Email Marketing Strategy Guide


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Email Marketing Strategy Guide

  1. 1. Email Marketing Strategy Guide - 2007 Introduction In recent years Email Marketing has seen huge growth in the UK and worldwide. In this document we’ll look at the key areas of an Email Marketing Strategy and provide you with some guidance on how to produce your own in-house strategy. This document covers the following areas Where are you now? Setting targets and goals What you will need – Your Email Marketing Toolkit Define your campaign and plan for content Testing, monitoring and feedback Creating a strategy timetable Where are you now? It’s important that you start by identifying where you are now. This will involve looking at the types of marketing you already do and the resources you have available. Performing a quick stock take of your marketing will enable you to reap the rewards later. Start by creating an email marketing summary. If you are already email marketing then you will be able to look at all the areas identified below. If you’re not currently sending email campaigns, all you need to do is consider points 1, 3 and 4:
  2. 2. 1) Data o How many email addresses do you have? Break this down into customers and prospects if you can; o How did you acquire them? Or, if you do not currently have a database, how do you plan to acquire them in the future? o What are your best sources of new data? Is it your website, exhibitions, data purchase or referrals? o What types of people are in your database? Are there clear groups that you can segment your list into? Prospects and customers is a good start. 2) Current email marketing activity o If you already send email marketing campaigns or newsletters. How frequently do you send? o What types of email do you send? Include campaigns, sales promotions and one-offs; o What's your current email marketing budget? o How does your email perform? Include in this open, click and unsubscribe activity. 3) Access to resources What do you know about your overall marketing efforts? o What works and what doesn’t work in your market? o What staff or outside expertise do you have access to? o Who manages the email marketing process? o How do you determine what gets sent to whom, when, and how often? o 4) Other marketing o What other online marketing are you doing? Do you market your business via a website, display advertising or search engine marketing? o How well do your other forms of marketing perform? o Can you integrate your other forms of marketing with your email campaigns?
  3. 3. Setting Targets and Goals It is vitally important that you set clear and achievable goals before starting any email marketing campaign. This area is often neglected due to the low cost and ease of sending email marketing campaigns. If you identify your goals early on in the process you can more easily allocate budget and greatly increase your chances of long term success. Don’t forget that the key to email marketing is Return on Investment (ROI). So start by forming an ultimate goal. This may seem loose and frilly but the ultimate goal will help you identify milestones for your campaigns. The key question to ask yourself is what do you want email marketing to do for your business? For example your ultimate goal may be: “To increasing customer loyalty and promote better communication between your company and your customers.” Once you have identified your ultimate goal you can start to look at what needs to be done to achieve that goal. At this point you will need to start thinking quantitatively. Consider the following: o Database growth – how quickly do you need your list to grow and what size will it need to be in order for you to meet your ultimate goal? o What is the aim of your email marketing? Is it acquisition of new customers or retention of current customers? What figures do you expect to achieve, 80% retention or 20% sales growth for example? o Which email marketing metrics are important to your success? Open, click-through or conversion rates? Once you have considered these points you should set clear targets for each area. These targets should have time frames and be easily monitored by you or the person responsible for your email marketing.
  4. 4. What will you need – Your Email Marketing Toolkit The next thing you need to do is plan your email marketing toolkit. You will need the following: Item 1 - The Data o The database; o Online sign-up forms to collect new contacts; o Data capture sheets for exhibitions, meetings and networking events. Procedures for staff collecting data; o Opt-in/permission policies. Tell people that you wish to send them email marketing communications. Remember to keep it legal and follow best practices. Don’t forget! You can build up information about individuals over time. Consider asking for the essential data only to start with and then build. People are often very protective of their personal information until you have built up their trust. You can use the thank you pages on your website to collect additional data after the essential information has been collected. Item – 2 The Data Manager o You’ll need someone to be responsible for managing your data; o They will need to perform regular data cleansing tasks like bounce cleaning; o Most email marketing software will de-dupe and report on bounces. If you are not going to use email marketing software, how will you manage this process? Item 3 – The template design or designer o You may need someone to design your emails who has in-depth knowledge of creating HTML email marketing campaigns. o Your email marketing software may be able to help you create a branded template design that you can re-use.
