Emails are everywhere. We might not even realize it but emails have become an essential business communication tool. In a broader sense, every email that is sent out is doing marketing. I’m sure, you might have heard that companies are doing email marketing, so let’s understand the process of email marketing from scratch to the end.
What is Email Marketing and How does it work?
Email marketing is a way to reach consumers directly via electronic mail. It is the process of sending promotional messages or sharing product information to a group of people through emails. Companies collect leads of potential prospects and send them periodic emails to build a loyal following. These regular emails are sent with the intention to get people in your email list to pay for your services again and again.
Define Email Marketing
“Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message to impact consumers in a variety of ways, typically to a group of targeted people, using email.”
Now before we embark on email marketing let us go back and see, how the whole process of email marketing has got started.
History of Email Marketing
It all began in 1978. When Mr. Gary Thuerk of digital equipment corporation or DEC sent out a mass mail to almost 400 potential customers using ARPANET. This act alone resulted in DEC closing business worth 13 million USD.
What began as an innovative idea by Mr. Thuerk soon began as a legendary and powerful marketing tool. This idea actually revolutionized the way e-marketing is done in the modern world.
How successful is email marketing in 2018?
When we analyzed various marketing channels that gives better ROI, we found email marketing to be the best medium which gets more conversion, reliable and long-lasting.
Many times we come across situations where even after good email open rates we might not see any conversion. Might we ask our-self questions like is email marketing dead? does email marketing work? is email marketing still effective? and so on. The answer is yes. If you see the above infographics, you will realize how email marketing has become the best marketing channel comparing to all other existing methods.
Adding up, let’s look at some importance of email marketing [especially for business in 2018]
Marketing now has become a click-bait game.
Every Tom & Harry is fighting for their right.
The competition is getting more tougher.
Consumer buying behavior, content consumption, getting product knowledge, in fact, everything from scratch to end of product consumer habit keeps changing.
One cannot run a business successfully without creating a positive brand impact in people mind. So, marketing strategies like email marketing can help companies to achieve what they want to sell.
What are the benefits of email marketing?
Here is what you can achieve/advantage with email marketing.
- Email marketing helps create a loyal customer following
- Email marketing helps brand awareness
- Email marketing gives product knowledge
- Email marketing is a lifetime asset
- Email Marketing is a secret method for Instant traffic
- Email Marketing takes a new product to people in quick time
- Email marketing improves return customer rate
Coming back to benefits of email marketing for small businesses, here is what Forbes has listed out.
1. Build credibility
2. Boost sales
3. Strengthen relationships
4. Realize what works
5. Reach people on any device
6. Look professional
7. Get quick results
8. Leads generation & nurturing
9. Promote services
10. Attract new clients
The process of Email Marketing
Now the crucial question is how can a business commence on using email as a marketing tool. Hence we are putting a small, yet simple guide on how to use email for marketing effectively.
The entire process of email marketing goes like this…
As mentioned above it is very important that you have a clear marketing objective in your head before you begin anything to do with email marketing.
Building and managing customer database is not a simple thing. It does not work with spreadsheets if you are planning to scale your business. Proper email marketing campaigns need clearly defined goals as, how to build an email list? how to build an email list even without a website? what are the traffic sources that could potentially increase the email opt-ins? what are the methods where email list can be built? etc.
Before we discuss more email marketing campaigns, let me give you an overview of email list building.
How to build an email list from scratch?
List Building or email list is the process of developing a database of like-minded people who would be interested in your products or services. There are plenty of methods through which you can build your email list.
The simplest trick you do is having a landing page with a lead capture form and share it in platforms where your business gets the most traffic from.
For example, you can create a landing page similar to it and add a lead form like the one on the right side. Share it in your company social media pages, when people like your offering (the freebie), they will opt-in by providing their contact details.
Side note: Opt-in forms with freebie exchange are considered lead magnet as it squeezes people to share their details.
You can store all the leads collected in your database/ email automation tool.
Now, rinse, repeat, increase count of lead magnets, channels you share and other stuff’s. This way, you can see more conversion and you can grow your email list faster.
Next, we need to make use of the list and start your email marketing campaign.
We will attempt to keep it pretty simple. So here we go with the fundamentals of email marketing.
1.Objective: This is true for every marketing effort we put in, you need to have a clear marketing objective. Everything in the world of marketing works on the principle of cause and effect. If your cause is right, then the effect will be right too. Hence having a clear objective is of prime importance to email marketing campaigns. Be very clear and precise about what you want from the emails that will be sent out. The target email will only create an impact when the objective of the message is clear.
