According to experts, email marketing is the term used to describe a form of direct marketing that uses email in order to communicate a commercial or fundraising message to an audience. More specifically, the term can be used to describe:
- Sending out direct promotional emails in an effort to acquire new customers or persuade existing customers to buy a product or service again
- Distributing emails designed to encourage customer loyalty as well as enhance the customer relationship
- Inputting your company or business’s marketing messages or advertisements into emails sent by other people.
The History Behind Email Marketing
Until the 1990’s, business to consumer marketing mostly took place using the mail or the telephone; methods that were also pricy. However, the birth of the Internet and email allowed marketers a new quick and cost efficient way to reach consumers.
Once that took place, the email-marketing trend quickly developed and by 2004 companies such as AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo began to give recipient feedback. This feedback allowed marketers to see what their target audience thought of their emails as well as gave them the ability to use spam complaints as a metric. Soon measures such as Windows Live Sender Reputation Data, which permitted users to vote on whether an email was spam or not, were implemented. These then forced marketers to change their strategies in order to avoid ending up on their recipient’s blacklist or in their junk folder.
Email marketing has continued to evolve with the emergence of the smart phone and social media, as now companies and businesses could reach and access their target audience across a variety of platforms and consumers started to expect more. Today, automated systems have led to a further decrease in the traditional newsletter approach as they allow for marketers to focus on the specific needs and wants of each specific individual.
What Effective Email Marketing Can Do For You
When implemented correctly, email marketing can have a substantial positive impact on a company or business. For example, the following are some of the key advantages effective email marketing can have:
- The ability to track an exact return on investment, which has proven to be high when done correctly
- The ability to target specific customers and those that have opted in to receive emails on subjects they are interested in
- High visibility as over 50 percent of all internet users check and send email on a typical day
- An increase in brand awareness
- The capability of sharing easily
- Generally cheaper than other forms of advertising
Simply put, though many often overlook it, email marketing is a targetable and shareable tool that can be essential in establishing the important customer to business relationships your business needs.
How to Implement Effective Email Marketing
Just as there would be with any other marketing effort, you must have a plan of attack before you jump head first into your email marketing campaign. If you don’t have an action plan, the chances are high that your email will end up in someone’s spam folder. Here are some key strategies that can help your business succeed in the world of email marketing:
- Be Creative: Your target audience will be more likely to send an email to their spam folder if it is dull so try and make your email stand out.
- Stay Relevant: Most likely, your email isn’t meant for just everyone. As such, your emails should contain relative content specifically tailored to your target audience. If it is relevant to the recipient they are more likely to open it.
- Think About Your Timing: It will not be effective to send out an email that the recipients will receive at inopportune times such as overnight or on the weekends or holidays when a lot of spam is sent. There is no set day or time that will work for each and every email campaign. Instead test your campaigns to see what day and time works best for that specific campaign.
- Consider Including an Incentive: Many recipients may look at marketing emails and ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” If you offer them an incentive, such as a discount on a product, for participating they may be more likely to respond.
- Track And Analyze Your Campaigns: Regardless of the timing and frequency of emails sent it is extremely important to track and analyze your results. This will allow you to not only continue with what is proving to be effective, but also to refine and retool what isn’t working as effectively as it could be.
- Include A Landing Page or Next Step: If you want your emails sent to turn into conversions don’t just send your target audience back to your home page. Instead direct them to a page that shows and tells them exactly what you want them to do in a quick and easy manner.
A Real Life Example: Buzzfeed
When it comes to email marketing, Buzzfeed knows what they are doing. Within the emails they populate, the subject lines and accompanying preview text always complement each other. Meaning, if their subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer or if the subject line is a command the preview text is what one may think of as their next logical thought. They are also well written, short, to the point, and contain just the right amount of wit. Additionally, each email they send contains only a small fragment of each story, but include a link so the viewer can then easily go to their main site to read the rest of the story. This tactic has been proven largely successful in driving visitors back to their main site, as evidenced by the fact that email is consistently one of the top 5 or 6 referrers of traffic to their website each month.