What is … email marketing?

May 24th, 2017

Marketing today is a real science and getting it right can be the difference between success and failure for a business. With that in mind we thought it would be beneficial to look at one of the most commonly used and effective methods of communicating. Email marketing.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is perhaps the single most important method of communication that any business operating in the digital sector can have. It is a proven way of not only building trust in a brand but staying in touch and leading potential or current customers back to your website.

The beauty of an email marketing campaign is that you can communicate a vast amount of information to a targeted, engaged audience in an instant. You can place a variety of resources, information, messages, images and links and in truth can offer something for everybody in the same message.

Personalising your messages offers the chance to boost click through rates and visitors become leads and many eventually find their way further along the buyer’s cycle to become converted leads.

Over half of all internet users check or send email on a typical day

Marketing Insights

It an essential tool for business, and has been ever since the introduction of the Internet.  According to Crossware, in its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:

  • Sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.
  • Adding advertisements to emails sent by other companies to their customers.

What makes the best email?

According to Dave Chaffey from Marketing Insights all email should be ‘CRITICALthat is, they should be Creative, Relevant, Incentivised, Timed, Integrated, Copy written, Attributed and Lead to a landing page. Having full automation over you campaigns and following the below rules offer huge increases in conversions.

Email and inbound marketing proven to increase leads

Creative – This refers to the overall design of the email (layout/images/colour). Specifically, it is a good idea to ask each customer whether they would like the emails in text or HTML as there is often a great preference for one over the other.

Relevant –Make your emails relevant and personalise them to each recipient. Doing this could cause the response and conversion rates to rise.

Incentivised – Recipients look at emails and ask themselves if it is worth opening. Offer them something to encourage them to open, such as a gift or a downloadable asset and they will be more likely to respond.

Timed – Make sure that your email is well timed and that it is hitting their inbox at the peak of their likeliness to engage. Don’t send them it overnight and learn from previous open rates to target certain times, days and months.

Integrated – According to Chaffey, companies cannot just rely on one method of marketing, nor can they rely on several methods of differentiated marketing. Instead, best marketing practices utilise integrated marketing communication where all aspects of their promotion work together to create a whole.

Email marketing must be including here, therefore your emails must carry the same image and message as your entire operations. Even the timing of the campaign must work in with other aspects of your marketing mix.

Copy – When considering the copywriting for your email you must consider all aspects of the language, from subject line through to your mail signature. With emails, not all links should be saved for the last sentence, pop them in early to grab impulsive customers.

Attributed – Personalise and attribute your email including the subject line, from address, to address, date/time of receipt and format. Testing your campaigns can rule out the attributes that customers consider spam and highlighting those that will work best for future emails.

Lead to landing page – Turning emails into sales conversions is a skill. Don’t just link your customers to your home page; show them exactly where you want them to go and make it quick and easy to complete transactions, forms and sales.

What are the benefits of email marketing?

As we have previously alluded to there are a whole host of benefits to conducting an email marketing campaign, and the results that a business can achieve are enormous. Some of the main benefits to running email marketing are:

  • Low cost – It goes without saying that the cost of email is far lower than other forms of marketing and that the use of mainstream marketing can see bills rack up.

The cost of printing and distributing materials as well as booking slots on television of radio can be high as can the cost of designing and placing adverts.

The beauty of email is that if they are optimised correctly and the links are all in place you can take the user straight to your website or chosen landing page.

  • Targeting – Emails are one of the only forms of marketing that users choose to receive. By opting into or registering their interest they have often asked you to directly contact them about future products, services or to offer the latest news.

This level of engagement with your audience often leads to higher rates of engagement and conversion.

By building your brand and using your emails to promote positivity and trust around your business you are more likely to see the returns that you envisaged in the strategy phase of your marketing planning.

A word of warning however, is that too many unsolicited emails, where you are targeting a large number of unengaged users can appear ‘spammy’ and can lead to unsubscribes or your reputation being tarnished.

Email and inbound marketing conversion funnel

  • Tracking – Another of the main benefits of an email marketing campaign is that they are linked to analytics and automation platforms. This means you can track exactly what is working with them and what isn’t.

You can conduct your own in-house testing and see they types of products are selling, the headlines that are encouraging a higher open rate, the links that are being clicked and the calls to action that are resonating with a particular contact list.

The information that you gain here can tell you exactly what you need to know about your audience and the language or products that resonate with them. In essence no email will be the same, unlike some traditional forms of communication and advertising, which gives you the creative freedom to chase every lead.

  • Shareability – Subscribers can forward brilliant deals and offers to their friends at the click of a button. There aren’t many other types of marketing that can be shared as easily as this. Before you know it, subscribers could become brand evangelists; focused on introducing your business to a new market.

What other marketing platform lets you instantly send a message to thousands of people across the world? Sure, social media can help you spread the word amongst a global audience – but there’s no telling who’s actually reading your content.

Alternatively, you can always get hyper local using one of the other ten benefits – segmentation. More and more we see brands cleverly utilising this tactic, and social proof has become a huge influence for online selling in recent years.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, it is estimated that email marketing typically returns £40 for every £1 invested and a number of sources have suggested that this is better than any other platform.

Exact return on investment can be tracked and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.

When you take into account, the points made above, it’s easy to see why. Perhaps it’s time for your business to start taking this marketing platform more seriously.

  • Audience segmentation – This is something that we have talked a lot about recently and is one of the most important things when it comes to an email marketing campaign.  In an ideal world businesses would pay to only advertise and communicate with those that are fully commitment to the brand, engaged with the company and in truth real customers.

This obviously isn’t the case, yet all hope is not lost. Segmentation gives a business the opportunity to contact those who have previously engaged, shown an interest in a particular product or topic, who lives in a certain area or who have met a certain criteria.

  • Easy to create – Emails are so easy to create thanks to the tools that are now available and businesses can either create custom templates or make changes to existing ones depending on the content that they want to release.

Plain text email with well written content can be highly successful but with just a few small tweaks it’s possible to add images, videos, GIFs and logos. You can alter the colours to match your branding and each email can vary depending on the product, offer, service or message.

  • ROI – In the business world, results are arguably all that matters. With this in mind, the main reason that most businesses invest in email marketing is the fantastic return on investment.

Exact return on investment can be tracked and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.

When you take into account, the points made above, it’s easy to see why. Perhaps it’s time for your business to start taking this marketing platform more seriously.

Find out more about our inbound marketing solutions.

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