With all of the new and emerging ways to get in touch with someone, it is easy to forget how valuable a simple email can be. Email marketing has become big business in recent years due to its ability to enhance the merchant/customer relationship and encourage repeat business.
When compared with other marketing channels, email tops the list in regards to return on investment, rivaled only by search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic. With monthly newsletters, reminders about sales, and so on, an email marketing campaign continually reminds your customers that you are there — anxiously awaiting the opportunity to help them.
Why Email Marketing?
It is important to understand that throughout the day, there are literally hundreds of other stimuli competing for your customer’s attention. Your customer is sitting at the computer delving into your product or service on your website when suddenly, something (be it the TV, kids, or a burning dinner) pulls them away. Life has now completely consumed their attention, and along with it, the potential business to your company.
However, if in those vital first few minutes of visiting your site they were asked to sign up for your newsletter, you have managed to get a grip on them and obtain something of great significance: an email address. Upon signing up, they will now receive your weekly, biweekly, or monthly alerts via email. With proper care and maintenance of your email database, this resource has the opportunity of becoming your company’s most valuable asset.
But an email database is only an asset, if you execute a successful campaign. To help you accomplish this, we’ve assembled a list of email marketing best practices.
Before starting your campaign, it is vital that your recipient list follows certain guidelines. The first and most important guideline to follow is to ensure that your list contains ONLY those who have “opted-in” to receive your email. The term “opted- in” refers to those who have given you permission to send them emails by signing up on your website. Specifically, they have given you their email address after purchasing a product or attending an event, or have opted in offline. As long as the individual gave you their permission, it is okay to add them to your list.
Above “opt-in” is “double opt-in”. Using a single “opt-in” makes your list vulnerable to prank submissions, typos, and spambots. Adding this feature to your email campaigns is simple. After a recipient signs up for your email through your website, they will receive an email with a confirmation link. By clicking the confirmation link, they have “double opted-in” to receive your emails. You now have not one, but two times the permission from your recipient. You can also save the IP address, date, and time that they registered should you ever receive a false report in the future.
A list that has been purchased from a 3rd party does not apply to this guideline. You should NEVER purchase an email list. The addresses on a purchased list from a 3rd party did not give their permission to have their information resold to you.
Because everyone is different, it is very beneficial to segment your customers into distinct groups and tailor the message they’ll receive in their email. If your database contains other demographic information, it can be broken down based on customer age, past purchase history, or stage in the buying process. Once broken down into separate groups, you can then customize the email to their specific needs. For example, a financial services company made serve the needs of college students and retirees, however the retiree probably doesn’t care about student loan financing, nor does the college student care about retirement planning.
Market to the Individual
Using different techniques to market to an individual consumer can have a very favorable outcome when it comes to email marketing
Add a Personal Touch
You would be surprised at the impact that a personal touch can have on an email’s effectiveness. Simply by adding a name in the subject line, you may greatly increase the likelihood of that person opening your email. This small addition can make someone feel appreciated, valued, and more likely to return for repeat business.
Businesses who sell online and maintain a robust customer database should consider implementing a collaborative filtering algorithm into their email campaign. Collaborative filtering allows businesses to create customized emails down to the individual based on that individual’s past purchases.
For instance, if a customer purchases a dog bed, a collaborative filtering algorithm may suggest other pet care related items in the next email that customer receives. The customer will now continue to see various suggestions of other products or services based on their previous buying habits. If you want to see this in action, sign up for Amazon’s newsletters. They take collaborative filtering to an all new meaning.
When done the right way, email marketing can have a dramatic effect on your business. Because of its ease of use, and cost efficient manner, all of the pre-mentioned tactics can take your business to new heights.