  5. 5. Don’t forget! You need to test your designs to ensure that they view correctly in all of the different types of email client. For example Outlook, Outlook 2007, Lotus Notes, Yahoo, Hotmail, G-Mail etc. You also need to consider how your design will complement your website and other offline marketing materials. Email Service providers like NewZapp can help you do this. Item 4 - Delivery Software o Most email marketing software will deliver your emails in addition to helping you design and track. If you do not have email marketing software, how will you deliver all of your emails in a timely fashion? One of the benefits of email compared to other marketing channels is its speed of delivery. Can you send emails on mass and if so how many? If you want to deliver emails quickly it’s always a good idea to use a recognised email marketing provider like NewZapp; o You’ll need an unsubscribe process. Ideally this will automatically remove recipients that no longer wish to receive your emails. Most email marketing software will automate this process for you and protect you from accidentally sending to these people again. Don’t Forget! You are legally required to provide an unsubscribe process. Failure to do so can cause many issues for your business, such as IP blacklisting or at worst a fine and imprisonment.
  6. 6. Item 5 - Tracking and reporting software o You can track who opens your HTML emails and who clicks on the links. To do this you will need software that can create the tracking links and report on who did what, when and how many times. Most email marketing software will provide these tools. Don’t forget! You can use the tracking data to help learn more about your customers. You can also use this as a sales qualification tool. Item 6 – Forward to a friend tool. o The NewZapp design team can add a forward tool to your email designs. This will capture additional data and build your database through viral marketing; o If you are designing your own forward tool, allow the friend to add a personal message to the email before you forward it. This helps personalise the message for the new recipient and explain why they have received the email. It is also possible to add the option to sign- up to your email database; again this will help build your database.
  7. 7. Define your campaign and plan your content It’s important that you decide what type of email you will be sending and the content aims before starting your campaign. Although content is not always king in email marketing there is little doubt that it can make and break a campaign. There are two main types of email that you can use. These are: o Editorial; o Promotional. There are distinct differences between editorial email and promotional email. Editorial informs and educates your subscribers about your business and the industry in which you work. Promotional email is primarily concerned with promoting your products and services from a sales angle. Both have their place in the email marketing mix. Which type of email should you use? Like many marketing questions, the answer to this is “it depends”. If your overall target is to produce new leads for your sales team or convert more browsers into buyers then you may consider focusing on Promotional email. If your goal is to retain a greater number of customers and build your brand then you’re best to focus on editorial. The truth is there’s no right and wrong answer. Use your experience of the market to lead your decision. Most companies will run there email campaigns with a mix of both promotional and editorial emails. To help you make your decision we’ve created an email type table. This may help you identify what is best for your email campaigns.
  8. 8. Table 1: Email Type Email Type Examples / Description Pro’s Con’s Alerts, press releases, tip of the day Drives traffic to your Can suffer from poor Short editorial or week and product launches website performance if the target is to acquire new customers. These messages are short and to the Can be used to re- point. They inform your subscribers qualify leads. Limited space for additional about news and tips. The content information about your should be focused on editorial rather Builds relationships with business offers. than promotion. A suggested balance is your customers. around 70% editorial 30% promotion. Message must always focus “THIS IS NOT A SALES HAMMER” Can be used to build on editorial. Limits options your brand for selling Email newsletters, long press Drives traffic to your Can suffer from poor Long editorial releases and industry guides. website. performance if the target is to acquire new customers. This type of email allows you to write a Re-qualifies leads little bit more about your business. Message must always focus Many companies choose to send long Builds your brand on editorial. Limits options form editorial to customers and for selling prospects. Although this is not a sales Allows you to position pitch, you can utilise space on the email yourself/company as an Requires a large amount of to promote offers and buying expert. management because it information. needs fresh copy each time Can carry additional you send. sales information and offers. E-Cards, sale announcement and Drives traffic to specific If over used this can lead to Short promotional reminders. offers you are high unsubscribe rates. promoting Keep this type of email short and sweet. Easy to over work the The aim is to get the reader off the Creates direct sales. content and lose the key email as quick as possible. Take one message. key message and promote it. For Re-qualifies your leads. example “Buy this week and save 50%”. More likely to cause issues This type of email must have a clear Encourages reader with deliverability. Always benefit to the recipient. Simply sending interactivity. test your email creative your standard priced product promotion before sending the email. will not work and could lead to high Adds value to your unsubscribe rates. You can use this overall email strategy. Produces limited value for type of email to remind people that have your brand unless your dropped out of a sales process or Unique Sales Proposition is abandoned an online sales basket. your offers. Sales Letter and Catalogue email. Good for direct sales. Difficult to build long term Long promotional relationships with your This style of email allows you to present Allows you to explain subscribers. many benefits of your product or more complex products service. It also allows you to present or services. Focus on direct sales alone. many products on one email creative. This is ideal for products or services Allows you to present Can easily become too long that require more explanation. This form more information on and much of the information of email is direct sales driven so your your email creative. will not be viewable in the copy should reflect this. Think about preview screen. what you sell and the benefits of it.
