E-mail marketing is an online marketing technique that uses e-mail to send advertisements or commercial information. This is a communication tool used to attract new customers or retain current ones. In a business environment which is ever-changing, e-mail has been one of the Web tools that have stood the test of time, both in content and in scope and penetration. Therefore, e-mail marketing is one of the main tools in a digital marketing strategy. At present, e-mail is the first Internet service ahead of social media. There are over 4 billion email accounts worldwide with an average of 205 billion emails sent daily and 74 trillion sent yearly!
The most common form of e-mail marketing is the newsletter: a publication that is distributed with a specific periodicity on an interesting topic for all recipients, called subscribers.
The complexity level of a newsletter shall depend on its goals and content; they can be simple with mainly plain text as the predominant feature or be enriched with images, graphs, adverts and/or hyperlinks.
The objectives can be multiple and varied; however, all of them could be grouped around four main goals:
• Diverting traffic to our website: be it the home page or any special section inside it.
• Promoting a special action: either promotion of new services, special discounts, sales, download of applications, etc. When the goal is to increase traffic or some Web-based special promotion, specific websites are usually created. Such pages are called landing pages.
• Cost savings: e-mail marketing supports order management and information to the customer regarding the status of such orders, as well as the provision of customer support services at a lower cost than other communication channels.
• Brand popularity and image: the same as for other types of campaigns online, e-mail marketing is suited to generate popularity and brand image among consumers.
The Heart of E-mail Marketing:
The success of a marketing campaign lies precisely in target management; therefore, a good strategy to attract and retain subscribers is needed. The recipient database must be meticulously kept and segmented. The essential question here is quality over quantity; therefore, purchasing user databases is discouraged—unless this is unavoidable, or unless their usefulness has been proven.
Best practices in e-mail marketing stress the need to generate and maintain the organisation’s own database. The reason is simple: it is easier to get back a client than to get a new one. Getting subscribers is a slow but steady task, although it can be sped up through online and traditional channels. Registration boxes can be created on a website, either as pop-ups or in another Web section where registration is required to request information (e.g. a budget) or in exchange for exclusive content or downloads.
Generally, easy forms must be used, where the compulsory fields include the name and/or e-mail, although the number of fields in the form may be increased depending on the value of the treat one is offering the user in exchange for their registration.
Another common instance is e-commerce. When a user registers on a particular online shop and accepts the use and service terms, they are automatically included in the e-mail marketing database. Regarding traditional channels, the compilation of e-mails and information related to the users can be done through competitions, on-street promotion, postcards, loyalty cards or formal information requests through e-mail, phone or postal mail. Traditional channels demand, however, the digitalization of the data to be included in a subscriber list.
Keeping subscribers is a task that needs special attention and that must be implemented while new users are added. In this process, brands must be especially careful regarding content and the form e-mail communications take. Content must be interesting for the user, giving priority to quality instead of periodicity. In a nutshell, it is about adding value to commercial communications with complementary information (comparisons, advice, features, etc.) useful for the consumer.
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