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Email marketing - a tool so powerful you must use with care!

Email is now one of every internet user's regular applications and is accepted as a standard means of business communication.

Email marketing, as an active means of 'pushing' your products to a potential customer, receives more mixed views. The fact that email can be sent to massive numbers for minimal cost has lead to misuse, called spamming. Spam emails can generate active hostility among some recipients.  So companies that aim to create a loyal relationship with their present and potential customers must use this tool with care.

Only email those who have specifically subscribed to your newsletter

First you must ensure that all those to whom you send email shots have agreed to receive them. So you need an active policy to build up a list of subscribers to your newsletter. At the same time you must make it easy to unsubscribe from the mailings.

This requirement of permission-based email marketing creates a relationship with the recipient that enhances the value of  good practice and distinguishes it from traditional direct mail. Email can be truly interactive and the recipient has a constant right of veto. The direct result of poor practice and content will be that recipients unsubscribe.

Leverage the effectiveness of your website

Most websites are content to get a 1-2% response from visitors. That means over 98% don't respond. Rather than ignoring them, you should do all you can to persuade them to sign up for an email newsletter. After all, most of them are probably interested in your products or service; otherwise they would not have visited in the first instance. Perhaps they were just not ready to respond at the time.  Make it easy for them. Remind them of your existence. Stimulate their interest.

Of course, you must first give your contacts a good reason to agree to receive your messages. Proven incentives are:

  •  Sweepstakes.
  •  Low Price/Clearance Alerts
  •  'How To' Articles
  •  Industry Data

Then you must deliver, consistently, what you promised so as to enhance their trust.

Measure the results

Another measure of acceptance of your message is the proportion of recipients who actually open the email. The ability to measure this directly is part of the overall advantage of web marketing and requires, once again, the use of suitable reporting systems. And, of course, once the email is opened, you can also check the the success of any action you suggest such as a referral to your website or a special offer.

In summary, email marketing can provide a hugely valuable channel of communication with large numbers of customers. Successful strategies must be based on respect for the recipient to a significantly greater degree than for other traditional channels. Get it wrong, and you can do yourself active harm!



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