Focus on Email Marketing – The Follow-up Tool of Choice for Small Businesses.

How to Create an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

For the small business, email marketing has become a vital marketing tool.  It offers an inexpensive and fast medium with which to send regular follow-up marketing messages, with the added benefit of response rates that can be higher than direct mail campaigns due to the immediate nature of the medium.  Email marketing also enables you to target the right people with your marketing message at the right time, and if all of that wasn’t enough to convince you of its benefits, the results of an email marketing campaign can also be measured and analysed in order to make subsequent campaigns even more effective.

In summary, email marketing is:

  • Cheap
  • Fast
  • Effective (when implemented correctly)
  • Stronger for response rate relative to direct marketing
  • Targeted
  • Measurable

If your business relies on its website for all or a large percentage of its business, then email marketing is ideal for you.  Follow-up messages, special offers and regular newsletters can be used to entice your prospects to come back and take action.

The many benefits of email marketing have led to its popularity and status as a vital marketing tool.  However, it must be done well in order to be effective.  Recipients need to be receiving messages that are genuinely of value to them and therefore your targeting strategies need to be well researched.  It is also important to remember that you must have permission to email the recipient in the first place.  We look at this in greater detail below, see “The law surrounding email marketing”.

Creating an email marketing database

The foundation upon which to build your email marketing strategy is an up to date database of prospects who have given permission for you to email them.  This database must contain a comprehensive contact list containing all the necessary information to enable you to target your messages effectively (i.e. name, email address, product/services interested in, etc).

Permission to contact each recipient by email must have been received either by them completing an “opt in” form or by ticking an opt in box on your website.  A good tip is to include a simple opt in tick box on all of your marketing material.

Ensure that you can send targeted messages about specific products or services to the right audience by segmenting your database of contacts into key groups of people based on specific characteristics that they share.  It is also worth grouping your existing customers according to products or services that they have bought in the past.

The law surrounding email marketing

As mentioned above, the critical point when it comes to the law surrounding email marketing is the permission of the recipient.  Your prospective customers need to have actively given their permission for you to send marketing correspondence to them by “opting in”.  This is usually done by ticking a box to say that they are happy to receive this type of e mail.  Sending unsolicited marketing emails or spam is not just annoying for the recipient but ILLEGAL.  Anyone who has registered with the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Preference Service should be removed from your contact list. 

As the sender, you must not conceal your own identity and your email correspondence should be clearly identifiable as being commercial in nature.  Finally, an “unsubscribe” option should be included in your email so that recipients can opt out if they wish. 

The creation of an effective marketing email

An email marketing message needs to be focused and provide clarity as to what you are asking the recipient to do next.  Clear and focussed email promotions yield much better results. 

So how do we create such a marketing message?

  • Keep in mind what you are wanting to achieve as you put together your email marketing message or newsletter
  • Prioritise your Call to Actions – Too many Calls to Action will cause confusion
  • Target your messages to specific segments of your database rather than the whole list – Consider previous responses to email campaigns and the buying habits of your contacts to ensure that your message is reaching the right people
  • Make your email stand out. Use the subject line of the email to grab the reader’s attention but avoid using exaggerated claims as your correspondence may get mistaken for junk mail
  • Give a clear call(s) to action and a reason to respond
  • Always check your email before pressing send. As well as checking for errors, ensure that your message is focused, then put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and ask yourself whether what you are sending is relevant or useful to them
  • Ensure your email is eye catching but consider offering a text only version as well. Due to software incompatibility, messages may not transfer to your recipient’s computer as intended.

Be prepared for the response

The average response rate for email marketing campaigns is 4%.  Rates are often higher than other forms of direct marketing which is a definite positive, but remember that emailing too larger mailing group at any given time could leave you overwhelmed by the response.  Therefore, it is vitally important that you ensure that you can cope with the enquiries/orders that your campaign may generate.  You will have worked hard to generate those enquiries, make the most of them by making the right impression when you’re given the chance!

Measuring the success of your campaign

In order to establish what is working and what’s not with your email marketing, it is critical that you measure the results of your campaign.  To do this, invest in software that will enable you to analyse the results or work with your service provider to obtain key information such as the number of emails delivered, the number of recipients who clicked through to your website and how many people opted out. 

We hope that you have found this article interesting and informative.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss email marketing for your small business further, please contact Trinity on 0800 954 2099 for a
Free Consultation or complete our online form.