This page will explain what email marketing is in all of its different forms and the ways in which people typically use it. It will also provide evidence and reasoning as to why email marketing is important and how it can benefit you to utilize it. Lastly, this page will offer suggestions on getting started with your very own email marketing campaign, including programs that help with it and ideas on the content that would be beneficial to include.
What is Email Marketing?
In its broadest sense, email marketing is an umbrella term that is used to refer to any kinds of emails being sent by a company or individual that is intended to establish or maintain a professional relationship or at the very least open up opportunities for further communication. Usually when email marketing is mentioned, however, it is referring to:
- Sending emails with the intent of enhancing already existing professional relationships in hope of encouraging customers to continue doing business with the company
- Sending emails to potential clients or customers with the intent of giving them a reason (or reasons hopefully) as to why it would be beneficial to begin doing business with the company
- Including advertisements in the emails of OTHER companies that are being sent to their current customers
Usually these emails are sent out en masse to quite a few people, so building a list of recipients is a crucial step in launching an email marketing campaign. This is most commonly done through creating a newsletter sign up page where people can opt in to receive your emails. This is the most common because it effectively eliminates the one downside of traditional email marketing; which is the risk of having your emails flagged as spam or ignored altogether.
Why is Using an Email Marketing Program Useful?
Using Your Regular Email is Detrimental- Don't use your business or personal email to send out mass-emails or email marketing messages! You run the risk of all of your emails being sent to recipients' spam folders or even worse, permanent blocking of all of your @yourdomain.com emails. Email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc , use a long list of requirements to determine if mass emails are spam or not, one of those items is the use of BCC filed. You obviously want to keep your contacts a secret (it would be bad to just CC everyone), but this is a clear sign that you may be a spammer. When using a Email Marketing Program, all your contacts are hidden your email address will not be blocked permanently as spam.
- Cost Effective- The cost vs. benefit involved in email marketing is staggering when compared to other forms of advertising. Running a marketing campaign that involves printed ads or other kinds of media can cost thousands of dollars and cater to a very broad audience. Engaging in email marketing costs almost nothing in comparison, usually just a small fee to get set up with one of the many useful email blast programs (Examples of these programs will be provided in the next section). Not only that- but they will be much more targeted as well, meaning you can contact only the people you already know are interested in what you have to say.
- It Can be Tracked- One of the biggest downsides of traditional marketing is that there is really no way to successfully track the success of your campaigns. If you run a television ad there's no way for you to find out exactly how many people saw it, how many changed the channel, or who even paid attention. With email marketing, there is all kinds of data you can track that will help you run more effective email marketing strategies, and even see how your current ones are doing. You can easily see how many people open the email, how many people click links you have provided, and the amount of conversions that were a direct result of the email. You can also see how many people unsubscribed or marked the email as spam, giving you direct insight on ways to improve future efforts.
- Speedy Results- Possibly the biggest difference between email marketing and other forms of marketing is the immediate results you get from emailing people. You don't have to wait for an ad to show, or wait for your message to reach an audience. Once you have gathered the content to be sent out, all it takes is a click of the mouse and your email will be sent to everyone on your mailing list. It's not guaranteed that they will open it, but the fact remains that your message is almost instantly received.
- Emails can be Automated- With an email marketing program it is exceedingly easy to schedule emails weeks, or even months in advance. This is incredibly useful for a few reasons. If you are feeling ambitious, you can take a day to sit down and gather all the content to be included in your next 5 newsletters and set up dates for distribution. That way you will have automated marketing for the next couple of months with zero hassle. It is also useful for holidays or seasonal promotions your company is running. For example, if your company has a sale every year around Christmas, you can put together the email months in advance and schedule it to be sent out at a specific date and time.
Starting an email Campaign
Now that you have been thoroughly convinced that email marketing is a must, you probably want to get started right away and send out emails to everyone you can. But hold on a minute; take some time to look at some "best practices" for email marketing, followed by a few programs that are designed to assist you in your email endeavors:
- Send emails only to those who have requested or agreed to receive them. Don't get flagged as the dreaded SPAM! Learn how to export your subscribers from your WSM Site.
- Only include content that is relevant to the type of emails those people signed up to receive.
- Be consistent! It doesn't matter if you're sending weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly emails- just stick to a schedule. That way people know when to expect an email from you.
- Adhere to the best times for sending emails. Studies have shown that for business to business emails it's best to send them Tuesday-Thursday at around either 9:30am or 1:30pm. For business to consumer emails, between 5pm and 8pm is optimal. And make sure you're adjusting your send schedule for people in different time zones!
- Use a proper subject line. Make it clear what the email is going to be, and avoid excess capital letters or exclamation points. These are things that may lead to the email being flagged as spam.
- Include a plain text version of the email. Most email programs will detect whether or not the user can view HTML messages and adjust accordingly, but not including plain text means that a small percentage of recipients may not be able to see anything at all.
Here are a few programs to look at for getting started with email marketing: