Whilst thinking of the possibilities for digital marketing techniques to help a local Brighton B&B I came to be thinking of my experiences of being targeted by Email marketing campaigns. My first thought came to the email address that I use to sign up to various websites or companies, and how it is littered with hundreds of unopened emails sent daily of various offers that I have neither the time nor the patience to sift through. This almost automatically put me off considering the technique as useful to a company looking to get results from this method. However, I have to admit, in moments of boredom I find myself scrolling through the recent emails and can’t seem to help but clicking on those that have a ‘50% off” or similar in there title, even if I had no intention before hand of buying anything. Whilst I find them an irritating extra (that is if you ever want to buy or sign up to anything online) I find myself signing up to more and more for those times where I want to be thrifty and hunt for a good deal. This view is what brought me to explore what makes email marketing successful and what it takes for a company to get results from this method.
Before embarking on an email campaign it is worth to note some key factors that could influence consumers choice of signing up to receive this correspondence or taking notice of it. Cases et al. (2009) identified three factors that could influence and effect sign up to receive email correspondence.
Perceived Privacy- emails classified as ‘spam’ can cause real concern for a consumers as they have no control over receiving them or how that company or website got their email account details. So this could cause worries of what other information can be accessed by the companies spamming them. An email inbox could be seen as a personal form of communicating so it may affect consumers attitudes towards advertising this way. However, there can be permission based emails that provide the consumer with the ability to opt in or out. Although, the willingness for a consumer to give sincere permission may lie with how much they trust that organisation. Some of these privacy issues can be addressed in what is offered through the website e.g. safe pay methods. (Cases et al. 2009)
Trust- Again works along with privacy in how much the consumer trusts the particular organisation. Perceived privacy is likely to culminate trust. (Chelleppa & Pavlou, 2002, as cited in Cases et al, 2009)
Attitude toward a website- Karson & Fisher (2005, as cited ibid) found that the design and layout of a website not only affected whether a consumer purchased an item on that usage and whether they would make a repeat return. Brunar & Kumar (2000, as cited ibid) showed that consumers attitudes towards a website have a positive and significant impact on web advertising effects which is similar to that in direct email marketing. This is due to companies often taking similar design to the website ‘spilling over the positive attitude’.
Showing that if you have a good website design set up with trustworthy sources it is likely to put a consumer at ease and more likely to read into email marketing. This should be something to consider before taking up an email marketing campaign.
The issue of ‘spam’ again irritates consumers, which gives an issue to those using permission based email marketing as it affects the message being viewed due to information overload. A company should note this before taking on email marketing as it can effect short term return on investment. (Pavlov, Melville & Plice, 2008)
Moving on to actually carrying out an email campaign. What does it take for a company to be successful? Chadwick & Doherty (2011) have several execution tactics that should be considered.
Knowing the target audience- Permission based emails are on the increase as it is found to create twice the return on investment than other forms of online marketing such as web banners and online directory adverts. (ibid) This is likely due to the fact it is permission based so people want to receive these emails, making it important to target the right people for building the database.
Subject Line- The subject line is possibly the most important part of the email as it is where it grabs the attention of the reader and determines whether its opened or ignored. Some examples are below. These all have potential to have something of interest or value to a consumer so are likely to act on it. A lot of them also have a time limit so there is a sense of urgency in using the deals. Other examples of good subject lines could be using humor, being controversial, personalizing, being mysterious, asking a question etc. (Word Stream, 2014)
Length of Email and message content- It obviously depends what sort of email that is being sent out but the majority will need all the relevant information to be viewed on the first page before scrolling as it is found that readers only scan and do not read the whole content. US News (2015) This makes it important for the right information to be easy to be picked up through a quick scan of the first page.
Some Good Examples…
This includes a personal message to the reader which is likely be valued by the recipient including an offer which is often gains interest. It is simple with only short bursts of relevant information so the reader doesn’t actually have to read it with an obvious call to action button. My preference is emails like this as I click out if there is any heavy reading.
This is another example of simple email that shows potential savings for its recipients with all the relevant information displayed on the first page. In my opinion these types of emails are the best to read as they do not hold a lot of information and generally have some form of usefulness; whether that be to buy something then and there of value, or to remember that the company have good deals in the future. It generally doesn’t irritate me to receive certain emails of this nature.
Timing when the messages are sent are also very important. Experian Marketing Services found that the ideal time to send email marketing messages is during the times of 8 pm until midnight with an open rate of 22% compared with 16% at 8 am until 12 pm. Buffer Social (2013) This is something to consider if a company was to execute an email marketing campaign.
Looking at several of these factors it shows there is an art to influencing people with email marketing that is very important. This will all be considered when creating the initiative for my chosen B&B in Brighton. Adding value and giving people deals seems to be an important part of email marketing as so many of the emails concentrate on this. Sifting through sales racks in overly busy high street shops is a thing of the past as it has been delivered straight to your inbox!
Buffer Social (2013) 8 effective email marketing strategies, backed by science. [Online] <https://blog.bufferapp.com/8-effective-email-strategies-backed-by-research> [accessed 14th February 2015]
Cases, A., Fournier, C., Dubois, P. & Tanner, J (2009) Web site spill over to email campaigns: The role of privacy, trust and shoppers’ attitudes. Journal of Business Research. Vol.63, No. 9-10.
Chadwick, F & Doherty, N (2011) Website Advertising: The role of email marketing. Journal of Business Research. Vol.65, No 6.
Marketing Cloud Blog (2015) Why birthday emails can be a retailers best friend. [Online] <http://www.responsys.com/blogs/nsm/email-marketing/birthday-emails-can-retailers-best-friend/> [accessed 14th February 2015]
Pavlov, O., Melville, N & Plice, R (2008) Toward a sustainable email marketing infrastructure. Journal of Business Research. Vol. 61, No. 11.
US News (2015) 8 tips for writing an email people will actually read. [Online] <http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/11/19/8-tips-for-writing-an-email-people-will-actually-read> [accessed 14th February 2015]
Word Stream (2014) The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates. [Online] <http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/03/31/> [accessed 14th February 2015]