Email Marketing, an Introduction

Using email as a marketing tool is extremely powerful. You can deliver your marketing message direct to the customer. You can personalise the message with relevant information, your latest special offers and calls to action that can lead to increased visits to your website and therefore increased sales and services.

The use of email for marketing may seem daunting but if you follow a few simple rules it can be a very powerful tool.

Don’t Spam
The most important thing to stress about email marketing is not to send emails to people who have not requested them. Do not confuse email marketing with spam. Email spam is the junk email you receive in your inbox on a daily basis and is not only a source of frustration and a huge waste of time. It is also illegal and could land you in court.

Build a List
To perform email marketing well you need to build a list of email address of people interested in your products, services and information. To do this successfully you need a place on the homepage of your website were visitors can sign up for the newsletter. If you run an e-commerce site you can include an opt in for the email newsletter as part of the sale process. You can also collect email address of offline customers and include an opt in for your newsletter as part of any registration process.

As part of your list building work you need to include a clear privacy policy and a clear and easy method for people to unsubscribe for the list if they want to.

Provide useful informative content
Once you have built the list you can then start to think about creating your first email newsletter. There are software packages than make the creation of smart professional looking email newsletter relatively easy. However the most beautiful looking newsletter is only as strong as the content.

You need to be offering something unique, informative, targeted and useful. If you have nothing to offer the recipient of the email then the whole process is a waste of time. The content of the email will depend on the nature of your business but by providing information on special offers, discounts and limited sales you will be providing something of use for customer.

If you run a restaurant and your sign up process includes the entering of a date of birth then sending a special offer for the customers birthday is a very personalised and attractive way to gain a their attention.

Make sure it’s joined up
Once you have the email list and the content of the email newsletter you need to double check that everything is working and that the newsletter is sending customers to the right parts of the website. You don’t want the customers to arrive at the home page if your special offer is buried within the website. Links to the individual product pages of the website are a powerful tool.

You can create bespoke landing pages for sections different sections of the newsletter that provide highly targeted content with a clear call to action. You need to double check that all the links work before sending the emails out.

Measure, tweak and repeat
The great thing about email marketing is that you can measure the success of the campaign. Many of the email marketing products on the market come with great analytics packages but you can also track the effectiveness of the campaign in standard analytics packages such as Google Analytics.

There are various metric to measure the success but you should be looking at the following. The open rate, this is how many of those email are getting opened. The click through rate or CTR this is how many of the opened emails have resulted in a click through to the website. The conversion rate, this metric looks at how many of the clicks result in a direct sale or sales lead. The final metric is the unsubscribe rate. If you are getting a high number of people unsubscribing this would suggest a major issue with the content of the newsletter.

Once you have gathered the data on the newsletter you need to review it. Which sections resulted in the best click through rates, which sections of the newsletter had the best conversion rate? You then need to tweak the underperforming areas and repeat the process. You will soon start to learn what works with your client base and this will allow you to produce powerful email marketing campaigns.