Or how your business can benefit from e-mail marketing
Can you benefit from having your customers e-mails? Yes, when we’re talking about effective e-mail marketing. Good messages can be useful for users and businesses can profit from them. So don’t leave this tool of online marketing behind – you can hardly find a more effective direct marketing instrument than the well designed and intelligent e-mail campaign. If your business possesses data about your customers, now’s the time to use its potential!
E-mail marketing is the process of enhancing communication through the use of e-mails. You can send e-mails with product information, advertising, sales letters, promotions, gifts, PR campaigns, newsletters, after sales service and more. The recipients can be your existing customers and/or your potential customers. Still, regular communication is the key to acquiring and keeping clients. The top three uses of e-mail campaigns are:
- Promotions and special offers. These are the classic techniques of direct marketing, so they’re really effective in e-mail marketing too. Recipients are offered something exclusive – for example coupons or codes. On one hand these unique offers, which can be received only by e-mail, can be an effective way of growing your mailing list (more people will subscribe), and on the other hand you can reinforce the connection with your existing customers.
- Event invitations. E-mail marketing is a great way to send invitations for events such as conferences and seminars. If the e-mail leads the recipient to a landing page for registration or where an RSVP is requested, you can quickly gather attendees. E-mail reminders for the event can be sent to those who’ve registered.
- Keeping in touch. One of the main reasons for sending newsletters is to keep in contact with the customer. Sending newsletters allows you to build a connection with the recipients, which may well evolve into sales. Sending business or product information is a great way to keep people informed about what’s new with your business.
“OK, great”, you say, “but why should I invest money in another online marketing activity? My business’s fine without this additional cost.” The point is, you can increase your profit, because of the benefits that e-mail marketing provides.
Benefits of e-mail marketing
- Low price. You don’t have to make a large investment to start conducting e-mail campaigns, which means everybody can use them. You can reach a lot of clients with minimum expense. In terms of cost, e-mail marketing is not as expensive as direct mail campaigns for example.
- Minimal resources. Within a short period of time, a large audience can be targeted and reached and you can get answers from recipients within hours. With minimal resources, you generate leads, build brand awareness, and improve your customer relationship. You can see the results in days and take any necessary actions.
- Measuring results. Features such as subscriptions, bounced e-mails and click through rate help businesses to track potential customers. Since the customers can be reached directly, feedback can be collected easily. Based on the analysis of the results, you can then conduct additional, more effective, campaigns and increase your sales.
However, despite the advantages offered by e-mail marketing, you may still not be convinced that you should use it. After all, if you come across a website asking you to sign up for a free newsletter, would you sign up and reveal your e-mail address? I bet you wouldn’t. So why would your customers want to receive your messages? Make them want to – by sending interesting and necessary information for them. Send them gifts now and then – there are a lot of free books out there. Give them a good reason to subscribe. Offer your customers something special and you’ll make that desired significant connection with them and there it is – you’ll earn their loyalty.
In addition, in terms of Return on Investment, e-mail marketing is said to be one of the most profitable online tools. When handled appropriately, e-mail campaigns can be powerful revenue generators for your business. Of, course you can’t get the maximum benefit from an initial campaign so easily, like everything else you need to learn some tricks and how-to’s first – like who you can send e-mails to and whether or not there are legal issues.
Opt-in, double opt-in or opt-out?
The marketing term “opt-in” means that a marketing e-mail message is sent only to a user who has given permission for it to be sent to them. E-mail addresses of users who give their permission are stored in opt-in lists. Disadvantages of opt-in lists are that they can be used to send e-mails which users actually don’t want to receive and that it’s possible for somebody to subscribe another person’s e-mail to receive advertising e-mails. Either way, the user in fact hasn’t given his permission. In these cases, we’re talking about spam.
That’s why marketers use the “double opt-in” method. According to this method, every e-mail in a list must be confirmed before sending it anywhere. A request for confirmation is sent to every user on an e-mail list to ensure that they are the owner, that the address is working and that they want to receive messages. The confirmation is simple – click a link or send a short reply. The double opt-in model ensures that only those interested in your topic or product will receive your messages and that legal security is not compromised.
There is another model – the “opt-out”. Instead of giving people the option to be put on the list, they are automatically put on and then have the option to request to be taken off the list.
Which one should you choose? Think about your message and its goal. For example if you’re sending a sales promotion and you want to win new clients, the opt-out method is the best choice. If you want to start you own newsletter, the double opt-in is the right decision. And if you want to tell your existing customers about your new product, the opt-in with the list of existing customers is for you. But as someone once said: the success of an e-mail marketing campaign depends 60% on your database, 30% on the way that you’ve presented the content and only 10% on what you’re selling. The message is clear enough – be careful with your receivers list.
Effective e-mail marketing is good for you, because you benefit from it, and it’s good for the customer, because they get useful information about promotions, new products, etc. But e-mail marketing has a dark side – spam. Some companies collect e-mail addresses of people illegally and send irrelevant e-mail to them, which can be very annoying. I’m sure you’ve received at least one spam message which you didn’t want to read. But it gets scarier – some hackers design an e-mail to look like an advertisement, but when clicked on, it downloads adware and viruses onto your computer.
These are some of the reasons why every country has laws with restrictions about the use of e-mail marketing, so you must read, carefully, the one in your country BEFORE you start with your e-mail campaign. Legal guidelines even support marketing effectiveness in some ways – in terms of needed targeting and relevant information for customers. Generally laws define the framework in which you should build your message – for example you should point out the name and address of your company, there should be an unsubscribe option in your e-mail, etc. Read the law carefully – this will prevent not only future fines, but the potential ruining of your business image. Nobody wants to be called a spammer, right?!
Despite this, great advice is that you should learn from spam. Before you start with your e-mail marketing campaign you must learn the wrong way to create it. It shouldn’t be like spam campaigns (neither the design nor the message) – so look through your spam e-mails, or to see what’s current, open an account in some free mail service, post the address somewhere on the internet and be patient, spam will soon reach you. After that you can start benefitting from e-mail marketing. What are the 7 tips that can help you create effective campaigns? Read about them soon!