Email marketing

Email marketing consists of commercial channel which is used to deliver offers, advertisements, education, and other marketing content directly to an email box of an interested user.

 

  • 82% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing
  • 75% of the revenue is generated by triggered campaigns
  • 53% of emails got opened on mobile devices
  • 33% of emails are attributed to iPhones

 

Cross-channel integration

Email channel involves also:

  • display and retargeting
  • SMS
  • mobile apps
  • direct mail
  • in-store
  • website
  • geo-location tracking
  • social media

 

Look alike audience for email marketing can be created from Facebook, where people showing similar patterns enter in a lookalike list.

 

Types of email

  • newsletter
  • product update
  • announcement
  • event invitation
  • social media updates
  • internal updates

Types of automated emails

  • welcome email
  • onboarding
  • confirmation email
  • form response or thank you
  • abandoned cart

 

Subscriber list

Contains contact information for all users who subscribed or requested emails and are allowed to be emailed.

 

Opt-in permission

There are two types of opt-ins:

  • single opt-in: is easy for the subscriber, allows an efficient list building, fewer lost emails, improves efficiency of emailing
  • double opt-in: list of higher quality, communication with the subscribers

Inbound email marketing

An email is inbound when it attracts highly qualified leads in an organic way.

It is valuable, because:

  • is easier to personalize
  • generates high ROI
  • gives fast, measurable and effective results
  • targets specific buyers
  • it is a low cost but high return channel
  • it is cheap in terms of CPL and CPA

 

Email marketing regulations

A lot of countries introduced marketing regulations precising what an email marketer is allowed to send and by which channel. These regulations reduce unwanted, abusive, fraudulent and other spammy types of email.

 

Data protection and email permissions

CAN-SPAM: it is the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act from 2002. It established certain mandatory opt-out practices and forces email senders to legally identify themselves. Constraints: the marketer must identify himself with a physical address, opt-in must be simple and opt-out must be honored in the time frame of 10 days, marketer can send correspondence to everyone who didn’t opt-out. subject line must reflect the content of the email.

CASL: Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation: from 2014. According to it, every marketer needs to obtain a permission from an user before they are allowed to send marketing material either by email or SMS. Constraints: email marketing can be only sent to users who gave specific consent, pre-checked box do not signify an express opt-in, implied opt-in and per-existing relationship is considered as a valid consent for the time period of 24 months, social media interactions are not considered as an opt-in, conditional opt-in is not valid. If not complying with CASL, a company faces severe penalties, it might be civil charges, criminal charges, personal liability for company staff, and penalties up to 10 millions USD.

GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation from European Union. It is recommended to familiarize with this legislation, and understand the impact they have on the email sending, if breached, the company can be reported for misuse. Constraints: marketers can only send emailing correspondence to people who explicitly requested to receive the content. All personal data cannot be shared outside the business and must be protected at minimum standards. Users can request access to their stored data at any time. Users may request to delete data at any time.

PCPD constraints: opt out at the collection point, the subscriber is informed why the information is gathered, emails can be only about similar product the subscriber signed for, opt-out in every email, opt-in valid only for 12 months.

Regulations are in place to make things simple and assure notice, transparency and choice.

Implied opt-in

It happens when an individual provides an email address during some form of bilateral communication or business communication, but not necessarily for the purpose of signing up to a mailing list.

(Download valid only if you subscribe to a newsletter)

 

Email marketing strategy

Key principles to build an effective email strategy:

  • segmentation: grouping similar users together and emailing them a relevant content based on the similarity criteria. Messages sent to targeted segments are perceived by recipients as more relevant.
    • segmentation by behavior change
    • segmentation by demographics
    • segmentation by job role, industry or company type
    • segmentation by purchase history
    • segmentation by a web traffic
    • segmentation by interest groups
    • segmentation by clicks and opens
  • timing: to increase opening rates. The audience should be tested to find the optimal sending time for the given audience. Emails sent between Tuesdays and Thursdays work best for B2B customers. Customers can be spread across different time zones – appropriate sending time should be scheduled.
  • personalization: gives an unique experience to the customer. Can be recommendation for a particular customer, addressing a customer by name, display of products based on customer’s viewing history
  • engagement: audience should be kept engaged by: welcoming new subscribers, setting expectations how often the subscribers will receive emails from the company, emails should be really simple, targeted segments should be created around individual experiences; audience needs to be tested; a deep data analysis should be performed.
  • analytics: email insights + campaign optimization leads to business growth. It is simple data driven analysis.

