E-mail marketing campaigns can be integral parts of any organization’s marketing strategy. That’s because e-mail marketing can be a powerful tool for differentiating a brand, driving targeted traffic to a Web site, and increasing sales. In addition, one of the greatest benefits of an e-mail marketing campaign is that online reporting tools make measuring results easy and data is available nearly instantaneously after launching a campaign.
The keys to success are the relevancy of the content provided to the target audience as well as the quality and segmentation of the sender’s e-mail list. Organizations that pay attention to these critical points will increase the probability of accomplishing their goals.
This article contains practical tips that you can use to develop and implement an e-mail marketing strategy.
Developing Your E-mail Marketing Strategy
Who is your audience? What is your message? How often will you launch a campaign? Develop a clear strategy that answers these questions while remaining consistent with your overall marketing strategy. Consider the following four components when developing your e-mail marketing strategy:
Set realistic goals. What specific, tangible benefits do you want your e-mail marketing campaign to help your organization achieve? Some examples might include:
Analyze and segment your e-mail list. Get to know your customers and determine what topics grab their attention. Then segment your e-mail list into smaller lists based on the identified commonalities. Remember to update e-mail addresses that have changed.
Develop relevant content based on your segmentation. A segmented e-mail list gives you the freedom to develop customized content, increasing the odds that your audience will respond. Provide your audience with content that is interesting to them. Highlight product and service features that are highly relevant to your audience and unique from your competitors. These types of features are called drivers.
Providing relevant content also reduces the risk that your audience would consider your e-mail marketing campaigns to be distractions, or even worse, spam.
Measure your results. Most leading e-mail marketing distribution tools provide real-time data as part of their package. The AVS Group uses Constant Contact for our campaigns. For a broader view of your Web site’s performance, Webtrends is a leading Web analytics tool that generates detailed traffic statistics.
Differentiating Your Brand
Can e-mail marketing be useful in differentiating a brand? Absolutely, and here’s how.
Focus on drivers. Earlier we recommended highlighting the features of your products and services that are highly relevant to customers and unique from competitors. These features are called drivers. Drivers are any organization’s true points of differentiation. Drivers are so powerful, they actual drive customer choice toward one brand versus another. Your e-mail marketing campaign should communicate your drivers.
Share your expertise. Share your organization’s knowledge with your e-mail list. Offer recommendations based on your experience. Write papers based on your organization’s research. Comment on industry or marketplace trends. Sharing your expertise makes your brand different – you are not communicating the same message as competitors.
Brand consistency. Your team has invested time and effort toward developing your organization’s logo, tagline, graphic standards, and overall brand identity. To protect this investment, create an e-mail template that can be used for all of your e-mail marketing campaigns. Your audience will receive a professional looking message that is consistent with the positive attributes that your brand identity represents. For each issue, you simply update the content.
Timing consistency. Set specific intervals to distribute your e-mail marketing: weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. and stick to them. It takes a commitment to consistently develop and distribute relevant e-mail marketing campaigns. Remaining consistent will provide your organization with differentiation from all of the organizations marketing themselves inconsistently.
Driving Targeted Traffic to a Web Site
E-mail marketing is a proven method for driving site traffic. In fact, experiencing traffic increases of 100 percent or more on days that an e-mail marketing campaign is launched is realistic.
Targeted e-mail marketing campaigns can also deliver impressive open and click-through rates. For example, 50 percent of the recipients of an e-newsletter may open the e-mail and 30 percent of those people may click into the Web site to learn more.
Why are these numbers so high? The sender provided relevant content to people who already knew of the organization. The recipients may not have been very familiar with the organization, or even current customers. However, they at least gave the organization their e-mail address.
Use teaser content to trigger interest. Do not provide all of the information within your e-mail marketing message. Support the content in your e-mail marketing campaign with more content on your Web site. Encourage people to click and learn more.
Intuitive design. Drive traffic by using a layout and design for your e-mails that is intuitive. Are the links easy to locate? Is the navigation and overall layout and design simple? Is the content easy to read?
Use references to build credibility. People generally do business with organizations they trust. Highlight your work, press releases, or case studies to serve as evidence of your achievements. Your audience may be more apt to click into your Web site if they perceive your message to be credible.
We have witnessed e-mail marketing campaigns that have generated online sales within minutes after being sent. These campaigns created a sense of urgency and promoted relevant products. However, if online transactions are not a good fit for your organization, consider using e-mail marketing to generate sales leads.
Create a sense of urgency. With a segmented list, you will be able to create special offers based on what will appeal to each segment. For one segment, you might offer free shipping. For another segment, you might offer a discount. Get it right, and you could experience sales increases of 100 percent on the days that e-mail marketing was used.
Promote relevant products. Because your list is segmented, you have the opportunity to feature the most relevant products. Create multiple campaigns based on the product preferences of each segment within your overall list.
Generate leads. Encourage your audience to go online and fill out a contact form or upload a request for proposal to you. For example, we receive requests for proposal from customers and prospects visiting AVSGroup.com. To help facilitate this process, we added a Discuss Project form making it easier to connect with our team.
In closing, any organization can be successful with e-mail marketing campaigns by implementing the right strategy. Developing an e-mail marketing strategy will lay the groundwork to reach your goals. E-mail marketing can be a powerful marketing and brand-building tool for your organization.