Email marketing

If you are reading this article then I am assuming that you are ready to take your first step towards Email Marketing. Let us start by “What is Email Marketing“. Email marketing is a digital marketing medium used by brands and businesses to connect and communicate with their customers. It is wonderful medium them to keep their customers informed, engaged, build trust and maintain their relationship.

Email marketing is one of the early digital marketing medium used by businesses to reach out to their customers. It is known to have started around 40 years ago by a marketing maverick named Gary Thuerk of Digital Equipment Corporation. He has sent out an email to 400 customers promoting his company’s services which has helped him to generate sales via email. Since those times email marketing has evolved into a most effective and rewarding channels of digital communications for brands.

If you want to know benefits and growing uses of email marketing then I would recommend you to read this blog post by Shantanu Ghosh – EMAIL MARKETING ISN’T DEAD, BUT IT’S RAPIDLY CHANGING

How you can do email marketing?

Every business, brand and organization can use email marketing to communicate with their customers and audience. There are no restrictions for using email marketing in fact it can be used by various purposes and ways as a main channel of communication and messaging. The ultimate goal of email marketing is to improve sales for any business. Email campaigns with latest news, updates and events sent to customers will give immediate results. The question here is ‘how can we do email marketing?’, before delving into means and methods for doing email marketing it is necessary to learn and understand basic principles of email marketing for long term benefits.

Why you should email marketing?

Email marketing is the most effective and best mediums of marketing for any business. In this digital age, there isn’t any business that can escape from using email marketing. There are several mediums of digital marketing like social media, search engine marketing etc which is not necessary to be used by every business but it is impossible for businesses to survive without email marketing.

What email marketing mistakes should be avoided?

Email marketing can seem to be an easiest methods of marketing because it doesn’t require huge capital investment, all that you need is a valid email address for sending emails and bunch of email addresses of your existing and potential customers.  To some extent the above statement is true when your business is in starting phase and you have email addresses of people whom you have already interacted or possibly have personal relationship.

Just imagine, if you have 1000 potential customers and 1000 existing customers, in this situation the chances of knowing them personally, having personal interaction in past is somewhat difficult. If you start sending them emails with your free email account it would mess up your brand image and reputation sooner or later.

Everybody without much knowledge about email marketing best practices will tend to do commit mistakes in planning and implementation of email marketing.

The below are top 5 mistakes which should be avoided in email marketing
  1. Sending unsolicited emails: Think you are in your comfort of your home and suddenly some shopkeeper barges into your home without your permission and start selling you his product and services, would you throw him out of your home and call police for trespassing or invite him to sit and offer him coffee and listen to him?  I bet you would throw him out of your home because nobody likes to their privacy to be intruded. Similarly, when you send emails without permission then chances are that your email will be thrown into trash and your email will be marked as spam. Therefore, never send emails to your customers without their consent. There are several means and ways to obtain permission for sending emails to your customers and if you follow them religiously sooner or later your email marketing performance shall shoot up.
  2. Sending emails with your free email account: If you send email campaigns using your free Gmail or Yahoo email account then it is not going to help because the email spam filters are growing smarter and stricter by time. Register and create an email account using your domain name for example [email protected] and more better option is to create a sub-domain for example [email protected] this will safeguard your main domain reputation and you can create as many email sending sub-domains for sending emails with specific content or to product and customer segments.
  3. NOT authenticating your sending domains: This is probably the most vital aspects of the email marketing to ensure that your emails are delivered into the inbox of your customers. By doing this you are verifying your sending email address with your email marketing tool to improve your email deliverability. This could be sounding geeky to first but most of the standard email marketing tools offer this option or in some cases make it mandatory for authenticating your sending domains.
  4. NOT segmenting your email list: It is quite critical to segment your email subscriber list according their interest, age, gender, stage of their customer journey etc. This is deeper form of personalization because most of the beginners mistake personalization means sending personalized emails like adding customers name in the email. As you scale your email marketing program you will have scores of subscribers in your list and it would be not be a good idea to send same content to all the your subscriber. For example, if you are sending email campaign featuring products meant for female customers to everyone then chances are high that the male subscribers in your list will unsubscribe because the content you are sharing is not suitable to their need. The long term marketing strategy not limited to email marketing should be creating customer segments for improving your marketing performance and deriving maximum results.
  5. NOT having email calendar: This is the most important and foremost part of email marketing because to maintain sustainable email marketing strategy. As a marketer you must create and maintain email marketing calendar with list of email campaigns by day/week for each and every month.

Choosing the best email marketing tool

The most common question found on the internet is ‘Which is the best email marketing service?’ and the answer to this question frankly any or nothing. The people tend to be more focused on the medium, platform and tools for carrying out marketing and ignore or give less importance to the method. In my decade long experience with email marketing, I have tested and used various email marketing tools and services such as Exact Target, Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, OctaneGo, Benchmark, VerticalResponse, and many more. All of these email marketing tools offer equally good features in terms of usability and experience hence the platform doesn’t matter if you are not so seriously concerned about the pricing while choosing the email marketing service. The most important factors you must consider while choosing email marketing service should be following

  1. Responsiveness of customer support: It is obvious after signing up for a new email service one will need help and support for setting up your account and keep your email marketing campaigns running hassle free. A responsive and helping customer support will go a long way to keep your plans implemented successfully.
  2. Dedicated IP: Many premium email marketing services provide high-quality IP and email servers by default but it is always to safer to ask the email marketing service provider about the email service IP and type of IP your account is going to get. A dedicated IP will be improve your email deliverability whereas a shared IP may not give you expected results.
  3. UI/UX: UI stands for User-Interface and UX stands for User-Experience. The email marketing service UI/UX plays an important role in saving your time and increasing efficiency of your work. An easy and user-friendly UI/UX will help you to create, design and manage your email marketing campaigns peacefully.
  4. Usability: The email marketing service providers are offering host of features as part of their license package including signup forms, automation, surveys, segmentation, personalization, advanced email scheduling, integrations/APIs, A/B testing, transactional emails etc that will help you increasing the performance and scale up your campaigns. Therefore, while choosing the email marketing services lookout for these important usability options.
  5. Email Templates: This is the basic feature which almost all email marketing service providers offer in the form of drag and drop email builder, pre-designed email templates and layouts. The ease of access and usage determines what is best and what is not.

It is advised that you should test or take free trial of 3-5 different email marketing services and tools before buying licensed access.