 

Email Service Providers

This are services operating and maintaining software and hardware for bulk email delivery. Email Service Providers provide a platform to manege and segment a contact list, to build email templates, to send and track campaigns on large scale.

 

Features provided by the Email Service Providers

  1. Contact data base: place where emails of subscribers are stocked, as well as other subscriber’s information. It is easy to add, edit and remove contacts from there.
  2. Personalization
  3. Tracking of behavior
  4. Creation of emails and landing pages
  5. Automation
  6. Segmentation
  7. Management of unsubscribes

EPS facilitate unique experience for the subscribers: by an operation of merging fields, such placeholders like email address and greeting can be populated from a data base.

 

Email automation

Facilitates a regular contact with the customer by sending them automated email messages in defined intervals of time.

 

Types of EPS

  • Gmail: over 1.2 billion of users, used for both, personal and business communication, features include strong spam filters, filters based on email type, import of contact lists, email forwarding, and a new feature “undo send”. Service integrates with G Suite tools.
  • Outlook
  • YahooMail
  • ZohoMail
  • Hubspot
  • ConstantContact
  • Radica
  • Mailchimp

 

Advantages of an ESP

  • white list for email broadcast: assurance that the email will be delivered to the intended recipient
  • deliverability deports: provides insights how the campaign performed: opening rate, unsubscribe rate, links clickability
  • ESP provisioning: domain, and IP: email can be sent from the domain name instead from free domain like gmail or hotmail. IP set up needs to be configured with ESP and domain service
  • MTA (enterprise Mail Transport Agents) configuration: removing sending limitations set up for free domains (gmail cansend 100 or 150 per day). ESP supports almost unlimited amount and large campaigns, with volumes counted in millions
  • handling bounces and complaints: automatic check if the email bounces back and removing it from future campaigns, also managing complaints from users

Limitations of an ESP

  • cost: ESP can be expensive and cost usually rises with the number of subscribers and frequency of emailing
  • no control over rate limits and volumes of sending: ESP controls amount of emails, so for big campaings it is important to choose a proper provider
  • restricted reporting and UI: cost of an ESP an grow depending of the number of subscribers

 

Data capture

Lead generation methods:

  • newsletter with relevant content
  • downloads (i.e. white paper)
  • coupons in offer
  • free trial of a product or service
  • placing of an order

Types of recipients:

  • new customer: company blog posts, company website, referrals, social media, partners and affiliates
  • existing customer: opt-in form data, purchase data, information from social media
  • evangelist: email campaign metrics, visits on site and logins, presence in social media: likes, following and retweets, purchasing history

 

Contact database: types of email lists

  • opt in
  • opt out
  • purchased
  • rented

How to build a subscriber list?

  1. Blog sign ups
  2. Sign ups to social media
  3. Offline events
  4. Partners
  5. Opt-in media type
  6. Referrals

 

The shorter the subscribe form(email only is the best), the better it is. With more fields to fill out the probability of getting a subscriber falls to 70% or even 30% (more than a field of email and name risks not to get a subscriber at all).

 

Data base should be managed by list segmentation: leads, subscribers, customers, competitors, partners, employees…

If the list is managed by email segmentation and contact management, it will result in higher opening rates, higher click-througn rate, less complaints, fewer unsubscribes.

