In times of social media, AdWords and other successful marketing tools, email marketing tends to be neglected by many companies. A mistake, because newsletters are still among the most effective marketing tools in the online marketing mix. As a powerful, measurable means of communication that can be individually tuned to each recipient, it can be used equally well in the B2B as well as in the B2C area.
The Online Marketing Classic
Email marketing is one of the classic disciplines of online marketing. Customer contact is created by the sending of newsletters or other advertising emails. In practice, there are numerous fields of application: A typical example is the e-mail marketing of many online shops, which regularly inform their customers about offers and promotions after the first purchase. But in other industries, from retail and wholesale to the fitness center and ticket shop, e-mail marketing offers a great way to create regular and direct customer contact.
E-mail is a form of direct marketing, with a focus on expanding and maintaining existing customer contacts. Basically, one differentiates between two strategies:
- One-to-one communication: Here, the mail is directed by addressing and content specific to a single person.
- One-to-many communication: The mail is sent to any number of recipients.
Email marketing is often part of so-called dialogue marketing, which seeks direct contact with the customer. Traditionally, dialogue marketing takes place on the telephone, often via a call center. E-mail marketing also aims to address the customer directly and make offers tailored to his individual needs. The respective e-mail is also intended to trigger a reaction to the recipient: the possibility of an answer or a reaction, for example, via links or an order form is therefore emphasized more clearly than with other forms of advertising (eg billboard advertising, to which one can not react immediately), The so-called “Call to Action” is intended to motivate the recipient to take a specific action. This can be, for example, the call:
- Use promotions and discounts.
- to see new products in the shop.
- Recent articles on the homepage to read.
- or download whitepapers and e-books.
In addition, email marketing differentiates between newsletters and e-mails. As marketing tools, they differ mainly in the regularity in which they are sent. Newsletters are published regularly and recipients are contacted daily, weekly or monthly. E-mails are sent irregularly and are usually linked to a particular occasion or event. This event can be either seasonal (eg holidays, action days) or supply related (introduction of new products, the launch of a special promotion).
Challenge in Email Marketing
Advertising emails do not have the best reputation. The main reason for this is the increased amount of spam in recent years. In addition, more and more people are buying and reading online. Thus the own mail address ends up in the distributors more and more shops, blogs and other pages. The result is a full postbox. As a result, the recipients now decide within seconds whether to open an e-mail or delete it directly. Therefore, companies face a major challenge: newsletters or advertising emails must arouse the customer’s interest at first, as they are prepared for the target group and, ideally, tailored to the individual customer.
For companies, newsletters are particularly interesting because of their broad reach and the possibility of precise target group selection. In addition, they can be personalized by direct contact. This personalization also leads to relatively low wastage even with large recipient lists. Relevant content can be tailored to the recipient or recipient group. In combination, relevant content and low wastage result in a high return on investment (ROI). This means that the relationship between expense and revenue is very good.
In summary, email marketing says that it is …
… an efficient and cost-effective form of direct marketing.
… enables a direct and personal customer approach.
… is a tool for long-term customer loyalty.
… promotes sustainable customer relations.
… has a long reach (depending on the address stock).
… offers a high ROI.
The success of an e-mailing campaign or newsletter can be measured accurately. Because with appropriate tools can be tracked, who opens which mails and which links are clicked. The comprehensive evaluation of the individual campaigns enables a constant adaptation to the interested parties and customers.
Tips for Getting Started with Email Marketing
1. Generate Recipient List
To be able to start with his newsletter, you first need a list of recipients. Of course, if possible, it should be interested readers and thus also potential customers. The simplest way imaginable is to write down existing contacts. But beware: The sending of advertising e-mails is only permitted with the express consent of the recipient. To get this consent, there are different ways. Important here is the use of the so-called double-opt-in method. In the first step, the interested party enters their data in an application form. In a usually automatically generated confirmation e-mail, he has to press in the second step, that he actually wants to receive the newsletter.
2. Win New Subscribers
With existing contacts, one is on the safe side if one sends an email before sending the first newsletter and asks for confirmation of the future newsletter dispatch. Other ways to expand the list of recipients, the newsletter registration in the order process to integrate (“Yes, I would like to be regularly informed about offers and promotions”) or to place them directly on the homepage. To encourage new customers to subscribe to the newsletter, there are various strategies. Often an incentive is created by a new customer discount with entry into the newsletter. After confirming by the Double-Opt-In registration process, customers will receive a discount code. Also, the download of free materials like white paper or ebooks can be linked to newsletters and is a popular variation.
3. Choose the Appropriate Content
As mentioned above, the recipient often has a flood of promotional emails in the inbox. To stand out from this mass with your own newsletter is not easy. Relevant content is, therefore, the alpha and omega of every mail campaign. One should not only try to offer the customer added value but always address his individual needs. By matching content and offers to the target audience, you have a better chance of prevailing against the competition. Who wants to create a newsletter that is also read, should take that into account.
