Email Marketing

Email marketing is all about communication. If you want to communicate your kick ass idea/sale/information or build customer loyalty, brand awareness or sales then this is the medium. Email marketing is a channel that you have to talk directly to your customers. A solid strategy is about targeting the right audience with the right message at the right time and in the right place.

Introduction

Simply put email marketing is emailing your branded and targeted messages directly into your customer’s inbox. It is not a follow-up email or a message just saying hi, if you do that too often you run the risk of turning into that person on Facebook that comments on every one of your posts with nonsense – that person quickly goes on your blocked list.

This advertising stream is about generating a reaction from your audience and getting them to complete an action like clicking a link to learn more, buying a product or RSVPing to an event.
The idea behind email marketing is really not far off from an age old advertising technique, the direct mail campaign. In the past decade most businesses have really embraced the digital age and many organizations are letting go of their direct mail campaign in favour of email marketing.

A campaign can look like many things, it can be: a newsletter, an announcement, an advertisement, a white paper, an e-book, a contest, the list goes on and on. This advertising medium is all about building relationships with the beautiful people you call your customers. And we’re willing to bet that if you treat your customer right, you will develop a beautiful, symbiotic relationship that leaves everyone happy and excited with their email communication and ultimately yields both business revenue, as well as increased customer satisfaction and expansion rate.

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How it Works

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While the principle and strategy behind email marketing is similar to direct mail, it is not exactly the same. With email marketing it is easier to target the right audience with the message that is more likely to advance your business goals. An email campaign is less expensive to execute than other marketing techniques and it is much easier to track the effectiveness. This marketing stream also has a leg up on other advertising methods mainly because of the ability to personalize, tailor and make it interactive. 
Email marketing works because it is a great way to reach your audience while they are on the go. Most people do not watch TV on their smart phones while they are on the train going to work, but they do check their email. When it comes to measurability email marketing is head and shoulders above traditional marketing forms like print, direct mail, and television. Not only do you get the instant gratification of seeing how your campaign is being received through the analytics that come standard on any email marketing service provider.

One caveat, email marketing works best if you are not always bugging your subscribers for inconsequential reasons. If you don’t have pressing information that you are sure your customers/audience wants to know then it would be best to not hit send. Don’t be a spammer, no one wants to be that guy and no one wants to hear from them. Not sure if what you have to say is important enough to do an email campaign? Ask the experts, it is what we’re here for.

By regularly updating and adding new content, you encourage reader loyalty because they will want to come back for more if the content is interesting. This will also help spread the brand through reader engagement because if you’re interested in something then you will want to talk about it and share it. Its beneficial that nowadays social media marketing is so diverse and convenient that a like or share can get your content across many platforms.


Why It’s Effective

Everybody has an email account. Ok, maybe your great-grandmother doesn’t but it is safe to assume that almost everyone you know has an email address that they check regularly. It is estimated that in 2015 there were 4.1 billion email accounts, even 0.01 per cent of that audience is over 400,000 people.

One of the big reasons that email marketing is effective is because it is permission based, and now in the time of CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) that has never been more true. When someone gives you their email address and asks you to email them it is because at some point in time your business had something awesome and it sparked their interest enough that they gave you explicit consent to communicate with them. When you are using email marketing to get your message to your audience it is safe to assume that they already have at least a passing understanding of what your business is and hopefully have good associations with your brand.

Another reason that email marketing is so effective is because people check their email constantly and because of smartphones they can do it anywhere. Studies suggest that checking email is the top activity for people to do on their smart phones – up to 150 times a day. We all know that person that doesn’t get off of their phone, apparently they are just checking their email constantly. People are checking their messages on the train during their morning commute, while walking back to work from the gym, and even while watching TV. It’s not that the email has to be especially engaging, it’s merely the fact that like strong search engine marketing, email is easy and quick to check, and gives the user instant gratification when it comes to finding what they’re looking for.

One of the strengths of email marketing is that it is an interactive medium. Your potential customers can purchase items, click on links, forward the email to their friends, and connect their personal social media accounts to your business. However, this is a one sided communication channel, you are talking to your audience and they are not talking back. If you are wanting a channel that allows your audience to talk to you in real time social media is what you need.

Email marketing is incredibly effective at targeting the right audience with the right message. While building your email lists you can separate them by: age, gender, income, interests and so on. Using television, direct mail, and print advertising the goal is to reach a lot of people and pique the interest of a few; with an email campaign you are reaching a smaller audience but interesting more. It is quality over quantity.

One of the really nifty things about email marketing that makes it more effective than other marketing streams is the ability to personalize your message. It automatically makes your communication more friendly and personable when you can input your customers name and use previous purchases or clicks to tailor the information just for them. Most email services will make this possible for you through a complete suite of design options.