2. Message: After setting the marketing objective correctly, you have to draft a message which is in synergy with the marketing objective. It should be to the point and easy to read. The length of the message should also be adequate. In today’s world of email marketing, you have a very small window to grab your target audience’s attention. So make sure that the subject line of the email defines your intention of communication perfectly. Otherwise, your Target Audience might not even open your email.
3. Email Recipients List: This is the most crucial step in an email marketing campaign. In today’s world of spam marketing, it is essential to building a solid, validated email subscribers list. We say it’s the most crucial step because due to prevalent malpractices like buying bulk mail lists, and sending lots of mail to unknown persons, there is a significant penalty if this step is ignored. Your domain might get blacklisted and you would not be able to send any more marketing emails. So, you have to make conscious efforts in building your email marketing list. The best way to do this is by developing content that people want to consume. If your content is good then people will willfully opt-in for receiving email messages from you.
4.Types of emails for marketing purpose: Based on the intent and the purpose of the email communication, the email marketing is classified into certain types. Broadly speaking they are classified into transactional emails and direct emails. Transactional emails are the messages that are sent to a specific email address when a person holding that email address does a transactional action on a specific website. For example, you must have noticed that as soon as you place an order on a shopping portal, you receive an order confirmation mail. This is a transactional message. You pay a bill using your debit card, the email you receive from your bank as a confirmation of the transaction is another example of the transactional email. A question might pop-up in your mind. How come this is a part of email marketing. Well, most of the transactional emails nowadays will always have some additional information with it. Like you bought a computer keyboard from a website. The email you receive from them will have both the confirmation and some additional product offer with it. The biggest advantage with transactional email is the fact that it has very less chance of landing in the spam folder. Direct Emails, on the other hand, are email messages that have a sole marketing objective. They are sent from the website to the recipient with a specific marketing goal or objective in mind. Their impact is highly dependent upon the way emails are written and sent. Due caution has to be observed while dealing with this type of email marketing. One has to be sure that the emails are landing only to the persons who have given consent to receive direct messages from us. If this is not the case then the email will land in the spam folder and the domain may be flagged as spammy, or even might get blacklisted for sending emails.
5.Tools used for email marketing: The market is flooded with great marketing tools as far as email marketing is concerned. There are software packages which help digital marketers right from the drafting of messages, parsing HTML emails, designing banners and graphics to managing email lists and analytics. However, we would suggest doing some online research before deciding on which tool to buy. The tool should always be in sync with your requirements, plus it should be user-friendly.
The above-mentioned points are the broader or foundation points that need to consider while going for an e-marketing plan using email as a marketing tool. However it’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more points that need to be considered while designing and executing an email marketing plan/campaign.
How to do Email Marketing (step by step procedure for successful email campaign)?
When you collect a lead using a lead magnet or a landing page, the first thing you do is sending a welcome email. You cannot send emails manually everytime a person subscribes your newsletter or take action on a landing page. The solution here is making use of email autoresponders, which automates the process for you.
Email Autoresponder allows you to automate your email marketing and sales, so you can focus on the important aspects of your business. It allows you to schedule and send series of emails on regular interval automatically to a particular group. Only thing is, you need to define/segment which part of your email list you want these automated emails to be sent. This method of scheduling and sending emails are referred to as ” Email Automation” or “Marketing Automation”
Here is how it works…
The process is very simple:
- Build an email list
- Create an email using one of the format: Plan Editor | Code Editor | Drag & Drop Editor
- Segment your email list and execute the campaign (send immediately or schedule it for a later time)
- Check email marketing report from the marketing automation tool.
How to do email marketing without spamming?
Every day people are being bombarded with thousands of marketing emails. Now, for them, it becomes very difficult to decipher which mail make sense and which does not. What do you think should be a solution to this?, It’s the manners, Yes it is very important to be polite. It’s like going to a new company or someone’s house for the first time. If your language is polite then you will be more than welcomed. Same applies to email marketing. If your message is polite and well written then its acceptability increases by a lot. So, good manners always pay.
Why should one opt-in for your services or email messages?
We have seen in the foundation points above that we need to build an authentic recipients list. Which is also called an opt-in list. It’s basically people giving us consent to receive email messages from us. Now, the question is why would they do that? The answer to this lies in the fact that people are apprehensive, and that’s because they fear that their inbox will be full of junk mail. Hence we need to make them understand certain facts like frequency of emails that we will send, what are the benefits that the recipients will receive if he opts-in, will we be sharing his email address with a third party, are there any discounts being offered, etc, etc. Trust us if your target understands what you are offering is of his benefit, he will be more than glad to give you his consent for opt-in. Taking this step seriously will also save your valuable marketing resources.
