Just a few decades ago, marketing was done primarily via television, radio and with the help of the U.S. postal service. Today, marketing has evolved to include e-mail marketing as a viable replacement for snail mail thanks to its lower cost, ease of distribution and higher returns. So, if you have not joined the e-marketing trend, what is it that is holding you back?  And, if you are a part of e-mail marketing, ask yourself whether or not your marketing campaign is all it can be.

Basic Components of E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing has three basic components that, when properly employed, will help you build a strong e-mail marketing campaign. These elements are list hygiene, maximization of deliverability and relationships.

List hygiene is simply making sure that your e-mail content is not only self-serving.

Maximization of delivery is key; after all, if people don’t get e-mails, they can’t read them 😉 Fortunately, delivery rates are solid. Recent studies by a variety of tracking firms like Harte-Hanks, Merkle, Pew and others report that:

  • 510 million e-mails were opened in 2010
  • 87% of Internet users checked their personal  e-mail daily
  • A 2011 study shows that delivery rates are up by as much as 95%
  • Bounce rates are down by 76%
  • Click-through rates have remained the same (3%) for the past two years.
  • 92% of adult Americans are online daily

Relationships are the basis of e-mail marketing. Remember, the customers who are pleased with you and your service are more likely to be repeat buyers and will refer your service to others. In addition, you should also be sure that when you have new subscribers to your e-mail that you acknowledge them with a welcome note (many email service providers do this automatically). You should also send new subscribers a message that brings them up to speed and provides them with basic essential information. When you prepare the welcome e-mail, be sure that is easy to follow or the subscribers will unsubscribe.

Types of Email Marketing

As you embark on your e-mail campaign, take some time to determine what type of marketing approach you want. There are five main types and you may choose to use just one approach or perhaps a combination of them all.

  1. Awareness – If you are a new business, or are simply new to e-mail marketing, then you will want to let people to know who you are and what you offer.
  2. Promotional – Communicate specific benefits, as well as testimonials, special offers, discount codes or free trials.
  3. Conversion – Have clear calls to action, buttons for “view catalog” and listings of specific products; you may want a more targeted e-mail based on specific elements your customers are interested.
  4. Communicate – While this may sound obvious (after all, it is an e-mail ;-), use the e-mail to let people know what other related products you have, based on their recent purchases. (Think Amazon or Barnes and Nobles.)
  5. Build and strengthen relationships – Use your newsletter to remind your clients of how important they are. Include information about company events, snippets from blog posts with a “read more” link, pictures, etc… However, keep in mind that that this is a soft sell approach, so it is still important to have a call to action.

The Foundations of an E-mail Marketing Campaign

There is more to an e-mail marketing campaign than merely writing a newsletter and pressing, “send.”  So, if you plan to embark into the world of e-mail marketing, here are a two things to do:

  1. Collect e-mail recipients. This is the most important element of a successful e-mail campaign! It is done by asking potential subscribers to create an account. You can make the form as simple or sophisticated as you would like based on your company’s needs or the goal of your campaign. Remember, you cannot build relationships without building a connection.
  2. Measure the reactions. There are three ways this can be done-by location, by engagement and by response.
    1. Location – Some places are known for higher open rate than others are. For instance, the open rate is 10.76% in America, while in Europe it is 13% and in Australia is 8.08%.
    2. Engagement – Note when and what your marketing recipients are purchasing/interacting with on your site.
    3. Response – This is based on metrics such as open, read and click through rates. It should be noted that this info is typically tracked by the email service provider (ESP). Other elements you can test with an ESP are names, subject lines, personalization, images, delivery days or times, amount of copy, HTML or text, frequency and layout.

The Elements of Response Driven E-mail Marketing

There are several elements of response driven e-mail that can help you expand your business even more. Keeping them in mind will help you understand the metrics of your e-mail campaign even better.

  1. Purchase driven e-mail – When a user makes a purchase you will have data that helps you make a more educated decision about their areas of interest.
  2. Click driven e-mail – This allows you to categorize the work user based on the content of the link.
  3. Non-action driven e-mail – Remember, not making a decision is a decision. In e-mail marketing the non-actions can be as informative as the actions. Spend some time studying the metrics of the newsletter noting what elements of your e-mail seem to be getting the least (or most) attention. Make improvements so that your marketing campaign is successful. Whether it is a better call to action button, more special offers or some other element, having an understanding of why users are not responding can go a long way toward turning non-actions into actions.

Now that you have the basics of an e-mail marketing campaign, there are just a couple of steps left to kicking off, or perhaps, ramping up, your e-mail marketing. The first one is to set goals. As Bud Wrenn, co-founder of Pinnacle Consulting and Coaching Group, says, “You cannot inspect what you do not expect.” Setting goals for your e-mail marketing campaign will give perspective to your metrics. Ask yourself what the campaign’s purpose is then be sure that the elements of the e-mail campaign support that purpose.

The next step may be the most obvious, but…here it is . You have to write (or hire someone else to) the newsletter! This can be bit time consuming. So, if you prefer time spent interacting with your customers to writing, then consider hiring a copywriter to write for you. Just be sure to explain your vision and goals for e-mail marketing to ensure you are on the same page!

E-mail marketing is one of the best tools your business has available. Don’t overlook its potential because you don’t have time. Talk to Page Progressive today to learn how they can help you get your e-mail marketing up to speed.