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Email marketing: Gone with the wind

Are email marketers guilty of pressing the send button to a list of prospects that are not researched, then pray and hope to get the desired response?

We live in a day, where information overload is the order of the day, it's pure logic that most email account users when they check their mails, will first attend to the most urgent, then important and end with relevant (but not so urgent emails), all the ones that are not relevant get chucked to the delete folder, and inevitably end up being permanently deleted.

Email stats

According to UK 2013 Small and medium enterprises (SME) bench, emails only have a 54% delivery rate; this could be influenced by a number of factors such as the sender address, the domain, privacy restrictions, and the design and compatibility of the email sent. The study also found the open rate was only 21.47%, with just over a 3% click-through rate, 0.47%, unsubscription rate and 2.29% unsubscribe-to-open.

With these startling low numbers, even if the messages do reach the inbox, and are successfully read, if they are sent to the wrong target audience, then as a marketer you have already gone off track, unless by some unforeseen luck it's referred to a more relevant recipient.

This highlights the importance of Segmentation, which is a critical part of any marketing strategy and this can be achieved by doing proper research on the target market: who are you trying to reach, what are their needs and are you addressing those needs?

For me, email marketing is still an effective form of advertising, it might not be as popular as the go-to social media platforms, but with a proper strategy followed through, it's able get the goal in the post. One of the advantages of using email marketing is that it remains one of the cheapest and measurable forms of advertising.

Relevant mail

As a marketer for John Crane, a global market leader in the sealing industry, our core business is to manufacture mechanical seals, couplings, seal support systems and gland packing. Our company was named after one of its founders. Today, I still get approached, or receive email campaigns trying to sell overhead cranes to me.

This might have something to do with our brand name, but it immediately shows the lack of research done on the part of the marketer. If you are trying to approach or market to a prospect, the primary foundation as a starting point would be to do proper research of your target market, find out who they are, what they do and what their DNA make-up is and what drives them, this will enable you to build some credibility, which will allow you the platform to take the conversation forward.

As a marketer, I get emails prompting me to purchase or hire plant equipment for the milling industry, unless I'm the head of operations or specialise in that specific industry, this adds no value in my life; also what relevance is the product(s)-in crime, to what I do as a brand ambassador of John Crane or to our core business, how do any of these products meet my business plan or the company's needs?

On the contrary, a campaign inviting me to attend a conference on the latest marketing strategies to drive our business forward or how we can improve our BBBEE status as a business has a higher chance of getting my attention, as it's in line with business objectives. An invitation to advertise our product offering to an engineering publication, relevant to my business, would be another area of interest.

The point I'm making is how often are you sold or convinced to buy something that is contrary to what your business does or is contrary to your own personal needs as a consumer? You'd agree with me, that the marketer instead of optimising their brand presence, would have already lost all credibility.

Tips for campaigns

Every email campaign must have an objective that it aims to achieve; secondly, it must have the correct segmentation strategy. The email campaign must address the audience's needs or solve a specific problem. The same resonates true in a (B2C) business to consumer scenario. The right message must get to the right person, this being said, a 10% discount for an overhead crane in the next two weeks, won't have me jumping for joy.

Email advertisers have the opportunity to reach a substantial number of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e. consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them, as emails provides you the most direct line of communication for conversion to sales, which is why the most savvy online marketers have no intention of giving it up any time soon.

My five tips for your next email campaign

    1. Set a goal for the campaign
    2. Segmentation - understand your market and the needs of your markets
    3. Come up with a catchy subject title
    4. The content - follow the Kiss principle: keep it short and simple. The purpose of the message must be clear, and it must be a call for action. It must answer the SO WHAT question.5. The design and the layout of your email. Ensure the visibility of your logo for brand optimisation.

With an effective email campaign, you can build lasting relationships, establish trust and solve problems. Like a recipe, you need to have the right ingredients working together.

About Tralone Khoza

Tralone is a writer, marketer, loves anything, marketing, brands and PR related. She has a BA communication degree and holds a post graduate diploma in Marketing (IMM). Twitter: @TraloneK

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