Who for example:
- increase its sales, should incorporate product offerings and discounts.
- strengthen its brand, should establish itself as an expert by providing relevant and trusted content and information, such as B. in a white paper provides.
- would like to enlarge its readership, should provide up-to-date news, relevant topics related to current affairs.
4. Pay Attention to the Design and Structure of the Newsletter
The best content is of little use if it is not presented in an appealing way. A uniform layout increases the recognition value and strengthens the corporate identity of the company. Already in the header, the company logo should be placed with a link to the website. Clarity and intuitive navigation are just as important as appropriate and legible fonts. When setting up and designing the mail you should always keep an eye on reader behavior. There are some basic rules to consider:
Placement in The Visible Area
As with the design of websites, the ” above-the-fold” principle applies to the newsletter. Many know this principle from the classic newspaper jargon. All important contents should lie above the so-called fold (page break) in order to be recognizable to the reader at first glance. Online, the principle, of course, means the limited viewing window of the browser (600 pixels). Also with the newsletter all-important contents, core statements and offers should lie in this visible range. Above all, the call-to-action, which motivates the reader to continue clicking, should be visible without scrolling.
Call to Action
The CTA (Call to Action), which has just been mentioned, has a particularly high priority in newsletter design and is, so to speak, the heart of the e-mail. Because only if the call to action is appealing, the customer clicks on. The design is variable, often button or font stand out clearly from the rest. The text should be short and clear. With just a sentence or a few words, you have to put your added value to the point and provide a good reason to keep on clicking.
Using Visual Stimuli
In addition to the content, structure, and placement of the CTA, of course, the design, ie the choice of colors and contrasts, is also one of the success factors. Click elements, CTAs, and special offers can be highlighted in color. With the help of deliberately set accents, the viewer’s attention can be specifically directed. At best you should focus on a single or a few highlights. Who uses pictures or graphics, should not neglect the alt texts. These are displayed alternatively if graphics are not displayed correctly. For example, if they praise a big discount promotion in the graphic, it should also be legible in the alt text.
5. Shipping: Check the Most Important Data
Before the newsletter is sent, you should once again check all the important factors
The date and time of departure should be adapted to the target group. B2B customers can be reached z. B. best during normal business hours between 9 and 18 clocks. Private consumers, however, are better addressed in the evening or weekend.
Correct Sender and Subject
The subject and sender are the first things the recipient sees. If these are not trustworthy, the mail lands quickly in the trash. The sender’s address should, therefore, be meaningful and unique. This can be achieved z. B. by the name of the company name. Equally clear and clear, the subject line should be designed. Through catchy formulations you motivate the recipient to open, on unnecessary phrases and many punctuations should be waived. In a maximum of 40-50 characters, use and relevance must be clear.
Most programs allow you to create different mailing lists that allow them to target a specific audience. Even before the newsletter is created, this target group is defined. Before shipping, you should check whether the correct recipient group has been selected.
Important Components of Each Newsletter
Just as important as the double-opt-in procedure for newsletter sign-up is the possibility for the customer to log out again. Therefore, in every e-mail should be linked to a deregistration option. In addition, according to Telemediengesetzt, a complete imprint is mandatory. Usually, this is placed in the footer area.
6. Send Test Mail
Before the mail is sent to the recipient list, you should also check the presentation and functionality of the newsletter and the links. The appearance may vary from email client to email client. This should be considered as well as the mobile view. Meanwhile, the majority of e-mails and newsletters are also opened on mobile devices. Of course, this changed user behavior must also be taken into account in the email marketing strategy. Responsive designs respond to the different screen sizes and show the user the adapted newsletter version for their device. When sending the test mail should at best be a test of the correct display on different devices.
7. Measure and Optimize Success
Thanks to various software solutions for e-mail marketing, it is possible to accurately measure success and continually optimize newsletter campaigns. Thanks to integrated tracking, all important key figures are provided when the newsletter is sent:
- delivery rate
- opening rate
- unsubscribe rate
- conversion rate
Thanks to these key figures, every company can carefully check whether the newsletter layout and content have also been prepared according to the target group. Gradually, you can improve and optimize, in the end, to work out the ideal marketing strategy for different groups of recipients. A popular way to optimize subject lines or content is AB testing. Two versions of the newsletter will be sent and then the reactions to the two different emails will be compared.
Analyzing the opening and clicking rates of your newsletter will help you measure the interest of your newsletter subscribers.
Fixed Part of The Marketing Mix
As a classic marketing tool, email marketing should be an integral part of any solid marketing mix. Well-thought-out email marketing enables individual customer contact and long-term success with the right tools. This form of online marketing becomes truly sustainable through personalization. It’s about more than just personal address and segmentation. Dialogue marketing works well, even if each dialogue is conducted individually and each customer is provided exactly the information he is looking for. Professional software solutions facilitate this endeavor.