E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses e-mail as the delivery medium for communicating a marketing message to a group of people. E-mail marketing can have many different styles or levels of personalization, but any e-mail sent to existing or prospective customers can be regarded as e-mail marketing.
Specifically e-mail marketing is used to support customer loyalty and encourage repeat business with existing customers, as well as to deliver information and offer promotions to both customers and prospects via newsletters and other forms of communication
Good e-mail marketing software is a key component of a successful e-mail marketing system. The software should enable the company to manage its e-mail subscription lists, allowing recipients to easily subscribe and unsubscribe; send e-mails to subscribers or to recipients on a purchased list successfully with minimal delivery issues; provide predefined templates to enable streamlined e-mail creation; and, provide an auto-responder to manage recipient replies.
The software should also track the effectiveness of e-mail marketing campaigns and provide regular reporting to measure various performance criteria including messages delivered, click rates, and bounce rates.
Companies that have the in-house technical expertise and resources may prefer to develop their own system rather than rely on a third-party provider for this service.
If a company chooses a hosted service provider, it should perform due diligence to ensure the provider has the right expertise and a good track record with its customers.
When choosing a service provider, it is important to consider many factors: a successful deliverability rate, features and tracking capabilities, available support, and the overall cost of service.
Reputable e-mail marketing service providers try to ensure that customers’ e-mails are not blocked by major ISPs. However, it is sometimes difficult to control whether or not the e-mails arrive in the recipient’s inbox or the spam box.
Although most e-mail marketing service providers designate a quality score to help indicate the likelihood of the e-mail being delivered, getting whitelisted is the most effective way to ensure that e-mails get delivered properly.
Whitelisting specifically allows e-mails from a certain source or sender to be delivered into an e-mail inbox. Adding trusted e-mail addresses to a personal whitelist lets the e-mails from that source pass spam and junk mail filters. Different e-mail client and Internet security platforms have a variety of methods that allow users to create whitelists.
A company needs to collect the e-mail addresses of its customers to enable the company to run e-mail campaigns. A list developed in this way is commonly referred to as a “house list” and is derived from the company’s own database of current customers, previous customers, inquirers, responders, contest entrants, and so on.
One of the most effective ways of collecting prospective customers’ e-mail addresses is by having an opt-in subscription form on a landing page on the company website. Visitors to the site provide their e-mail addresses and agree to accept offers or information. Most e-mail marketing services provide functionality to integrate subscription forms on a website.
Growing the size of an e-mail list is important, but it is only valuable if there are engaged customers on the list. Companies need to build strong, trusted relationships with their subscribers. Repeated e-mail messaging that does not engage customers will be ignored and customers will eventually unsubscribe from the list. Sending high quality, relevant content is extremely important.
If a company always sends advertisements or promotional e-mails, subscribers may feel like they are being too “marketed to” and tune out the messages or unsubscribe.
When designing e-mail content, it is important to identify the key messages that the e-mail should communicate and the specific information that will move the recipient from his or her current perception to the desired perception, overcoming any barriers to conversion.
E-mail marketing has proven to be one of the most effective digital marketing channels. When well executed, e-mail marketing can benefit many types of businesses for many different purposes. Through e-mail marketing, a company is able to keep in touch with customers and prospective customers easily and efficiently. It is a cost-effective way to transmit valuable information relevant to a customer’s interests.