7 questions, 7 answers – effective email marketing

22.08.2016 by Kristjan Raude

A lot of people think that emails are a thing of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth. How often do people read the newspaper, watch TV, browse social media? Emails are yet another in that list of nearly everyone’s day-to-day activities. Smartphones have kept this messaging medium alive and stronger than ever.

Most of us receive a lot of emails during the day. If you want that ad you sent out (and the links within it) to be opened, its contents should have quality and be relatable to the reader. But how to achieve that?

An interview with our CEO

Geenius.ee is the most popular tech news website in Estonia. Together with a renowned local web hosting company Veebimajutus, they run a blog that tackles a variety of issues and questions concerning the digital world, involving experts from various involved fields offering tips and tricks of the trade.

The end of summer 2016 was dedicated on the website to the topic of e-mail marketing. One of the posts on the subject was an interview the CEO and strategist of WSI Online Estonia, Kristjan-Paul Raude. The full interview is as follows.

What is the first question that a marketer should ask oneself, before sending an e-mail ad?

Why exactly am I doing this and who is my target? That means finding what exactly would make the receiver open that email and read through it.

What are the biggest flaws that people make with email marketing?

Usually, the first mistake people make is simply not understanding what email marketing is. It is not spam, it’s permission-based marketing, which means creating a base of engaged contacts and communicating with them by e-mail.

The second mistake is if you don’t use it at all. What people don’t realize is that e-mail marketing is one of the most inexpensive communication channels.

A third typical mistake is thinking that you should send a sales offer to your whole contact base – if you püewfp

What are the advantages that e-mail marketing has over examples like leaflets, text messages or a Facebook campaign?

Leaflets and Facebook campaigns are likely made to grow your brand or gather contacts (or sales). But e-mail marketing is similar in goals to text message marketing. What are the biggest advantages of email marketing?

  1. Can be accurately measured based on contacts
  2. Can be efficiently directed according to all data
  3. Can use visuals to make information more interesting, which is an advantage over text messaging

But what about disadvantages when comparing to these solutions?

E-mail marketing aka permission-based marketing is not an effective way to gather new contacts. It excellent primarily for managing communication with the contact base that you already have. If a campaign’s goal is to collect new contacts, then e-mails just aren’t the proper channel for it.

Have we reached an era where emails are getting old, and other channels have become more efficient?

On the contrary, this is a time for new possibilities for marketers when it comes to sending emails, thanks to the development of technology. Marketing automation is one of these possibilities. Depending on how much you’ve segmented your contacts and what they do with the email (read, click and so on), one can create rules for what to with these contacts next (e.g., automatic notification to the salesperson, sending out automated sales emails, etc.)

Gathering and expert management of your contact base are definitely one of the best marketing tactics.

What should a good marketing email look like? There should be a proper greeting and no slang, anything else that’s important?

A good marketing email offers value. A business owner gets hundreds of emails per day. Why would yours be the one that should be opened and clicked through? It needs a clear purpose, and it needn’t always be a sales offer. It might include some valuable information for the client instead. Slang or pictures or no, a lot of design or minimal HTML text – there is no particular rule here. What is important is to test and see what works the best in your field.

Could you give an example of an actual right or bad marketing email, with a small explanation?

It might be misleading to try and give some good universal example since a unified standard example is not what I would suggest. I’d prefer to give a checklist for oneself for whenever you want to send an email:

  1. Is the email directed towards a particular segment of your contact base? Like those who are in the middle of the sales process, those who are regular customers, those who’ve purchased product A or category B, and so on.
  2. Does your email have a clear purpose? Like cleaning the client base, branding, sales, after-sales service, a thank you note after a purchase, cross-sales, campaigns, etc.
  3. Does the email have relatable and exciting contents? When writing content, think about buyer personas – what kind of messages interest what type of people?
  4. Is the email personalized? A proper email is not only the one that greets the receiver by name. It should include dynamic content based on segment, with personal offers and information (like pictures, text sections, etc.)
  5. Can the email be read on a smart device?
  6. How suitable is the subject line? That is what most often decides if the email is going to be opened or not.
  7. Can the email be read easily and skimmed? Check for space, use of pictures and text.
  8. Does the email include too many pictures? Depending on the speed of the internet, downloading images might take a while.
  9. If you direct your contacts to a landing page, does it scale for a smart device?
  10. Test! Test the subject line, contents, message, pictures. Test one thing at a time.

Good email marketing helps you to use the full potential of your contact base (or grow it fast, if you still lack it). If you need assistance or advice on how to make email marketing work for your business, contact us!

©2016 WWW Marketing OÜ