Monday, 4 March 2013

A Few Things About Email Marketing or Direct Emails

First thing first, let me give you a simple definition of email marketing. An email, it could be graphics intensive or a simple HTML mail, sent to a person with the intention of getting a response that may yield a commercial gain, and when such emails are sent to numerous recipients then it’s called email marketing.


That being said, let’s now move on to what comprises email marketing. There are three main aspects of email marketing:

Creation of an email list: It’s basically a list of names and email addresses that the marketer has to prepare through a collection. The general norm in the collection process includes offering a subscription where visitors willing give out their personal details to get desired information periodically.

Design of the email content: The overall layout of emails is designed keeping in mind whether they are for a general purpose or for meeting individual needs.

Newsletters and email RSS feeds are two examples of the general type where everyone receives the same email. This type is generally used for making announcements and proliferating ideas or concepts, and targets wider demography.

Note: Some websites do give their readers choices with respect to newsletters.

Personalized emails are used by marketers when they are targeting demography with heterogeneous needs. In other words, emails are designed considering the need of each individual or what each individual has opted to receive. The best example is those promotional emails about discounts, new products or special offers sent out by eCommerce sites to their registered users based on what they-registered users- have purchased earlier.

Regardless of what the type is, they are all promotional in nature. They could look like a web page or a simple text rich HTML email, or just a plain text email.

The sending of the emails: People don’t like unsolicited emails, and sending emails to unwilling people is a big waste of time and money, and it’s also unlawful. This is the reason why emails are sent to people who opt-in to receive such emails.

There are laws that have laid a few ground rules for commercial emails, and marketers do need to follow them; a few examples, the Spam Act 2003 (Australia) and CAN-SPAM Act 2003 (USA).

Email marketing for bloggers:

It’s a fact that most bloggers use some form of email marketing to promote their content. And RSS-to-Email is a popular way among bloggers in which the RSS feeds content of a blog is directly sent to subscribers’ email addresses. 

Sending newsletters is another form of email marketing popular among bloggers. The meaning of a newsletter has branched out from its traditional meaning all thanks to the way it has been used by bloggers. An email newsletter in the world of blogging generally means a compilation of blog post excerpts that are sent out to subscribers periodically. 

Positive aspects of email marketing from a blogger’s point of view:

  • Email marketing is probably the oldest way to notify blog readers about new blog posts; it’s also cheap, free when using the services of FeedBurner.
  • Email marketing targets people who are more likely to be receptive towards the promoted content.
  • No one wants to give out their email address that easy; so when you are getting subscribers who are willing to receive your emails, you are actually getting dedicated (assumption) followers of your blog.
  • Email marketing gives you a list of names and email addresses, which you can use to send out special announcements and non-spammy, non-commercial messages other than regular blog post updates; example, message about you taking a holiday and for that you won’t be able to update your blog for a few days.

Other positive aspects of email marketing:

ECommerce sites drive their sales through email marketing campaigns by announcing special offers, price slashes or discounts.

There are dedicated third party service providers who take care of everything from creating an email list through designing the layout of the email to sending the emails to prospects. Mail-Chimp is one such service provider that provides an array of services, which includes 12000 free emails per month.

Various online businesses use email marketing to increase their brand awareness.

According to icontact.com, more than 90% of adult internet users maintain at least one email account; there are three times more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook combined, which means there’s still a lot more scoop for email marketing than we think.

A few misconceptions regarding email marketing:

1) All promotional emails end up in the spam folder: The truth is that there are laws like the CAN-SPAM Act that have laid the standards for commercial emails. Marketers who follow such standards are legit, but that doesn’t guarantee their emails will go straight into the Inbox.

Most current email service providers have spam-filters, but they can also figure out legit commercial emails.

2) It’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign: The truth is that there are different metrics like the popular open rate metric to analyze a campaign. Other popular metrics other than the open rate metric are bounce rate, delivery rate, click through rate (CTR), etc.

The percentage of total email sent opened by the recipients is the open rate metric. An open is registered when an image is enabled or a link is activated.

3) Simple text emails don’t work well: Most popular email clients and ESPs block images in an email by default unless the user allows them; it’s bad news for people who put a lot of images in their emails.

Coming back to simple text emails; they do work because of their simplicity, which gives them a clean image. And it’s also easier for various email clients and ESPs to render simple text emails as compared to those that are heavy on graphics.

4) The idea that email marketing is outdated or has lost its sheen is preposterous as the daily email traffic is more than 150 billion as of now, and the figure is expected to grow in coming years.

Drop in your thought in the comment box and tell us what you think of email marketing.

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