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eMail Marketing

If there is one certainty about the uncertain world of the Internet, people use e-mail. A recent study noted that 98% percent of online users use e-mail. Millions of messages are transmitted over networks all over the world. One of the ways you can capitalize on this vast mountain of potential is to master the skills of e-mail marketing.

What E-mail Marketing Is

E-mail marketing is interaction, speed, depth, and communication. No other medium has the power of allowing businesses to communicate with existing and potential customers like e-mail. It has the ability to produce interaction with people in all facets of life from business to school to home. It enables messages to be sent businesses to business, consumer to business, and so on. Thus, e-mail produces a quick pathway of feedback in helping marketers translate data into measurable and meaningful information. Lastly, soon a day will come when people will not ask, do you have an e-mail address? But rather, which e-mail address should I send it to?

What E-mail marketing Is Not

In the beginning, it was common for businesses to send unsolicited commercial e-mail, known as spam. Thousands of lists were created from unsuspecting individuals at Internet newsgroups and sold for profit.

Unfortunately, spam is like anything else -- 98% of people use it wisely and generally have good intentions. It is the 2% that see it as pathway of gold and use it unyielding. Spam isn’t going away anytime soon because many still feel that people want to be sent information even though they do not ask for it. Although, if your ultimate goal is to be a legitimate and credible business, it will serve your best interest to avoid it.

Implementing E-mail marketing strategies
Permission Marketing

It is possible to send unsolicited e-mails to the Internet community without causing irritation or objections. It can be carefully done through using opt-in e-mail marketing. There are many direct marketing groups that specialize in sending e-mail solicitations to people who showed interest in a particular subject or service.

One of the most popular opt-in list providers is PostMasterDirect.com

Here are some others:

www.Yesmail.com
www.BulletMail.com
www.XactMail.com

Costs vary. Generally expect to pay between 20 to 30 cents per name. Also, most companies require a minimum order of names.

E-mail Follow up

One of the best ways you can solidify a business relationship is sending a thank you letter or any additional information to a customer who purchased something or requested information. The difference in effectiveness between in-house lists and outsource lists is non-comparable. Experts say that people who have already shown an interest in a particular area are more likely to appreciate periodic follow-up material. Unlike bought lists, the messages sent to people may cause little action for the money you spent.For example, a customer at one time may like a particular gadget, but at any time lose interest. Thus any e-mail or message sent to them will be non-effective, or even worse cause irritation.
When you send follow up or information e-mails, it will help you to follow these simple rules:

Subject Lines Rule:

Subject lines are extremely important because they are the gatekeepers of the message you are sending. The goal of your subject line is to compel your audience to take action and open it. It isn’t worth it to deceive your customers. (Every customer -- even current customers -- should be treated like they are potential customers. You will lose plenty of customers without helping them do it.) They will only resent it and your company will only look bad in the process. The key is to be simple and give your “potential” customers reason to click and read it.

Punctuation Rule:

Your content should be polished and provide the exact information your customers want. This isn’t a time to attract negative attention to your business. Just like the old saying, no news is good news. If people respond to your e-mails because of poor punctuation, you would have fared better not to even send it.

Simple Rule:

Present your offer or news so that your audience can easily understand the message. Also, always include your contact information.

Measurability Rule:

If you stay disciplined and consistent with your e-mails, you will be able to track your lead generation and, more importantly, your conversion rates.

Viral Marketing

Hotmail started the viral marketing concept. They implemented a tag at the bottom of every e-mail sent offering a free e-mail account. Experts say this type of marketing is best utilized when quantity is the desired result -- not quality. This is a great example of creativity that you can use to implement new ideas into your e-mail marketing strategies.

Rich Media E-mails

Rich media e-mails include audio, video, or animation features. The greatest benefit to utilizing this new technology is it increases interactivity between advertisers and the audience. Also, it increases the ability to extend the marketing message. According to Brady Brewer with Avenue.com, rich media is “more likely to have pass-along value, thereby extending the reach of the marketer’s message.”

Although many statistics show the effectiveness of this medium, with its 7 percent click-through ratio, it is still in its infancy because of the cost. According to Jupiter Communications the per-customer acquisition cost of marketers when using rich media e-mail ranges from $70 to $100.

However, costs for implementing rich media fluctuate depending on the company’s goals. Furthermore, cost is decreasing on the whole. The media type and the complexity of the message being represented will affect the bulk of fees. The main thing to keep in mind is that the creative content needs to be valuable to the user and reflect the quality of the brand.

Consistent Overall Message

One of the most effective pathways to a successful e-mail marketing campaign is to be consistent among all your media messages. According to Jupiter’s research, businesses can increase the value of their e-mail marketing to consumers by integration across media channels and data. They also advised that companies maintain consistency across all media. The tone and message of the email should be parallel with the look and feel of print, banner and broadcast campaigns. A survey by Jupiter showed that 49 percent of online consumers surveyed said that if they had seen an ad or commercial for the company or product recently, they were more likely to respond to an e-mail marketing message.

Facts and Statistics

  • eMail Marketing Report says that e-mail advertising will grow from 3% of total web advertising dollars in 1999 to 15% in 2003.
  • The e-mail marketing industry will soar to a $4.8 billion industry by 2004, according to a report by Forrester Research.
  • The commercial e-mail market will soar to an estimated $7.3 billion in 2005, cannibalizing direct mail revenues by 13 percent, according to research by Jupiter Communications.
  • Jupiter estimates that commercial e-mail spending will grow from $164 million in 1999 to $7.3 billion in 2005.
  • According to Jupiter, the average number of commercial e-mail messages that US online consumers receive per year will increase from 40 in 1999 to more than 1,600 in 2005; non-marketing and personal correspondence will more than double from approximately 1,750 in 1999 to almost 4,000 in 2005.
  • Approximately $603 million was spent on direct marketing through the Internet in 1998. This number will climb to $5.3 billion by 2003, reports The Direct Marketing Association.

Pros and Cons

E-mail marketing in many ways resembles a double-edged sword. On one side you have the ability to create a sharp-edged marketing campaign to promote your business cost effectively. On the other, you can ruin your business image and branding by not following rules of professionalism e-mail netiquette.

Editorial

There are numerous reasons why it is effective to use e-marketing strategies through e-mail. First of all, not only do you have an opportunity to promote specific products and services, but it’s also important to expand non-commerce communications as well.

Secondly, as customers fill out forms, purchase items, or make information requests, they should be instantly acknowledged with a “thank you.”

Thirdly, all communication -- including in your e-mail marketing campaign -- should represent your company as an expert and a leader in the industry. Rick Bruno, vice president of IMT Strategies' interactive marketing strategies group said, “Compared to click-through rates on banners, which are still clustered under 2 percent, e-mail click-through rates show a wide variance of effectiveness based on best practices.”


Develop and maintain your e-mail marketing advantage by communicating with your “potential” customers. Engage your audience with creativity and focus on their needs. As you mold your objectives, maintain a consistent message, and track your efforts, you will attain high levels of success built on the cemented foundations of customer relations.

 
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