According to Talarico (2016), 92% of adults use email, with a total of 13 working hours each week devoted to checking mail alone. Email marketing allows businesses’ to create tailored campaigns with more personalised messages to target a specific customer base, and in turn build stronger customer relationships. For this reason, many organisations have made e-mail marketing the cornerstone of their communications strategy (Reimers, Chao and Gorman, 2016). Not only does email marketing serve to drive website traffic, it also influences impulse buying on online websites (Dawson and Kim, 2010).
Below are some ways to maximise email-marketing efforts;
- Get permission
If e-mail marketing is to prove effective, marketers must recognise that consumers regard their e-mail inbox as their personal domain, and not abuse this privilege (Chittenden and Rettie, 2003). The Law in the UK now states that permission must be obtained before emailing an account for commercial purposes (Gov.UK, 2018). Additionally, customers must have the option to ‘opt-out’ to no longer receive marketing emails from your business (Gov.UK, 2018).
- Subject lines matter
35% of people open emails based on the subject line (Talarico, 2016). As it is the first thing they see, its definitely worth putting some thought into those few characters. To improve open rates, Collis (2014) recommends using a clear subject line, less than fifty characters, which that tells the reader exactly what is inside the email, describing the benefit you are providing and creates an immediate emotion (curiosity, urgency, fear, etc) (Rampton, 2015).
- Strong Call to Actions
Write a concise email speaking directly to your audience with a strong call to action. For example, “Receive 30% off your next purchase” has a clear benefit and call to action. “Receive 30% off all dresses – today only” has an even stronger call to action as it is specific and time sensitive, causing the recipients to feel the immediate emotional appeal (Rampton, 2015).
While there may be a few calls to action in your email (follow, visit, call, buy etc.), it’s important not to confuse the recipients. Focus your messaging on one main call to action and others secondary (Talarico, 2016).
- Make sure it is mobile optimised
Its important to be aware of how your email is displayed on smartphones and tablets – and to make sure it’s optimised for these devices. Email’s opened on a mobile device have doubled over the past five years, according to a report released by data and email solutions provider Return Path (Nelson, 2017). The study analysed more than 27 billion email opens between May 2016 and April 2017. The results showed that 55% of emails analysed were opened on a mobile device. On the other hand, emails opened on an Internet browser, have dropped to 28%, and only 16% on a desktop (Nelson, 2017).
Tips for creating a mobile-friendly email include; using a single column template, using larger font, having a single call-to-action and being as concise as possible – both in the subject line and main body of text (Collins, 2014). Click to read the full study here.
Although email marketing can show significant returns on investment if leveraged correctly, the risks associated also need to be considered, see below:
Risks associated with Email Marketing
- Formatting issues – not all recipients will be able to view content (e.g. images/videos). Ensure you test your email marketing campaign on multiple platforms to ensure that it looks the way that you envisioned.
- SPAM – Commercial e-mails sent without the explicit permission of the receiver are referred to as SPAM (Morimoto and Chang, 2006). To reduce the amount of unwanted emails, many servers have filters in place to lessen the number of spam emails received. Try to avoid words that will cause your email to marked as SPAM, such as these 100 spam trigger words and phrases to avoid.
- Subscriber engagement decay – it is a common occurrence for recipients to start becoming inactive or unresponsive. To prevent this from happening, its important to stay on top of metrics and demographics, and to keep content fresh with strong call to actions.
- Data protection – to ensure your marketing complies with data protection law and good practice, click to read ICO’s email marketing checklist– ideal for small businesses.
Dawson, S. and Kim, M. (2010), “Cues on apparel web sites that trigger impulse purchases”, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management , Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 230-246
Campaign Monitor (2018). Top 8 email subject lines for increasing Open Rates. [online] Campaignmonitor.com. Available at: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2014/09/subject-line-formulas/ [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
Chittenden, L. and Rettie, R. (2003), “An evaluation of email marketing and factors affecting response”, Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing , Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 203-217.
Collis, M. (2014). 11 Remarkable Email Marketing Tips You Need to Implement Right Away. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-collis/11-remarkable-email-marke_1_b_5710091.html.
Gov.UK, (2018). Marketing and advertising: the law: Direct marketing – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/marketing-advertising-law/direct-marketing.
Nelson, J. (2017) Majority Of Emails Read On Mobile Devices. [online] Available at: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/304735/majority-of-emails-read-on-mobile-devices.html.
Rampton, J. (2015). Tips For A Successful Email Campaign. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2015/05/07/tips-for-a-successful-email-campaign/#12f7071e326d [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
Reimers, V., Chao, C. and Gorman, S. (2016). Permission email marketing and its influence on online shopping. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 28(2), pp.308-322.
Talarico, D. (2016). From inbox to enroll: Email marketing tips. Recruiting & Retaining Adult Learners, 18(11), pp.1-3.
Yapp, W. (2015). Driving Better Results Through Email Marketing. Franchising world, 47(5), p.50.