We here at Forwardline Events came into contact with Market Location back in May this year. We are an Events Company that host Regional Business Growth and Development shows. We came with the view of using your facilities of data contacts to email out Invitation Campaigns and we also purchased telesales lists to use to call off as well. The service we received from Market Location was very through and professional, with constant contact with our Account Manager. The original outcome of the first email send was pretty good on a results side of things for us. We had lots of hits from our website and some telephone calls. In all we cannot fault the service that Market Location has offered us with the products we have used. Our account manager has been the best part of the whole relationship. She is a lovely, warm, friendly person that is really easy to talk to, listens to our needs and understands fully what we required from using you. She has been professional to the very letter but accommodating where she can with our needs. Looking at moving forward we would like to keep using Market Location for the services and products that they offer and the professionalism that comes from all the staff. Yours sincerely, Simon Harrington (Event Manager)
Email marketing allows businesses to engage with potential and current customers. However to achieve success, you need to follow these 12 simple steps.
Email marketing is a great way to make potential and current customers aware of what your business has to offer. However, due to the popularity of this medium, your message has to stand out from the ‘noise’ that now populates most people’s inbox. For this reason, above all other concerns, you need to ensure your email is well targeted and highly relevant. So, how can you maximise the visibility and responsiveness of your emails?
Here are 12 tips that will save your email campaigns from the trash and turn them into cash:
- Set Clear Goals – Define specific objectives for your campaign and set up goals and objectives that are clearly measurable.
- Segment Your Audience – Make sure your message matches what your audience wants. Segmenting your audience allows you to test different creative approaches, which you can then measure against each other.
- Grab Your Headline – Be clear and concise: you’ve only got seconds before your message ends up in the trash folder. You should look to avoid using capital letters and exclamation marks, as this looks unprofessional and may appear as spam to the recipient.
- Timing – Do you know what the optimum time is for your audience to see your message? It’s different for different businesses, but you need to see what works best for you.
- Branding – Make sure the ‘from’ includes your brand name, sent from an email address that’s your recognised domain. Use your logo and brand colours so your email is in sync with your brand. You should also ensure the language and tone is consistent across all your marketing collateral to maximise impact, and prevent brand confusion and dilution of message.
- Design – Sometimes very simple, uncluttered, text-based emails work best; but it depends on the objectives of the campaign. Test and test again – remembering that the message should be compatible across all devices. Images often don’t display, as they are stripped for security reasons – so you need to ensure your call to actions have text links to improve the click-throughs.
- Personalisation – When used in an appropriate way, there is nothing more powerful than personalisation for engaging with prospects. Using the name of the business or the contact, or indeed referencing the location of the business, all add an element of engagement and help your message stand out.
- Call To Action – What’s the point of your email? Make sure the action is clear and the response required simple. You are unlikely to elicit reams of information, so don’t include a long form for prospects to fill in (unless you incentivise completion).
- Effective Landing Page – Landing pages are a great way to measure your email campaigns. The best landing pages are distraction free, so just include the information required.
- Sharing – Make sure that you allow your email to be shared, by including links to social media and encouraging referrals. You could also try offering an incentive such as a discount for future purchases, if customers forward your message to spread awareness of your business.
- Tracking – This goes way beyond opens and clicks. Often the email is the starting point that may end in a purchase or some other ‘action’. Tracking these can help you to improve targeting next time around. It is also important to monitor social media to know what is being said about your business.
- Testing – The beauty of email marketing is the flexibility to test every aspect of the campaign without incurring huge costs. Everything can be tested to improve impact – from the audience, copy, creative, message, position of key calls to action, frequency of sends, timing etc.
Is Lack of Control an Issue?
If done correctly email marketing is very profitable. But does a lack of control with performance-based email marketing compromise business success?
Email marketing is without doubt a hugely successful approach for both retention and acquisition marketing. Techniques have now become very sophisticated, and integration with other marketing channels has maximised the potential returns from email marketing campaigns. In addition, the relatively low cost of testing what works (in terms of message, creative, target audience etc.) makes email marketing a very flexible way to refine your marketing activities and improve results. With its popularity continuing to increase, it is therefore not surprising that there are now several different models that are used to price email marketing – such as buying a managed service, or buying an email list or paying on a cost per lead basis. So, which one should you choose? On the surface, the cost per lead model seems a “no-brainer” – because you only pay for each lead generated, rather than for every prospect the email is sent to. However this increase in performance based marketing (lead generation on a cost per lead basis) does have some downsides. For example, a client will brief an agency on what is needed, and the agency will then source different providers to obtain the relevant email data needed for the campaigns. So far so good – but there are only a very limited number of data sources, although there are many email data providers to work with. In the end, working with multiple performance-based marketing agencies can lead to target customers receiving multiple examples of the same email, as each company is working in isolation from each other. This is about as far removed from good target marketing as you can get – and a total waste of money! Here is a real life example: At Market Location, we work directly with a blue chip client on customer acquisition email marketing campaigns. We provide email data for them to manage their own email sends, as well as direct mail and telemarketing data for their call centre. This is a tightly controlled environment; they only work with one data provider, so are able to ensure that any duplicate customers are removed and the recipient communication is fully managed. This seems straight forward enough, but then performance marketing is introduced – i.e. where the company pays other agencies on a cost per lead basis. What could be better for a client? Well, surprisingly perhaps, we also work with that same payment provider through a performance based agency. Although unusual, their different creative treatments are broadcast, and we are able to manage the number of emails a recipient receives. However, this is where it gets complicated: The client also works with two companies who licence our data on an ad hoc basis, and we have received the same performance brief through another two agencies that are offering the identical creative to what we are already sending. In other words, in the client’s eyes they are sending one or two emails a month to an individual, when in reality they could be sending as many as seven. These are, of course, just the ones that come across our desk – yet an email address is related to an individual, which means as well as it appearing on our database it could be on numerous others. How many emails could one person receive in a month?! Fighting a lack of control This lack of control is worrying. Clearly, the client wastes a lot of money. But in addition to that, the recipient who is receiving multiple emails is going to get annoyed. This ensures the message becomes diluted at the same time as making your business or brand look very unprofessional. Furthermore, a lack of management in regard to performance marketing also means that the client’s customers get a lot of prospecting emails. Ask yourself: is this okay? Of course it isn’t. