Email marketing is a direct form of online marketing. With the consent of the recipient, a company has the opportunity to send its advertising material directly to its target group. The inexpensive alternative to print advertising is an important marketing tool for companies, preferably online shops. This is illustrated by the annual increase in the advertising budget of companies in this area. The classic form of email marketing is the newsletter.
E-mail marketing is often equated with sending newsletters. But e-mail marketing involves more than just sending regular newsletters to customers or prospects. In principle, any advertising or sales-promoting e-mail can be considered a component of e-mail marketing. This can be a reminder email about a shopping cart that has not been redeemed or a reference to a current campaign. Communication in e-mail marketing can take place between individuals (one-to-one) or between a company and entire groups of people (one-to-many). In principle, the consent of the recipient is required for the sending of advertising or information emails, since these emails can otherwise lead to warnings as unauthorized advertising.
Procedure for developing an email campaign
In order to arouse the interest of the reader, the introductory sentences of the letter must be particularly convincing. This is the only way to prevent the reading process from being aborted. Attention is still highest after opening the newsletter and decreases with each additional line. With print advertising, the approach is different. Here the tension can be built up to the end of the letter. The content should be kept short and formulated personally. The division into sections makes it easier to read and keeps the recipient happy.
The subject line also plays a special role. If it does not succeed in getting the recipient interested in the content, the campaign has failed to achieve its goals. The sending cycle should be chosen sensibly. Both a flood of information and too much time between the newsletters are disadvantages here. A separate cover letter for different target groups is useful in order to be able to convey the desired information in an even more targeted manner.
In order to enable continuous improvement of the newsletter, a thorough evaluation is essential. If the planned goals are missed, the causes must be sought.
The time of dispatch should also be included in the planning of the mail campaign. Is it better to send an email in the morning? Is it to be expected that the target group will be more likely to actively read emails on weekends? Although these questions cannot be answered unequivocally, they can be defined in advance and successively optimized through tests.
Email Marketing Goals
First and foremost, e-mail marketing pursues the goal of acquiring new customers and retaining them. Newsletters provide regular information about new products, upcoming events or internal changes. This integrates the recipient into the company. He is part of the company, if only indirectly at first, and this connection can grow stronger with each newsletter.
In addition, the branding of a brand should be improved. Appealing e-mail advertising is used to maintain the image of a product or an entire company or steer it in a completely new direction. A good image brings with it growing customer trust and an increasing market value. Last but not least, email marketing is also a popular tool for product and market research.
Advantages compared to print advertising
- No material costs
- Fast shipping and immediate customer response
- The higher interest of the customer, since the receipt of the newsletter was consented to
- Immediate success control through web analysis is possible
- Less lead time than print advertising
- Additional retargeting opportunities
Potential downsides of email marketing
- Due to the large number of advertising emails, mailings often receive little attention.
- Digital emails can easily be perceived as being of lesser value than print products.
- If the number of subscribers or recipients is high, the costs for e-mail marketing can also be higher.
- If the sending frequency is too high, recipients may become defensive.
Measuring the success of the marketing campaign
A successful campaign can be reflected in a selective increase in traffic to a website or manifest itself in increasing sales figures or conversion. The indicators Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Sale provide meaningful information. The prerequisite for success is that the e-mails arrive and that there are no bounce messages.
Tools such as MailChimp or HubSpot can be used in the implementation and follow-up of e-mail campaigns. However, it is also possible to provide all links in an e-mail campaign with URL parameters that can be evaluated by analysis tools such as Google Analytics.
A link with appropriate tracking parameters could look like this:
In this way, the traffic source and the campaigns could be specified in more detail in the web analysis tool.
An important KPI in email marketing is the so-called open rate. This basically includes all opened e-mails of a newsletter or a mailing. The open rate is given as a percentage and results from the number of emails opened divided by the total number of emails sent, multiplied by 100. Bounces are not included in the calculation.
An online shop sends 10,000 newsletters to its customers. Of these, 4,000 are actually opened. The open rate is then 40%.
However, unlike other tracking mechanisms, the open rate is a relative value. This is partly due to the tracking method itself. Normally, the opening of an e-mail is registered via a tracking pixel, i.e. a minimally sized image graphic. However, since many mail programs or retrieval via mobile devices do not open image data by default, it cannot be guaranteed that all openings have actually been tracked via the open rate. To refine the measurement method, it is usually also taken into account whether the recipient clicked on a link in the e-mail. This click can be taken as actual proof that a mailing has been opened.
Even if the percentage of the open rate is only a guideline, this KPI can help when comparing individual mailings. In a further step, for example, the opening rate can be optimized by encouraging the subject of the e-mail or newsletter to be opened and arousing the recipient’s interest.
An extension of the open rate is the click-to-open rate metric, or CTOR for short. This allows us to say something about the ratio of openings to clicks. In principle, it says nothing about the interaction with a mailing if a user has opened an e-mail. However, the CTOR can be used to determine how strong the interest in a mailing was or how effective it was to click on offers or links to further information.
Importance for online marketing
E-mail marketing is underestimated by many advertisers as a sales-promoting tool for customer retention. At the same time, the effort is often underestimated when mailings are set up. Because the success of an email campaign can be strongly influenced by many individual factors. The time of dispatch alone is an important criterion that should be included in the planning of the mail campaign. Addressing the target group and sending frequency also play an important role. Like all successful online marketing measures, e-mail marketing should also be carefully planned and designed. From a topic plan to the documentation of the emails sent to the segmentation of the recipients to the clarification of all legal requirements, all factors must be structured. Only then can all the advantages of digital “advertising mail” be optimally used, such as a comprehensive evaluation. All reporting results should then flow into the creation of follow-up emails in order to increase success in the long term.