  9. 9. Each of these email types has its place in your Email Marketing Strategy. The most important thing to consider is your targets and goals. Use the table to help guide you in the right direction. We always suggest using a combination of email types to maximise your success. Just like offline marketing it is important to create a full mix of communications; each of these communications should have an aim and always focus on meeting your specific targets. Testing, monitoring and feedback It is very important that you monitor your campaigns and feedback this information into your Email Marketing Strategy. This section introduces you to what you should monitor, what you should test and how to integrate feedback into your strategy. What you should monitor: Database growth; o Open rates; o Click-through rates; o Opt-out rates; o Bounce rates; o Sales from email; o Customer loyalty. o You should monitor each campaign on an individual basis. It is also important to look back at your campaigns and try to identify any changes to each area listed above. What you should test: Timing of email delivery. E.g. time of day, day of week, week of month; o Size of database. E.g. all contacts versus segmented database; o Type of email. E.g. promotional versus editorial; o Length of email. E.g. long promotional versus short promotional; o Subject line. E.g. branded subject line versus creative style subject line; o Sender name. E.g. Branded (Pepsi) versus individual name (John Smith). o
  10. 10. Useful questions to ask yourself: How quickly is your database growing or shrinking? o Are your read rates increasing or decreasing? o Are your click through rates increasing or decreasing? o Are your opt-out rates increasing or decreasing? o Are your bounce rates increasing or decreasing? o What is the value of sales made as a result of your email marketing? o Has your customer retention rate improved as a result of email marketing? o Are some types of email performing better or worse than others? o Which variables have a positive effect on email performance? E.g. time of o delivery, type of email, database size. Integrating feedback into your strategy The aim of monitoring is to identify clear patterns in your email marketing performance. Once you have identified these patterns you need to integrate them into your future strategy. The best way to do this is by adding a review stage to your strategy timetable. The next section of this document covers “creating a strategy timetable”. Before that we will look at how you can structure your review. Question everything! Where you have identified strengths and weaknesses you should seek to incorporate feedback into your strategy. This can be done by including improvement and best practice notes in your review documents. These will help you maintain a clear focus on what works best and what needs improving. Here are five questions you should ask yourself during your review: 1. Which email type contributed the most to achieving your targets? 2. Which email type has the highest opt-out rate? 3. What was your biggest email marketing success? 4. Did you make any blunders and why did they happen? 5. Which variables have you tested and what were the results?
  11. 11. Answering these questions may not be quick or easy. However, doing so will enable you to re-focus your strategy and ensure that you continue to improve on your results year after year. Creating a strategy timetable The timetable forms a key part of planning your strategy. It’s very important that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. Essentially the strategy timetable needs to include the following information. The tasks to be completed; o The time/date that each task must be completed by; o Who is responsible for the task; o Relationship between each task. Does one task rely on another? o It’s a good idea to plot out when you will be sending emails, the type of email and the target audience. Some companies go as far as publishing a content calendar to their database. This can be very beneficial as it tells your subscribers what they can expect from your email marketing over the coming months. It can also form an excellent motivator for internal staff to ensure that the communications are sent on time, every time. It’s vitally important that you stick to your timetable. Don’t forget to include time for reviewing your strategy. Once every six months should be adequate. This time can be used to reality check your strategy and to make any adjustments to future campaigns. Don’t forget! There’s a fine line between strategy and planning. It’s important to understand the difference between the two. Strategy is what you will be aiming to achieve and the overall structure of you plans. Planning is what you will do and when you will do it. Strategy incorporates planning and the two are vitally important to each other. Without a strategy there is no plan and without planning the strategy will never be realised.
  12. 12. The recap So, we’ve covered the various areas of creating, implementing and reviewing your own Email Marketing Strategy. There is no doubt that this will require hard work and commitment. However, the rewards for this time can be huge and in our experience Email Marketing is an excellent marketing channel and one that provides a wide range of opportunities to generate sales and improve your customer relationships. - Ends – If you would like to find out more about the products and services that NewZapp offer please visit our website at or call 0845 612 5544. About NewZapp NewZapp have been providing email marketing software since 2000. Based in the UK, NewZapp offers more than great Email Marketing Software, we also create branded templates that are tested through all major email clients and provide advice to each of our customers on maximising the success of their email marketing campaigns. The NewZapp software provides everything you need to create, send and track branded email campaigns for your business. Our customers choose NewZapp for its usability, reliability and excellent customer service. We hope this document has been of use to you and look forward to welcoming you as a NewZapp customer in the future.