Effective Email Marketing

Using an effective email marketing campaign is a cost effective way to introduce new products, a sale on overstocks, to remind old customers that the business still exists and to mine the depths and shake the trees for new customers. This method of advertising uses what now is fast becoming the most accepted way of communication, even overtaking the traditional snail mail. The advantages of Internet mail are quite striking: the cost, the speed and the ability to know if the mail has been read. A business wanting to mount an effective email marketing campaign can take advantage of all three of those Internet mail strengths. One of the most pleasing prayers anyone can ever speak to God is the words of David when he said, "Search me, O God and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23, 24)

Imagine a company that has just created a new line of copiers that need to be publicized. A direct mail campaign is already in the works as well as some key business magazine exposure. The company has a limited marketing budget and is seeking as much information about an effective email marketing campaign as possible. The strategy is the actually alert potential customers about the direct mail and the magazine ads through Internet mail. The question then becomes how to best put a campaign together that will be effective and profitable.

In order to avoid having the campaign end up as spam for a security program to block, the company understood that the plan had to rest on an already compiled invitation list. The company had been sending a monthly email newsletter to willing customers for three years. The newsletter covered such things as trends in office technology, tips for cutting office supply costs and articles of interest for small businesses. The mailing list for the newsletter was built slowly, asking for permission to send the monthly offering by obtaining names and Internet mail addresses. This allowed the hope for an effective email marketing campaign to have credibility and not be blocked or filtered.

The company had to decide whether to use marketing software to keep track of the results of the campaign or use an Internet mail marketing service. The initial cost of the software was based on the size of the mailing list and enabled the company's marketing department to design the entire presentation without outside help. This enabled the company to choose a software package that could be used again and again in future campaigns. The question now was whether it would be an effective email marketing campaign. Research into the quirks and oddities of Internet mailing would help mitigate a high failure rate.

Effective email marketing research showed that the best days to send out a campaign were all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning. This underscored the thought that by the time Wednesday rolled around, many customers were already thinking about the weekend and the chances of mail being opened after two pm on Wednesday were slimmer than before that time. Two pm seemed to represent eastern coast customers getting back from lunch and taking a look at Internet mail arrivals and west coast customers opening emails before lunch. The decision was made to send out the campaign on a Tuesday morning by nine am Eastern Time and then the attention was turned the content. Research was again used to find out that text emails were more closely read than HTML marketing messages. Additionally, emails that have a person's name in the recipient box are also a huge deciding factor in whether an email is opened up. For this copier company's campaign, the first name was chosen with a greeting.

Further research revealed to the company's marketers that a dull and uninspiring subject will risk a delete three out of four times. The subject box heading was created to grab the attention and raise the curiosity of the readers. In this case was the subject: "World's smartest copier just unveiled." But just as important is the preview pane which most email viewers have turned on. Effective email marketing study told the company's marketers that the first portion of the email message must be a grabber. The copy must grab the attention and hold it, so a description of the copier's unique features filled the first five lines of the email.

Perhaps the most unique factor in an effective email marketing campaign may be the follow up tracking of the campaign's effectiveness. This is, by far, the biggest strength of the Internet driven marketing campaign. Having the resources to follow and observe every action taken on one's email campaign from opening, to every click to every delete to every recycle action can be eye-opening for the company initiating the campaign. If a company hires an outside agency to run its Internet mail campaign, then that agency will record all of the results and be able to interpret all the findings in a way that the company can use for later marketing efforts. If a company desires to do the entire process in house, than especially designed software that will track these same results is available for purchase from online developers. Making sense of every trend, every action or non-action will certainly dictate how the next Internet mail campaign is conducted. If the results are not favorable, then a new strategy may have to be developed, such as strengthening the online relationship the company has with existing customers. An examination of the strength of the newsletter email list may also have to be completed.

Business Email Marketing

A business email marketing strategy can be an amazingly effective way to exceed specific objectives, a complete waste of time and money, or somewhere along the spectrum between those two extremes. The key to positive results is to have a clear understanding of how emailing contacts on a list integrates into the company's larger marketing plan. After all, email itself is only a communication tool. There is nothing magic, or even wise, about emailing overblown hype about one's products or services to a million people on an indiscriminate distribution list. Companies often spend a great deal of time and effort creating a brand for themselves and their products and services. They research the demographics of the target market and develop strategies designed to increase name recognition and feelings of goodwill. Advertising dollars may be spent on print media, such as ads in newspapers and magazines, and also for television and radio commercials. The business email marketing strategy is another option that, depending on the size and nature of the particular company, can be used in conjunction with other advertising tools. The market emails, though much less expensive, should be as carefully planned and designed as a print advertisement or a commercial would be. Because it's so cheap and easy (relatively speaking) to send out mass emails, it can be tempting to write up some fast copy, add snazzy graphics, and hit the send button. But this approach is almost guaranteed to result in irritated recipients who then have a poor impression about the particular company.

Once the overall promotional plan, based on relevant research into the demographics of the target consumer, is established, the marketing department can break down the plan into goals and objectives. Before creating specific ad copy, the professionals need to ask themselves the purpose of the business email marketing campaign. Some questions that may be considered include: Is the message designed to provide additional information on a product or service to a prospective customer? Should the message motivate the reader to take some type of action? Will the message be sent only to previous customers, perhaps providing them an incentive to make an additional purchase or to refer the company to friends and relatives? Both the message and the distribution list of recipients have to be connected to a specific objective for the business email marketing campaign to be effective and to have a positive outcome. For example, let's say an online store sells stationery and related products. Through a carefully crafted market campaign, the site has developed a distribution list of people who have made past purchases. During a sales slump, the store's managers create a carefully worded and tastefully designed "preferred customer" message that includes a ten percent savings on all orders placed within the next two weeks. Because this email message is being distributed to people who have made successful purchases from the store's website before, it will likely prove more effective than a similar message being sent to greater numbers of people who may or may not ever buy stationery.

One thing that all marketers should know is that consumers hate spam. They don't want indiscriminate messages popping up in their inboxes. Of course, some industries don't care. Because of the very nature of the email message, these lowlifes make money if even a very small percentage of recipients respond to the ad. For them, business email marketing isn't a strategy, but a numbers game. The Old Testament writer said: "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness" (Proverbs 30:5, 12). Consumers respond by setting spam filters to keep the junk from getting through to the inbox. The best way to respond to spam that gets through the filters is to simply hit the delete button. Experts warn against responding to any such emails because that only verifies that recipient's email address is legitimate. The recipient may find his address then being sold to other similar spamming lists.

A business email marketing campaign can legitimately build a contact list that doesn't include current customers. The company can include information on its website that encourages viewers to provide contact information. For example, the site may offer a coupon or a how-to ebook in exchange for the contact information. Perhaps site visitors will provide the information in order to participate in an online opinion poll or survey. From a marketing standpoint, these people are potential customers because they have visited the website. This indicates an interest in the products or services even if a purchase isn't made at that time. Retail locations have another source for getting email addresses. Customers to the physical store are often asked to sign up for emails that give advance notice of special sales or perhaps a monthly newsletter. This kind of business email marketing distribution list takes more time to build than simply buying one, but the recipients are also more likely to respond positively to the emails they receive than those on the bought list. Many software applications have been created to help organize and distribute advertising messages. One great feature allows the company to customize the message which helps to take away the spam stigma. With appropriate software, a company can track the effectiveness of different messages and even test special offers. Knowing which ads were successful in reaching the stated objective (and which ones were not) can help when it comes to planning future business email marketing strategies.

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