing activities.
What are some of the downsides?
Your email marketing campaign can backfire if people sense that you’re not being authentic.
In order to have a mailing list, at least one person has entrusted you with their email address; It’s important not to betray that trust. This involves only sending them emails that may interest them, but it also involves respecting the use of their information.
It’s completely unacceptable to share your email list with anyone without their permission. You should also make it easy for someone to request to leave your mailing list because being sent unwanted emails can damage your relationship with that person.
Another danger of email marketing is alienating your audience by making them feel you’re merely selling them something, rather than understanding their needs and providing something they value. Your email marketing campaign can backfire if people sense that you’re not being authentic.
Can I make sure my email is read?
You can’t count on your email being read, but you can increase your odds that it is opened by creating a compelling headline.
News site The Daily Beast consistently writes compelling email newsletter headlines such as “Obama and Boehner on Debt Collision Course” and “Exclusive Poll: Egypt’s Simmering Rage”. Because your email is competing with others for the attention of your audience, an engaging headline can give your message the best chance to be read.
There are some other pointers to avoid having your message avoid being considered spam such as sending email marketing messages using your company email, using a third-party service to send the email, and by not sending emailing marketing to strangers.
Email marketing can help you stay in touch with customers and build stronger relationships.
In coming posts, we will explain how to make a mailing list, and offer some suggestions of tools to use for managing email marketing campaigns.
Have any questions, or need help on your email marketing campaign? Please let us know!