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Enhance customer relationships with email

Email marketing has been utilised for a long time due to its success as a marketing medium. Martin Barnes from Create Click explains how to get started on your own email campaigns

Email marketing has been utilised for a long time due to its success as a marketing medium. Martin Barnes from Create Click explains how to get started on your own email campaigns.

There are more than 3.2 billion email accounts in the world and it's predicted that this will increase to 6.4 billion by 2016. With this in mind, the potential for email marketing as a way to communicate with your customers and convince them to buy and remain loyal to your brand is as important as ever. In 2012, 44 per cent of email recipients made at least one purchase based on a promotional email and 56 per cent of businesses said the company would increase their use of email marketing in 2013.

WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING?
Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your customers while promoting your business. Other marketing methods can be costly but email marketing is both cost effective and environmentally friendly, while enabling you to target specific markets and customers. There are many ways to use an email marketing campaign, from a welcome email that thanks a new contact for opting in to your subscription, to announcing products, services and discounting future purchases.

Choose software that is capable of functioning as your lists grow, that can also scan outgoing messages for viruses, and can measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Mail Chimp is probably one of the most well-known email marketing solutions and has 3.5 million users that collectively send over 4 billion emails a month.

BENEFITS OF EMAIL MARKETING

Sharing
The ability to share emails can increase your email marketing reach. Even if the direct recipient of your email isn't interested in what you have to offer, they can forward it on with ease to a friend or colleague who they think might be.

Feedback
Email marketing allows your customers to give you feedback in the form of a direct reply to the email you sent them. This information can then be used to see what works and what doesn't, so that your next email campaign can be more successful.

You can track your campaign's progress through the use of some useful statistics such as:
- How many emails have been delivered (delivery rate)
- How many emails have been opened (open rate)
- The number of click-through generated (click-through rate)
- How many people that go to your website and leave (bounce rate)
- How often a specific person opened your email.

List building
Building your own list internally can take time, however, the quality of your recipient list will remain relevant to your business. Make sure your home page includes an email sign-up form that allows people to sign-up to your mailing list themselves.

Keep an accurate audit of how your business receives permission to contact the subscribers of the lists as people can forget how they signed up. Make sure you delete those who know longer wish to receive your email campaigns.

APPEARANCE AND CONTENTS
Your email should be built with HTML and CSS, which will allow you to style your email to suit your business with images and logos. Plain text email campaigns can look bland and uninteresting which could turn customers off from wanting to buy.

TIP: Take a look at some of the promotional emails that you've received yourself recently to identify what you liked about it, and what you didn't!

Timing
Its important to decide how often you intend to send out this type of communication - there's a fine line between too many and not enough! Combining a mix of content at different times is usually acceptable to most customers who have opted in to your email list.

Make sure you have a variety of promotional and compelling editorial communication. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and ask yourself questions like: What is there to read about and respond to? Would I like to receive updates of when products are back in stock? When to send the email out is equally as important. Most emails have a life of only three days. Thus, if you're marketing to business people at their offices, sending early in the week is usually better than sending on a Friday. However, if you're marketing to individuals at home, it's best to send on a Saturday to be read leisurely over the weekend.

Title
The title of your email campaign is very significant. Subject lines of less than 10 characters have an open rate of 58 per cent and those that have personalised subject lines (for example those that were name specific "Hello with name") had an additional 22 per cent chance of being opened.

Try to keep your subject line short, sweet, and straight to the point while also being relevant to the market you're trying to target. Try not to use words like 'free' in the title as this can trigger spam filters.

Content
Make the content easy to scan quickly so the recipient can get the gist of the email without have to read it in full. Most recipients won't read every word until they've decided whether or not they're interested. Don't rely on your email's spell checker and ask someone else to proof read it for accuracy before sending. Keep scrolling to a minimum and make your call-to-action prominent and clear so that your audience knows what to do.

Make images and text clickable and direct customers through to a relevant landing page on your website. You've successfully got them to open and read it so don't allow them to lose interest by clicking through to a page that isn't relevant.

The bottom line
Every email that you send out should have your company's information on the bottom, giving potential customers a chance to learn more about your business as well as an 'opt-in' to get future emails. Provide recipients with a clear way to contact you for more information, including a staffed telephone number or email address.

Test before you send
First impressions really do count and you don't want anything to go wrong so test your email on yourself and a colleague to see how it looks on the receiving end. You won't get everything right first time, but it's important to use your campaign results to adapt and re-test in the future.

Create Click Ltd is a leading marketing agency based on the South Coast. Founded in 2012, Create Click offers a wide range of marketing serves including brand, illustration, graphic and print design, web, social, email and SEO.
T: +44 (0) 2392 876 030
E: hello@createclick.co.uk

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