At its core, Email Marketing is a tool for customer relationship management (CRM).
Its Purpose: To build virtual relationships with existing and potential customers.
Its Benefit: Maximise the retention and value of these customers, which should ultimately lead to greater profitability.
What is Email Marketing?
Simply put, Email Marketing is a form of direct marketing which utilises electronic means to deliver commercial messages to an audience. It is one of the oldest and yet still one of the most powerful of all eMarketing tactics. The power comes from the fact that it is:
- extremely cost effective and has a low cost per contact
- highly targeted
- completely measurable
Email Marketing's main strength is that it takes advantage of a customer's most prolific touch point with the Internet… their inbox.
Although spam mail has done a great deal to discredit the Email Marketing industry, the benefits are still apparent and substantiated by the fact that in February, 2006, a JupiterResearch report concluded that spending on Email Marketing will rise from $885 million in 2005 to $1.1 billion in 2010.
Email Marketing - A Step By Step Guide
A successful email campaign requires careful attention - from planning to execution and evaluation of the campaign. There are certain best practices and steps to follow which will ensure the success of an email campaign:
Step 1 - Strategic Planning
The first part of any email campaign should involve planning around the goals you will need to achieve.
There are roughly 2 types of commercial emails you can send:
- Promotional emails are more direct and are geared at enticing the user to take action through purchase or sign up
- Retention based emails usually take the form of a newsletter and may include promotional messages but ultimately should contain information of value to create a long term relationship with the reader
A successful email campaign is most likely to be the one geared at retaining and creating a long term relationship with the reader.
Step 2 - List Building and Management
Running a successful email campaign requires that your business has a genuine opt-in database. This means that you need to have the user's permission to communicate with them or you risk having your mail regarded as spam or unsolicited (bulk) email.
Emails regarded as spam can have dire consequences for your organisation as not only will your reputation be in jeopardy, but legal action may be pursued in many parts of the world.
An effective, best practice Email Marketing campaign requires an in-house list cultivated over time. This list should contain people who are prospects, customers or potential evangelists of your business, who have explicitly given their permission to hear from you. You can use the website and subscription campaigns as well as the newsletter itself (e.g. send to a friend function) to build lists. An equally important feature is the unsubscribe function. A reader needs to know how they can easily opt-out of your email communication should they need to.
Other Articles in the digital marketing 101 series:
- What is eMarketing and how is it better than traditional marketing?
- The Arrows in the eMarketer's quiver
- Blogging - Everyone else is doing it, so why can't I?
- A focus on natural search (beginner's guide to SEO)
- A Case Study - SEO in action
- PPC - you gets what you pays for
- A Case Study - PPC to the rescue
- Email Marketing - No not spam
- Affiliate Marketing - because we all need friends
- WebPR and ORM - blah blah blah conversations
- A Case Study - ORM: Keeping Your Ears to the Ground
- Viral Marketing - linkerbation is a normal, natural thing. Perfectly natural
- Online Advertising - Throwing a Banner into the Works
- Conversion Optimisation - Are You Closing the Deal?
- A Case Study - 2010 : Can the SA Tourism Industry Meet Online Expectations?