Effective email marketing

Customers spend more time online than ever before, so including commercial electronic messages in your marketing plan is a great idea. Email marketing provides New Zealand businesses with a direct line of communication to their existing contacts to keep them informed and promote new products, sales or services.


The basics of permission marketing

Market your messages smarter with efficient, cost-effective email marketing. This method helps to deliver tailored offers directly to your target audience. Mailing lists are great for promoting new products, business updates, sales and discounts, events or customer surveys. Plus, they are a great way to monitor what messages perform the best, providing feedback data about how you´re connecting with your subscribers through targeted emails. This data can assist marketers in gaining helpful insights for future email campaigns.

Email addresses are usually collected two ways:

  1. From the day-to-day of doing business, customer delivery or queries from the website.
  2. With customers' consent (usually when they buy something, contact you through your website for information or register for an event), they're prompted to consent to sign up for an account or to mailing lists to receive regular emails from your business.

Advantages of email marketing:

  • It's targeted. You know precisely at what point the customer is on their buyer's journey.
  • You can track the emails, as the email software you use can measure the number of contacts opening your mail and what link they clicked on.
  • It's excellent value for money and can be delivered quickly.
  • It's green (paper-free).
  • You can A/B test fast (try one email with Message A, send another with Message B, see which gets the best result).

Creating your e-newsletter

Many email providers allow you to create a template to collect the contact details of potential clients. For instance, you could register an account with MailchimpSmartmail ProHubSpot and Campaign Monitor. Some providers handle everything for you. For example, they may create a new site, send automated emails, post on social media, provide billing and payment support, and manage marketing automation.

Then you'll need to:

  • Create a signup or membership form on your website. So, when current contacts or potential customers visit for the first time and like what they see, they can opt-in to receive company communications to stay in the know about your brand.
  • Enable quality pop-ups on your website that appear after some time to prompt visitors to sign up.
  • Decide how often you'll be sending the newsletter. Companies typically send emails monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on how often your contacts consent to being contacted. Also, consider your workload(someone has to write the text and send it).
  • Decide if you want to categorise customers within your database by signing up for different emails. Where are your customers in the buyers' journey? For example, the language you use with an existing customer is not the same as how you communicate with a new lead.

Then write your first edition!

Writing an email

An e-newsletter should include personalisation and be relevant business communications that your contacts look forward to receiving. Focus on adding value by keeping it short and incorporate numerous concise sections broken up by images and graphics rather than large blocks of text. Maximise recipient engagement by including trivia, topical articles, product tips and support, and customer feedback, in addition to information on sales and new products and services.

Other tips for effective email marketing:

  • Include an unsubscribe function, so your contacts know it's easy to leave.
  • Tell the recipient who you are and include your branding, keeping critical design aspects consistent across emails (logo placement, font etc.) so customers recognise your business.
  • Apply the fundamental 'truth in advertising' doctrine. Don't over-promise or abuse the permission given by disguising why you're making contact.
  • Create clear calls to action in your email campaign, such as a link to further information, order here, enter to win, tell us what you think etc.
  • Provide links to your social media by profiling further information or ways to engage.

Finally, have an expert proofread the e-newsletter. Also, ensure the recipient can view it in various email programs or quickly download it from any email platform.

Monitoring the results

Like all marketing, it's helpful to measure if the tactics are working. If your email campaigns are working, then keep going; if not, then stop. Luckily with email marketing, you can determine if your efforts are worthwhile.

Some more email marketing tips:

  • Measuring performance is limited. For example, let's say your email marketing data revealed 18% of email recipients opened your email. But, unfortunately, it's impossible to determine if they read your email or whether they found it interesting or helpful.
  • The first metric that measures your email marketing success is the mail open rate. However, the ultimate responses marketers want to see is the click-through rate to your call to action.
  • Listen to any feedback and reassess your targeted emails to determine if you need to change the content or frequency.

Writing for online readers

Research shows that the majority of online readers simply scan text rather than read it word-by-word. Maximise the readability of your business emails and e-newsletters by:

  • Keeping sentences and paragraphs concise.
  • Using snappy headings and subheadings that pique interest. People tend to be doing several things when they are checking emails, so grab their attention.
  • Highlighting keywords and using bullet-point lists.
  • Talking to your audience with the jargon they know. Simple, everyday language works best for all audiences.
  • Sending emails with practical and valuable information (real stories and examples). 

Next steps

  • Ask colleagues and refer to other successful New Zealand businesses for ideas on what software solutions or technology they use.
  • Decide on an email marketing service provider.
  • Set out your strategy (tone, purpose, cadence, objectives).
  • If you're worried about sending spam or harvesting emails, check out the info administered by the Department of Internal Affairs Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.
  • Get more information on the benefits of email marketing by reviewing the resources inside Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp resources.
  • Compare the results of different email marketing campaigns to get a feel for what works and what doesn't for your audience.

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