 

Email design

Principal components of an email:

  • audience
    • use buyer’s journey to align emails to the exact, right audience:
      • new customer: awareness and interest: welcome email, promotional email, abandoned cart email
      • existing customer: consideration and conversion: regular newsletters, invitations to events, seasonal and holiday emails
      • evangelist: retention: product and content updates, content to download, content to share
    • example of using buyer’s journey to send right email to a right audience: name + age + career objective (career driven), lifestyle (likes fashion), buying behavior (wants to buy a new outfit)
  • subject line: determines if the customer will open the email at all. Should use a tone of urgency and a subject line which will prompt the user to open the email to find out more. Subject lines should be engaging and relevant to the recipient. Types of subject lines:
      • self interest: speaks directly to the user and shows what the user will gain directly by opening the email (“14 days to loose 5 kg”)
      • curiosity: no much information given away immediately, recipient is drawn to open the email (title line like in a newspaper). Curiosity prompts the user to open and read the content.
      • offer: when something is given away or sale option should be mentioned in the subject line. As everyone loves free stuff, this is a great way to prompt the recipient to open the email (20% off the regular price for a limited time). If the reader kows upfront what is provided, will open the email to use the offer.
      • urgency: the line tells the reader that he must act now or he will miss the deal. It is a powerful subject line, but should be used only when there is a real deadline or expiration.
      • humanity: adding a human appeal to the story. It allows the reader to believe that there is a human being behind the product or service. (“Why I hate…”). Using “I” is very important in this case.
      • news: latest news about the company or the newest features of a product. It drives up opening rates. It works well with the curiosity tone and let the reader know that there is something new, dive into the email and read more.
      • social proof: engaging social media into subject line (testimonials)
      • story: either telling the whole story or a beginning of it – draws the recipient to read more (I got a liposcuction and how I look like now). This is just a beginning of a story, if the reader is interested, will click for more.
  • copy: essentials:
    • grab attention
    • build anticipation
    • invite he reader to action
    • target the proper recipient
    • put social media links and unsubscribe option
      Guidelines to create a good email copy:

      • simple and strong: should capture reader’s attention and keep him interested
      • scannable: bullet points or subtitles help here a lot
      • more “you” and less “we”: message should focus on the readers’ needs and show how the email can solve his problems
      • benefits of reading the email should be clearly stated
      • content should align with the subject line, otherwise the reader will not take the action
      • knowledge of target market is necessary – what the audience wants and provide relevant content
      • singular goal: email should have only one goal, as clicking to the landing page
      • sense of urgency: user will be encouraged to take action immediately
  • design
    • value of design is very important:
      • enhances user’s experience
      • gives consistent experience
      • conveys the message in style
      • provides direct images and graphics
      • has visible CTA placements
      • drives conversions
    • identity
  • CTA
  • images

Legal requirements: postal address and unsubscribe link

Optional requirements: social media links, privacy policy of the company, stated reason why the user receives the email

 

Email design

The value of email design is inestimable.

  • user experience
  • consistent experience
  • placements of CTAs
  • direct images and graphics
  • conveys message in style
  • drives conversions

The email design needs to take under consideration company identity and color. The layout should be organized for quick reading and contain appropriate spaces. Content should be aligned and have well defined sections. Email should finish above the fold. The maximum width should be 600 pixels.

Fonts need to be easily readable and consistent (do not change styles), the best for the company is to brand the fonts and use the same all the time.

CTAs (Call to Action) should be based on the campaign which is running. The different types of CTAs are:

  • apply now
  • download now
  • book now
  • sign up
  • learn more
  • buy now

 

Guidelines for using CTAs:

  • they need to be easily visible
  • use a command (verb)
  • provide a sense of urgency
  • make it really obvious
  • set proper expectations
  • send the reader somewhere

 

Images

Considerations while using images:

  • images in an email shouldn’t be a replica of a brochure or shouldn’t look like a print mailer
  • not all ESP display images
  • if there is an abundance of images, emails can be qualified as a spam

Best practices for using images

  • use product photos
  • use assets of your brand
  • use pixel tracking images
  • size the images
  • use the rule “less than 25%”
  • always include alt and title text
  • do not trap messages