Email marketing is an extremely effective tool in the online marketing mix, thus, a good reason why you should always try to make most use of it.
Generate opt-ins at all relevant touch points
The structure of a distribution list plays a decisive role in email marketing. Therefore, consider carefully at which touch points contacts with customers or potential customers come about, but generate opt-ins wherever possible. Offer the customer, for instance, a newsletter after a sale, as at that point confidence and interest are very high and a new customer can be pleased with shopping ideas.
The newsletter should be prominently and well placed on the home page in the form of a link in the navigation panel or a direct input field. For immediate visibility, make use of popular keywords such as "Newsletter" and don’t hide it in sub-categories such as service or contact. Opt-ins can even be generated from contacts of the companies own social media profiles.
In addition you may want to use incentives to interest users in a subscription. Shopping or discount vouchers make sense as well, as they attract not just mere subscribers but those with real buying interest, or even entice with competition services. Information or offers that are available only by email and provide the incentive of premium services are an interesting alternative, too.
Integrate social media
The integration of social media and email marketing is suited not only for opt-in generation. Actually the two channels offer a variety of real entry points for synergy effects. Email can provide an important stimulus for the initiation of dialogues in social network, which is why for both channels an integrated dialogue strategy should be pursued.
An easy to implement instrument is the integration of ‘Share With Your Network’ (SYWN) functions in the newsletter that allow to share content from the newsletter on social network with a click of a button - for example, posting it on the Facebook wall. In turn, social networks provide important content such as reviews, opinions and timeliness that can be included in the email dialogue.
Use transaction emails
A majority of email communication consists of so-called transaction emails that are triggered automated by the incidence of an occurrence – the transaction of a user - containing information that is directly related to the respective event. Among the best known forms are order confirmations and shipping notifications.
Transaction emails enjoy a higher-than-average attention, thus, opening rates of up to 80% are not uncommon. The high advertence is due to the fact that the user considers transaction emails as customer service that gives him more relevant and personalized information. Besides that, transaction messages are often expected by the receiver. Prerequisite for high attention is, of course, that the timing and motivation of the transaction email is properly chosen.
In principle, transaction messages may only contain non-promotional information. However, exceptions prove the rule, so under strict legal requirements, transaction emails can be used e.g. for cross- or up-sell offers.
Observe the legal framework requirement
Not only the promotional use of transaction emails requires an accurate knowledge of the legal groundwork, thus, it is important to scrupulously adhere to the legal framework when collecting personally identifiable user data. However, the legally secure handling of data is not just a chore, but a key competitive advantage - even in the face of rising public awareness of privacy issues.
Send unusual trigger mails
Trigger messages are used by many vendors to congratulate, for instance, customers on their birthday or to send holiday-related offers. But while the tenth Christmas mailing probably bores a customer, more attention is guaranteed when you surprise them to an unusual event: an email to the name day, the anniversary of the initial purchase or the "birthday" of a product ("iPhone5 turns one year") could be effective and appropriate triggers.
However, the content must be interesting or at least entertaining. Who has to report only simple product offerings, will disappoint quickly at the moment of high attention.
By Daniela La Marca