Email marketing is one of the most trusted methods of communicating with customers. It can be used by companies of all sizes to bring targeted traffic to a website. You can use it to build a relationship with your clients through staying in touch regularly with updates, special offers or just keeping your company top of mind.
There are a few things to consider when using email marketing.
How often you send communications to your client will depend on the type of business you run and the purpose of your communication with your client.
If you are running an online shop with lots of different products, special offers or seasonal products you will need to keep in touch weekly or monthly with your clients. They will welcome the communication because they want to hear about the latest offer or discount that you are offering and understand that you are constantly updating your products and pricing.
Conversely, if you are an accountant offering tax services you will most likely be used by clients once a year at the end of the financial year. Clients will not want to be bombarded with emails about your services over and over again throughout the year as you will not be changing anything or offering anything new. When it gets closer to EOFY, you should be sending out regular emails, reminding people of your service, offering a deal or simply letting them know you are ready to do their tax return. If however you are an accountant that writes interesting articles about money management or runs seminars on managing the finances of a small business then you can email your clients more frequently as you are offering "value" to their business.
Extensive research has shown that different target audiences respond better to emails sent on certain days of the week or time of day. Generally Monday or the weekend is the worst time of the week to send a campaign out. After the weekend most people have full inboxes with a lot of spam and tend to delete anything not relevant to work straight away without reading it. Time of day is also important; early in the morning is a no no, for the same reason as the Monday delete. Most emails sent in the middle of the day, around lunchtime or early afternoon tend to have a better chance of being read as people have had or are having lunch and become more relaxed about their mail being spammed. This is all general advice though, your business may have clients that do not follow these trends and you may be targeting an audience that only opens emails on the weekend or early morning. The best advice we can offer is to test it, send out emails at different times of the day on different days of the week and see which has the best results.
Consistency is also an important factor in how successful your email marketing campaign is. If you want to build a regular following of your emails then you should send them out at the same time and day every week or month. After a time clients will expect your email and even look forward to receiving it.
As mentioned earlier, "Value" is what clients are looking for when they receive an email from a website they have visited or purchased from. You have to think about what your clients want to read and are interested in.
This is a tricky one, you have two choices when sending emails, plain text or HTML. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and which you choose will be decided by your business model, the information you need to impart and the technical expertise of the person putting the email together.
This is the most basic way to compose an email. Plain text emails, as the name suggests, are devoid of images, colour and most formatting techniques that can make an email 'pretty'. If you use this format you are restricted to the letters of the alphabet, one font, spacing, and hyperlinks. This sounds basic, but it is an effective way of communicating to the 'lowest common denominator' of technology. You don't need to test your emails across different platforms, email programs and monitors. Your emails will likely pass through spam filters with greater ease, and they are dead easy to create. Don't think for a minute that it is 'wrong' to use this more basic and visually unappealing format. Many large companies use plain text emails for all correspondence because of its compatibility, ease of creation and spam benefits. Here is an example of a plain text email:
Creating an email in HTML allows you to have much greater control of the formatting of your newsletter. Your email can contain:
Bold / Italic / Underlined text
Some control over choice of font
Greater control over hyperlinking
Here is an example of an html email:
Some of the main draw backs for a HTML newsletter are as follows:
They take more computer / design skill to create. If you are not overly 'tech-savvy' then there is a good chance you will need a designer or programmer to assist you (at least initially)
They are often larger for your recipients to download
They run a greater chance of being picked up by spam filters, compared with like for like content in plain text.
There may be compatibility issues with different computers / technologies so what you send may not be how it is received.
If you are using an Email Marketing tool they often provide you with a simple HTML template to use and other templates are available on the internet. BUT...editing HTML is not for the faint hearted and can be very frustrating and time consuming. It is always best to get an expert to help you.
It is important to get to know your audience and what they like to know. There is no point sending irrelevant emails to your clients, they will simply unsubscribe and your relationship with them will probably be damaged. Remember they have opted to receive mail from you so they are interested in what you have to say, sell or offer them, get it wrong the first time and you’ll have lost a client, however get it right and build a relationship with them and you have a potential referral network and ongoing database of clients who will come back to you time and again for your services.