Our guide to Email marketing
This low cost marketing strategy is an ideal way to drum up both new and repeat business helping your company reach a wider audience.
A simple campaign organised in-house using an existing mail client such as Microsoft Outlook is easy to set up. There are also paid services available online which will only put minor strain on your marketing budget; most email campaigns pay for themselves in no time at all.
Regardless of your approach and budget, email marketing is arguably the most cost effective way of attracting new business and retaining existing customers.
Strategy is important.
Things to consider are:
Your email campaign starts with your recipient list, the prospects you are targeting to find new business from as well as your existing clients you are hoping to retain.[box style=”2″]Important: don’t ever send email marketing to anyone who hasn’t either agreed to receive it or specifically requested it. It’s a legal requirement.
If you don’t follow the rules you will more than likely have your email address blacklisted or worse, you could be sued! If someone receives an unsolicited email they are almost always going to click on it and add it to their spam folder. You may not think this is a problem, but trust us it is! Every time you add an email to your spam folder a message might be sent to your ISP. The senders’ address is essentially marked as suspicious and will be monitored by the ISP from that point on. If others using the same ISP make enough reports (by adding emails from the sender to their spam folder) the suspicious address will be blocked and the ISP will reject all subsequent emails from that sender.
It takes as little as 0.01% of spam complaints to get your email account blacklisted.
Avoid any difficulty by only sending email marketing to those who have actually agreed to receive it.[/box]
You’ve probably got a number of email addresses of clients/customers you have been in contact with or worked with in the past. Send them a polite email asking them if they would like to join your email-marketing list. All those that agree to receive email marketing can be added to an Excel spreadsheet, with recipient names in one column and email addresses in the next column.
In order to develop your mailing list you may consider adding a newsletter sign up form to your website.
Now that you have a mailing list, you need to think about what type of email you are going to send. This will depend a lot on what product or service you are offering. Do you wish to sell directly to new clients, or gently remind your existing clients of your product or skill, expertise and availability? Will you be sending a newsletter with updates about your company and projects or will you be promoting something new?[box style=”1″]Your email can take two basic forms:
• Plain text emails that contain no graphics/images, colours or formatting.
• Rich text or HTML emails can contain images, colours and formatting[/box]
There are advantages and disadvantages to both:
+ Emails will display/render in the same way regardless of email client
+ The email looks more like a personal message
+ Easier and quicker to create
+ Your email is less likely to get caught in spam filters
– May be considered unprofessional
– Less engaging as lacking formatting, images, call to actions etc.
– Can’t track if the email has been opened or not
Rich text or HTML
+ Potentially looks more professional with the inclusion of graphics/images
+ Traceable – so you know if the email has been opened or not
– Images are sometimes blocked spoiling the design of the email
– Each email client displays/renders HTML emails in slightly different ways. Therefore you can run into display issues unless you possess the technical knowledge/equipment to produce, test and debug HTML compatibility issues.
Once you have decided on what form your email will take, HTML or plain text, you need to think about the content. Depending on your business, you may have sale products you want to market or exclusive discounts only available for newsletter subscribers. Perhaps you just want to keep customers up to date with company news?
Your customers are likely to be receiving a lot of emails from other sources so it’s important to keep your content succinct and to the point. If you go with an HTML email campaign you can use images or graphics to break up text and make your message more exciting. Think about what text you are going include in your subject line. Make sure you give some indication of what the email is actually about.
By law, you must provide recipients with an unsubscribe link (a way to opt out of your marketing campaigns). More information about direct marketing legislation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/marketing-advertising-law/direct-marketing
It is also useful to include a ‘View in browser’ link. Email clients are known for causing HTML emails to display incorrectly, or not at all. Providing the ‘view in browser’ option will allow recipients to view HTML emails in their preferred browser with the layout the sender intended you to see.
The most successful campaigns arise from an email that makes the customer/recipient feel valued or provides them with something of value, like a discount or promotion. Don’t expect great conversion rates if your just spamming people with irrelevant sales splurge.
Reactive Graphics have years of experience designing and building HTML emails.
Call us on 020 7471 8554 today.
Now you have your email ready and a list of recipients, its time to send it out! The beauty of this kind of mass mail campaign is you can send a single email to multiple recipients without having to email each one individually.
There are a number of online applications like http://mailchimp.com and https://www.campaignmonitor.com which allow you to create an account, import your mailing list and send out your email instantly. Providers offer these tools to monitor the success of your campaigns, for instance by tracking which recipients opened your email. They also offer drag and drop html email building tools and the ability to import and integrate an HTML template of your own. In order to make your email a little more personal you can insert shortcodes to your email template that will automatically insert the recipients’ name (or other more personalised information from your list) that corresponds to the email address that the communication is being sent to.
Instead of using a service like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp, you could send the emails out yourself using the mail merge functionality of programs like Gmail or Microsoft Entourage. Bear in mind that most ISPs have daily and hourly limits on how many emails you can send. You are unlikely to run into any difficulty if you send fewer than 100 emails a day.
If you are using a PC with Microsoft Office, Outlook is a great tool for sending email to multiple recipients. Using the mail merge facility you can send a personalised message or newsletter without your recipients knowing that the email is being sent to a large group. Learn how to mail merge with Outlook here: http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/mailmerge.htm
If you aren’t using one of the dedicated email marketing services like MailChimp that provide click rates and other statistics, you will still want some way to gauge the success of your campaign. If you are using Google Analytics, one of the best ways of doing this is adding campaign tags to the links within your email. This involves adding some additional information to your URLs that makes them identifiable. By making the URLs unique to a particular email campaign you can see what traffic is being directed to your website via hyperlinks you create within your email content. This is called link tagging. Read up on link tagging here: http://cutroni.com/blog/2006/11/10/google-analytics-campaign-tracking-pt-1-link-tagging/
Many online tools will keep track of the number of users who have opted out of your newsletter. It’s important to keep your database up to date so you can be sure that you are sending emails to only those people who have opted to receive it.
Depending upon the quality of your email content and the credibility of your mailing list, like most forms of direct marketing, the chances of someone responding is less than 5% with the chances of you winning new business around 1 – 2%. As a result, volume is key. Don’t be disheartened. The more people you can reach, the better chance of success you will have. Choosing the right tools to do the job is also important. This includes choosing the best technology and delivery format (plain text, rich text or HTML).
Employing a design agency will help with all of these aspects. Please telephone us on 020 7471 8554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require assistance with your next email marketing campaign.
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