E-mail marketing is not only very affordable but also extremely effective. Depending on your metrics (opened messages, click-throughs or conversion rates) and your targets (new, existing or best customers), e-mail marketing can yield response rates that range from a satisfying 5 percent to a remarkable 50 percent or more.
On the other hand, the cheap cost of entry generates a sea of spam – that is, the tide of unsolicited bulk mail messages or e-mail marketing done wrong. Spam has obviously made consumers wary and annoyed.
Target customers with personalised e-mails
Permission-based e-mail marketing campaigns are a cost-effective way to reach new and existing customers.
Increasingly, you must make sure to gain opt-in-registration, prior contact or permission-from your recipient or customer before sending any e-mail marketing.
With that in mind, here’s how to launch an e-mail campaign.
1. Define your goals. No marketing can succeed with an unlimited or shifting horizon. You must set goals that will define your success. When it comes to e-mail marketing, campaigns tend to get better results when there’s a clear call to action, perhaps with the added urgency of a time-sensitive opportunity. Typically, e-mail marketing can:
Announce special deals, sales or discounts
Invite customers to events, VIP parties, or conferences
Offer news or information that drives performance or decisions
At the outset, carefully define what you want from the campaign. Then focus on the messaging and distribution that will achieve it.
2. Connect with customers. Different designs and messages will yield different results. The idea is to customise batches of messages in order to emphasise benefits that speak to specific customer needs. Electronic tools make it much easier to segment customers and sales leads according to key characteristics.
You can quickly group customers into smaller market chunks of similar demographics, purchasing history or other qualifiers by using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager. You’ll find seven pre-formatted Account reports, such as Accounts by Rating or Neglected Accounts.
Or you can customise reports, and then export those tailor-made reports into Microsoft Office Excel 2003 for further analysis.
3. Manage the list. If you’re developing your own campaign, first create your mailing list. Then select the style of your e-mail publication.
Don’t forget to keep updating customer information. When a new customer contacts you, create an entry for them in Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager. Business Contact Manager enables you to consolidate all interactions with a given customer in the Contact History section, including e-mails, tasks, appointments, notes and documents. If you send out your e-mail campaign to your Business Contacts in Business Contact Manager, this activity will be captured automatically in each recipient’s Contact History.
4. Personalise. Personalise. Personalise. Recent surveys indicate that recipients more readily sign up for e-mail marketing when offered a prize, entry in a sweepstakes or the like. They’re also more inclined to register and input personal data when they’re already customers of the sponsoring company.
So the more you reward customers for giving you access to personal information and the more familiar they are with your products or brand, the better your responses tend to be.
To get customer buy-in, try using name-personalisation messages. Make sure you test several subject lines, message copy and landing pages before the launch.
If you want to use attention-grabbers like video or animation or audio, costs will rise. But you can still do quite a lot with text and links to a website or special landing pages.
Some message dos and don’ts:
Make it short and compelling. Don’t include detailed product descriptions or windy stories about the company’s history
Use lots of short titles and bulleted points or highlights so customers can take in information at a glance. You may want to set up a summary at the top and jump-link to information that follows, so users can quickly access what interests them.
Always set up a way for customers to easily update their information or unsubscribe.
Check messages from time to time to make sure the information is still timely and up-to-date. (Need we mention proofreading?)
Never spam – not anyone for any reason.
Match your format and message to your customers. Try to include some point of difference or attitude or special service that makes you stand out.