The harsh truth of the email marketing world is that there is many ways in which your audience can disregard your message. The spam box will filter out unsolicited emails, so an email marketing service provider can help you avoid that trap. The other trap is the virtual garbage can, if your content isn’t eye catching your email will wind up right in the trash. This is where marketing experts can really help.

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How to Implement

You wouldn’t be able to execute an email marketing campaign without the email addresses, so your first step in implementing email marketing to your marketing arsenal is building your email list. Since CASL has come into the mix email marketers have to be careful of how they cultivate their lists to be careful not to run afoul of this legislation.

There are some fairly simple and unobtrusive ways to build your email list. You can implement sign up lists on your website; offer a special deal or promotion to get an email address; promote membership rewards programs through email; make giving an email address part of the point of sale process; create a call to action on social media to garner email addresses; encourage current subscribers to share and more. Waving your arms and yelling: SUBSCRIBE TO MY LIST is not the way to go about it, a little finesse will do wonders. Ask an expert about a way to grow your list.



If you have an existing list, clean it up. Weed out expired email addresses and improve on the addresses you do have. Check that the right name is with the correct email address and you have taken off anyone that hasn’t opted into your emails. Make sure that you are taking advantage of list segmentation so that you can target the right audience.

Decide on an email marketing service provider, you have a ton of options. Services like constant contact, mailchimp, campaign monitor, and mad mimi have high user reviews. What is the best provider for one may not be the best for others. Each provider has a different benchmark for when the service goes from free to paid, one provider may provide a higher ability to personalize a campaign, while another has better tracking and metrics. Again what works for one company may not work for another.

Your next step is to define the purpose of your campaign. You really want to have something important to say before you press send on your email marketing campaign, you don’t want to be the company that is super keen and always wanting to call just to chat. That’s ok sometimes but it has to be really occasional. Even with a regular newsletter you shouldn’t be sending it just because you can and people have subscribed – only talk to your audience when you have something relevant to say. Take the time to sit with your marketing team or consultants to really flush out what you want to say. Relevant information includes things like: upcoming sales, events, new services or products, etc.

Once you have decided on a clear purpose for your email campaign you can either write the copy or design the layout of your email, for this purpose let’s say that you design your email first. At talonX we will almost always lean towards minimalism in design, it just so happens that it is also best practice in email marketing – KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. Using images is recommended as people like visuals but you should have more copy than images, as with most things in life the 80/20 rule applies nicely (80% text 20% images.) Design is what captures the recipient’s attention, if you are not feeling confident in your ability to design then hiring a professional is the way to go.

Have AMAZING copy. Yes, design and images grab the attention of your audience but it is your copy that keeps them. If what you are saying doesn’t make sense or is too complex people will simply disregard your message and move on. Have a call to action that inspires people to read, click, visit, buy or simply engage with your brand. Make sure you create a subject line that ensures people want to open your email. A subject line shouldn’t be more than 50ish characters and it should also be friendly. Words to avoid? Spam words like: guaranteed, free, fast, now, buy, income, money, cash, $$, lose etc. Using spam trigger words will most likely get you filtered into the spam box and if by some miracle it doesn’t the user will likely just trash your email. Many professional creative firms will have a copy writer or content strategist on staff to work on creating the best content for your email marketing campaign, all you have to do is pick up the phone and have a coffee or cocktail with them to find out how.

Test your email. Do not hit send before you test your email. The test button comes standard with all email marketing service providers. Once you think your email is ready to send, send it someone (a few someone’s) internally. Have them check for spelling errors and broken links, images, and layout errors. Best practice when checking your email campaign is to also have the email tested in multiple browsers and on multiple devices.

Once you are certain that you have a defined purpose, there are no spelling errors, all of your links and images work and the layout looks great on all devices and browsers you are ready to hit send. Now all you have to do is relax and watch your return on investment roll in. Make sure to keep an eye on your analytics so you can see how many people have opened your email, who clicked on your email and what your audience was the most interested in. It is the analytics that will give you the best insight into how you communicate and to whom. Over here, we refine that date, retarget the customer and keep your email marketing fresher and fresher, ultimately leading to quality contact, higher sales and a better relationship between customer and business.

Conclusion

When social media burst into the marketing scene a few years ago people were really fond of saying that email marketing was going to die a slow painful death because of social media. There are numerous studies that show that that is indeed not the case, in fact email still seems to be the most effective direct marketing tool that retailers and marketers have at their disposal.

Pricing

Lite

Newsletter software setup and customization

Content creation and audience targeting

Customized graphic design and

One newsletter sent per month

Standard

Newsletter software setup and customization

Content creation and audience targeting

Customized graphic design and brand messaging

Link tracking and report analysis

Up to two newsletter sent per month

Premium

Newsletter software setup and customization

Content creation and audience targeting

Customized graphic design and brand messaging

Link tracking and report analysis

Customized audience engagement

Split testing, retargeting and list management

Up to three newsletters sent per month

$500/mo

$1,200/mo

$1,700/mo

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