See the example of Amazon, these guys are smart. What they have done is that giving consent for receiving emails from them is a part of the purchase cycle. They have created a win-win situation.
What else should a marketer do to be in good books of the target audience?
The format of the email in itself is very important, and please remember the politeness and the manners point. If you want a marketing viral phenomenon with your email campaigns then it becomes essential to follow it. Make sure that both your opt-in page and the first email that the target receives from your side is super polite and has a very easy call to action button for opt-in. If you can do this, then you have it. Also, this will reduce the chances of your message being discarded as spam. If you are using a tool like MailChimp, then this step actually becomes very easy. Please do explore some email marketing tools, most of them are really good.
Role of content?
Content of the email is very vital for generating a positive ROI. See its all about selling dreams. Email marketing is a tool which is very effective in generating, enhancing and churning expectations of the target audience. Keep your content in the proper format, and follow up with your email base. You would soon see lots of conversions happening. However, having said that, the rate at which you touch your prospect should be calibrated from time to time. Do it too less, the person loses interest in you, do it too often again the same thing will happen. Any digital marketing expert worth his salt will be a master at knowing how much to communicate with the target.
The crucial question is how to decide how much and when to pitch?
Only you as an email marketer can precisely answer this question. Think like your target. Suppose if you were a target, at what time you would like the email to reach you, what would you like to read in it, what offer or keyword will really trigger your emotion and meet your expectation.
You see the technical aspect of email marketing is really small, the thinking part is the real challenge. Hence think as your target audience and you would have an edge over your competition hands down.
Newsletters and Auto Responders!
In theory, Newsletter is an email sent out to your opt-ins keeping them informed about what is happening at your end, and what are you doing for your customers, and an autoresponder is a personalized message going out to the sender of the email assuring him that you have received their message. Sounds easy right, but it cannot be taken lightly. Again the importance of content and communication cannot be overemphasized here. If your newsletter is feeding the right information to your subscriber base then you have a positive relationship with your prospects. This relationship sooner or later will reward you with handsome ROI. Same goes for autoresponders if the message is right then the prospect will always remember you.
Hence think before you write is the key element here.
Role of Analytics?
Business and communication is nothing but an artistic number game. Every modern email marketing package comes equipped with a power analytics and segmentation program. What that means is, you would know what your emails are doing to your prospects. CTR or the click-through rate is one of the metrics that you should keep a sharp eye on. It shows how many people actually read your message. There are many other informative indicators available on the dashboard. It makes perfect sense to spend time learning what they mean. Being an online marketing expert is all about crunching those numbers and converting them into money. Hence you should know what’s not working for your bottom line, and you should also know how to change that quickly. Segmentation is the process of dividing your targets on preset parameters, and this can be done on basis of age, demography, interest and many other criteria. If done properly the end result is always a better bottom line.
As an endnote, we are also letting you know of the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing.
Advantages of Email Marketing
The biggest advantage with email marketing is that return on investments can be calculated quickly and with a high degree of precision. This actually is true for every kind of digital marketing tool, however, in case of direct communication, this is even more relevant.
An added advantage is the ability to track the behavioral patterns of the recipients. For example, in case of email marketing, we can actually know whether the TA actually liked the title of our email, content, graphics or any other attribute. Did he even bother to open the email or did he just deleted it without even giving it a proper chance? This helps greatly in calibrating the future campaigns.
Email campaigns are also the cheapest form of digital marketing. Although the rate of response might be debatable still it triumphs because of its extremely low marketing effort investments.
Direct email marketing campaigns have also been known to generate higher conversions. It is also a great tool to keep the conversation with the customers alive.
Disadvantages of Email Marketing
The biggest issue with engaging emails as a marketing tool is the deliverability of the message. Malpractice like spamming has led to the creation of some very sophisticated email filters cropping up in the market. These email filters have very stringent rules when it comes to delivery of emails. This creates a content creation challenge for the email marketers. Now the content of the email has to meet multiple filter guidelines to reach the TA. Hence more time needs to be invested and it has to be ensured that the content is relevant.
To summarize our topic, we would say for an email campaign to be effective, the content of the communication has to be bang on the target. There is absolutely no space for any sort of malpractice in case of email marketing. It’s a great marketing tool only if you adhere to the best practices and the basics of the discipline as mentioned above in the article.
Hope you liked our little effort of knowledge dissemination. Stay tuned for some more great write-ups.