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What is email marketing, why do you need it, and how to do it right.
In 2017, roughly 269 billion emails were sent and received each day (Source: Radicati). With an email being sent every minute of every day, this form of digital communication has become an integral part of our daily life. Email is used by nearly every person. It’s an ever-evolving medium whose purpose and impact has changed drastically since its inception. For businesses, email is the most effective and inexpensive way to capture the attention of your target audience.
In this page, we’ll discuss:
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing uses direct email as a form of communication to connect with a target audience. It’s a personalized channel to increase brand awareness and improve customer relationships.
Email marketing is the popular mode of communication for businesses to get in touch with their target audience. Despite the steady growth of social media, the value-add it offers is mostly limited to interacting with larger audiences. Email remains as the preferred and reliable method for businesses to communicate directly and effectively with customers. Compared to other modes of marketing, email marketing ranks as the cheapest channel with the highest value. This is because the larger part of the audience still uses email. It has a median ROI of 122% (Source: EmailMonks), which is 4X higher than other channels like social media and postal mail.
In this day and age of stringent privacy laws such as GDPR, it’s advisable to not buy bulk email lists because they can be outdated and may also attribute to your brand receiving a high spam rate. Instead, build your email list over time.
Broadly speaking, there are three ways to build your email list:
Events are the traditional way of collecting email addresses. You can set up booths at venues and attract visitors to your booth and gather their contact information. Collect business cards or have a paper/digital sign-up form.
If your brand has a high follower count on social media, leverage this audience to build your email list. Engage your followers with compelling, relevant content and offer access to exclusive content like templates and e-books in exchange for their email address. Have seasonal contests for which email verification is necessary and use relevant hashtags to expand the reach of your content beyond your own follower base.
If you don’t have a website for your business, start with creating one. Then, place opt-in forms on your website so that website visitors can enter their information to access resources or to receive a product demo. To get visitors to sign up on a web form, offer incentives like eBooks, case studies, free webinars, discount coupons, etc.
Having an “enter your email address” field on your website might not suffice. Your recipient must agree to receive communications from you. A best practice is to give them the option to choose the frequency of email communications from your business. You should also request the type of content that would interest them, say promotional emails, product updates, blog articles, etc.
Segment your email list so you can send relevant content to the right contact. The intention is to not let them unsubscribe from your communications. Segment your subscriber to personalize your emails and improve conversions. Here’s proof—personalized email marketing campaigns increase click-through rates by an average of 14 percent and improve conversion rates by 10 percent (Source: Aberdeen). Personalization increases engagement with your subscribers and adds a personal touch to your email.
If you run a retail company, some products are gender-based. Your men’s wardrobe products appeals largely to your male customers. This is a logical segmentation of your email list to effectively cater to your audience. To make your emails more effective for gender-based products, customize your promotional emails based on the gender of your recipients.
If your business has multiple stores in various locations, knowing where your recipients live helps you target your email campaigns by time zone and region. So you can schedule emails during business hours based on the location of your recipients.
Your target audience may belong to a particular age group but your subscribers may be from various age groups. Segment your email list based on age to remove subscribers that don’t fit your target audience. For instance, if you’re in the banking industry, you can segment customers based on age to send them relevant service information. Your email to an 18-year old can be about applying for a student debit card, and your email to a 40-year old can be about home loans or mutual fund schemes.
Subscribers are interested in things that are relevant and important to them. So, they may not want to receive all your email communications. Bombarding their inboxes with too many unrelated emails can do more harm than good. For example, if you run a SaaS business, you may email your subscribers about product updates, features releases, newsletters, webinars, etc. Product related news may interest some while others would prefer to know about your webinars or receive newsletters. Create your email lists by asking for their preference to send the right emails to the right groups.
This is the first email you send your subscriber soon after they submit their email address. You can show your appreciation by sending them a “thank you for subscribing” and also use this as a chance to introduce yourself and your business. If you are a B2B product marketer, send out a persuasive email that explains the various use cases of the product, case studies, and a link to your resources page.
