Currently, email marketing is a very powerful and effective tool in any digital marketing campaign. Though many people thought that this would decline with the advent of social networks, this has not happened and instead email marketing has proven to be stronger than ever.
Do you know that 92% of internet users prefer email over offline media to get information about specific products? (Econsultancy, 2013). For businesses, email marketing is an easy and inexpensive way to communicate with your customers and prospects on a personal level, but always remember that it is necessary to get permission from them before you approach them.
This is important because when they check their inbox and recognize that it is an email from a company or service that they have signed up to, the chances that they open it will be much higher than if the e-mail has come from an unknown sender.
The subject line is vital to attract users’ attention you have to think about this carefully as it will determine if a user will open or delete your email. For example, it is recommended to use the brand name as a way to ensure that the reader will recognize and read it quickly.
Another important aspect to consider is the email message it must be relevant, simple, effective and customised. If the email has pictures, these should be coherent with the subject line and complement the message.
The call to action should be clear and stated in the message, it means what we want the user to do or think in response to the email. For this, the design plays an important role because the user will see the email via the preview pane, so it is important to ensure that the main information and company logo being read.
According to Ryan & Jones (2012, p.140) “when working on your email design think in terms of above the fold: just as with a newspaper folded in half, the top of your email should capture the recipient’s attention immediately and encourage them to read on”.
Avoid the spam filters by not using capital letters or words like “free” and “money back”, as otherwise your email may be regarded as being ‘junk email’. Also, do not forget to include the option to “unsubscribe” in an easy way.
Regarding the frequency of the emails you send out, Ryan & Jones (2012) suggest that people do not want to receive emails frequently and, in order to find out when is the best time and frequency to send these emails, you have to monitor and analyse the results of the campaign. You can read more about this subject here: What is the best time to send an email campaign? by Dave Chaffey.
On the other hand, email marketing enables you to test the emails and check which ones are working well or poorly. Also, you can monitor the open rates and click-through rates and if is necessary make changes to improve it.
Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick (2012) suggest that there are many advantages of email marketing, such as:
- Cost – email is cheaper than direct mail.
- It is a push media because encourages clicks to a website and increases an impulsive response.
- Time taken to produce an email campaign is shorter than traditional media.
- Customising an email is easier and cheaper than physical media or website.
- Emails can be tested easily.
- Email marketing can be integrated with other media, for example with direct mail.
I would like to share some email marketing examples in the UK that have landed in my inbox in the past few days:
Radio City e-mail
In this e-mail you can properly identify the sender (Radio City) and the brands Radio City and Liverpool One, and the subject line is clear and defined. All these features mentioned will give confidence to the user who can decide to open and read the email.
I joined the bank’s Rewards program, so I was expecting these kinds of e-mails. The sender and the subject allowed me to identify clearly that it is an e-mail from the bank and its Rewards program.
Last week, I was finding out the price of printing business cards and for this purpose I made a purchase simulation on Vistaprint site. After some days, they send me an email to remind me that I have some items in the shopping basket. This is an example of a correct approach to the client.
I’m subscribed to this list of events. Note that the subject line lets us know the names of the artists they are promoting. Furthermore, in the message body are shown in attractive social tabs.
Debenhams promote their offer of the week and also they give greater incentives and value for their email subscribers by offering free delivery for beauty club members.
Dorothy Perkins, TK Maxx and Poundland emails never reached my inbox because they were considered to be spam by Microsoft. They are probably using words that are filtered as spam, for example the sender firstname.lastname@example.org and capital letters in the subject line NEW, WIN.
All these examples show different ways to approach our audience and how email marketing continues to be a powerful tool to generate and increase sales and customer loyalty.
I would like to recommend these books and sites that I read to discover more about email marketing:
Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2012). Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Harlow: Pearson Education.
Ryan, D. and Jones, C. (2012) Understanding Digital Marketing. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.
Smart Insights. (2014) Email marketing [online]. Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/email-marketing/. [Accessed 7th November, 2014]
What do you think of these examples of email marketing and how do you think they could be improved?. Please share your opinion.