iQ media - IQ Blog - Email marketing - can you afford not to use it? (02 March 10)

Email marketing - can you afford not to use it?

02 March 2010

Email marketing - can you afford not to use it? Image

Email marketing, when used properly is becoming one of the most cost effective marketing and promotional tools available.  However you currently communicate to your customer base; customers current or lapsed, prospective clients, or members and regardless of what you are “selling”, email marketing is a fast, reliable, efficient and cost effective platform to keep in regular contact, promote new services or products, push traffic to your website and ultimately boost profitability. 

Plus email marketing can provide you with statistics such as open rates, bounce rates and tracking of subsequent visits to your website.  Furthermore, if you use a robust, effective email marketing platform such as iQ Mail, then you can track effectiveness of individual campaigns, subject titles, features and offers by audience.

But the ability to send email marketing campaigns obviously doesn’t mean that your email will be opened and read.  Neither can it 100% guarantee that the viewer will click through from the email and visit your website to view an offer or click on a link.  So what else do you need to do, in order to promote increased open rates and click through rates to your website, for your business?

It’s all in the communication!  As with all other marketing and promotional platforms, email marketing is all about communicating with a particular audience.  Communication should be akin to an ongoing relationship with the recipient; relevant to them and not a one size fits all approach. iQ Mail can provide you with a platform within which to develop a dialogue with specific audiences and assist with customer relationship management projects and activities.

Email marketing can be used to communicate with external and internal audiences i.e. it can be used as a newsletter, to promote an offer, announce corporate news or simply highlight opening hours over the Christmas and New Year holidays. 

But email marketing is a far more rounded proposition within your bank of promotional platforms.  It is far more than an advertising platform, as typically advertising is a one way communication or message, whereas email marketing encourages and nurtures a two way flow of communication, bringing both parties closer and increasing your understanding of their needs.

Email newsletters, on the other hand, are regularly scheduled communications that encourage a two-way "conversation" and include valuable information.  While a newsletter can contain some calls-to-action that provide short-term benefits, it is uniquely suited to accomplish the long-term goals of customer retention and loyalty. 

Promotions and or Newsletters – which approach is best?

Within email marketing campaigns, then a mixture of promotional emails and email newsletters are appropriate.  The key is to include both as part of any e.marketing plan but view differently to maximise the value of each communication type and appropriate objectives. For example, you would use a promotional email to promote new products, discounted lines and other offers, promote your brand i.e. if you are launching a new logo or brand identity, or to promote rewards schemes and drive traffic to your website.  A newsletter allows you to educate and inform; provide substantial information relevant to the reader thus building ongoing relationships.  It should also help your company’s positioning as a credible, valuable resource of information regarding your sector, or your products and services and ultimately begin an ongoing dialogue by asking for feedback.

Permission-based email marketing is the most cost effective direct marketing method available.  With tracking, via iQ Mail you can track the effectiveness of individual campaigns which undoubtedly will provide higher response rates than direct mail plus your can view results immediately. Email marketing can stand alone or form part of an integrated marketing communications plan, as it compliments other online or offline marketing activities.

Direct mail is still a relevant aspect of marketing communication planning and strategy, however in a world where marketing budgets are constantly being reviewed and assessed vs. return on investment; email marketing has to be seen as a better, faster and more cost effective platform to communicate with prospects and customers alike.

Does size matter?  Any business that needs to communicate, develop and nurture relationships with its customers and prospects should be integrating email marketing into their marketing communication plans. 

iQ Mail allows companies to manage time, budgets and resources in order to achieve communication objectives; regardless of size and structure, email marketing can make even a sole trader be perceived as a larger organisation and ultimately more professional to new and existing audiences.

Having a website does support the proposition of email marketing, as campaigns can be instigated to encourage traffic to visit your website and increased subscribers to newsletters etc.  However, businesses who do not have an online presence can still benefit, as email marketing provides a platform to send newsletters, promotions, announcements etc, operating separately from a website address.

iQ Mail produces branded email templates, specifically designed for SME and large organisations, making it easy and cost effective to manage permission based email campaigns, delivering real time and measurable results vs. other platforms.  There simply isn’t a reason not to investigate and instigate email marketing campaigns

An email marketing platform, such as iQ Mail delivers your emails within proper protocols and avoids the issue of SPAM and limitations on the number of emails you can send. The system allows you to segment campaigns and manage your lists, so that recipients can unsubscribe if they so wish.  You can track and view where emails have bounced or flag when emails have been opened, all at the click of a mouse.

Lists, lists and more lists!

There are two legitimate types of email marketing – email marketing to your own permission-based, subscribed, opted in list and email marketing to reputable opt-in rental lists.  

Every company, regardless of size, should actively look to collect email addresses from all customers, clients and prospects in order to build a robust email list.  You can do this in various ways; adding a subscribe to link within your website, by telemarketing activities, customer support calls or at trade exhibitions and events. However, you need to gain the contacts permission, in order to send subsequent email correspondence.

Providing a ‘subscribe to news or newsletter ’ link on your website will optimise new names coming through to your email platform, from prospects interesting in your service or products.

'You have mail!'  The recipient may prefer to receive an email in a text or HTML format; iQ Mail will work this out for you and send the appropriate email to the viewer, so that they can open and read without delay.  iQ Mail provides reports and statistics on the number of emails sent, opened, bounced and clicked through to provide you with data to measure and track campaign success and ultimately evolve and improve your campaigns moving forward. 

Spam – alot!

The one area of email marketing you want to absolutely avoid is spam. Spam is email sent without the recipient’s permission. With iQ Mail, there is a spam filter, enabling you to ensure that your campaigns are going to be delivered with the reputation of your company, service or products in tact.

It may be that you currently utilise your outlook email account to send out batches of emails to clients; if you haven’t discovered already, the account will not be designed to be used as an email marketing platform and this is where you will come up against problems.  There will be limitations on the numbers of emails you can send at any one time, with the same subject title. 

ISP’s also pay attention to the number of recipients going through their system, as an email sent to too many recipients will be classified as bulk or even worse spam. Plus, you will be limited on the branding and elements you can include within a standard email template.

Your Company, Your Products and Services.

Your email templates should reflect your brand; incorporate using brand guideline and key images, logos etc.  With iQ Mail, you can achieve synergy across all other marketing collateral, ensuring that your communication is interesting and reflects your brand values.

Leading proprietary e.marketing programmes, such as iQ Mail include an obligatory opt in or opt out note on all templates, ensuring that your database is up to date and relevant, whilst avoiding complaints from subscribers who have unsubscribed from further communications.

Segmentation of your database will ensure relevant, targeted activities.  Look to increase response rates by incorporating calls to action i.e. click links, traceable phone numbers and SMS codes, whilst offering multiple options in which to engage with you.

All email marketing activity should be relevant, measured, timed, concise and easy to read.

For more information on email marketing with iQ Mail and how it could work for your Company, email solutions@iqmediagroup.co.uk

 

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