Promotional emails are in everyone’s inbox. It could be exclusive deals, discounts, announcing new products, etc. Promotional emails are intended to drive purchases and generate revenue. These emails have a clear call-to-action that will move the recipient further down the buyer journey. Promotions can be run from time-to-time and on a seasonal basis. Promotional emails help capture the attention of the recipient and make them aware of the brand. Employ personalization and offer custom codes to users based on their product interests.
Transactional emails are triggered based on an activity the user completes. These are different from other bulk marketing emails. Transactional emails include relevant information for a particular user, say regarding their account settings like a password reset link, or online activities like purchase receipts. Transactional emails are straightforward and contain information the recipient needs, so keep it concise and direct.
Nurture emails work in two scenarios—nurturing a buyer to become a customer and nurturing a customer post-purchase. In the former, the buyer is still on the fence about making a purchase. Based on their activity, you can send nurture emails at every stage of the buyer journey to move them down the sales funnel. Offer them a free demo of your product, share helpful resources to understand the benefits of your services, send customer stories, etc. After purchase, follow-up and engage with customers to build your relationship and increase loyalty. Offer them early access to beta product features, identify opportunities to add them to your upsell campaigns, send them personalized content, etc.
Newsletters are recurring emails that contain a round up of articles and tips related to the product/business to help improve product adoption. They help maintain and nurture customer relationships through continuous communication. Your newsletter can serve as a mix of messaging like blog posts, feature enhancements, discount codes, and event invitations. Design your newsletter to look visually appealing by adding images and illustrations. You can follow a simple format with a headline for your newsletter accompanied by a summary from the week. The links can be listed below and you can also place a Call-to-Action(CTA) in the email. To improve newsletter performance, A/B test the content and format. You can test out by adding or removing images, different fonts and color schemes or changing the style of copy.
Email marketing metrics can be categorized into two—on-mail KPIs and off-mail KPIs.
Open rate indicates the number of recipients who opened your email. It’s the first line of metric you should track as the following metrics will be a subset of this one. A captivating subject line is key to boosting your email open rate.
Let’s say you send out 1500 emails to your email list and 700 of them were opened. Your open rate would be 46.67%
Click- through rate is the number of clicks on the links included in the email. Your email may have more than one link the message. Track the clicks for each link by assigning unique Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) for each link.
If you emailed an event invitation link to 1000 recipients and received 200 clicks, your click-through rate is 20%.
Conversion rate, an off-mail KPI, is the number of people who completed an action through a CTA that was placed within your email. For example, if you include a registration link for a webinar in your email, the conversion rate is the number of people who registered for the webinar through link in the email. To accurately measure this metric, you can integrate your email data with an analytics tool like Google Analytics.
If you’ve sent the email to 500 recipients and received 20 registrations through the CTA. Your conversion rate is 4%.
Bounce rate is the number of emails that were undeliverable. Bounces are of two types—soft and hard.
Soft bounces are emails that were temporarily undelivered due to server issues or because the recipient's inbox was full. Hard bounces are invalid or non-existent email addresses to which the message will never be delivered. It is crucial to bring down the hard bounce rate as many ISPs consider bounce rate a factor to determine the sender reputation.
If you receive 4 bounces from the 100 emails you sent, your bounce rate would be 4%. This is an undesirable rate and you should ensure that the email addresses are removed from your email list.
For most businesses these days, email marketing is non-negotiable. Even if their primary marketing channel is social media, they still depend on email to personalize communication and send confidential information. Email marketing campaigns and its follow up actions are a long process. The email list is created, and the campaign is set up and run at the desired time. Once its active, recipients receive the email and engage with its content. Based on the email engagement, you need to perform actions to nurture your recipients. These actions are dependent on the subscriber, their contact information and their engagement with the business. To perform these actions seamlessly and most effectively, it’s crucial to have your data stored within a single system, that’s easy to use and access. Like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
CRMs that come with built-in email marketing capabilities allow you to gain more visibility into your prospect’s behavior. With email tracking features, sales reps can understand how a prospect engages with emails and alter their sales strategy. You can also maintain a unified list of contacts in the CRM and nurture better. You don’t have to switch between a CRM and an email marketing tool to run your email campaigns.
With Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales), create email lists, set up email marketing campaigns, and track email metrics right within the CRM. You can send and receive emails in the CRM and sync with your email provider so you don’t have to switch applications.
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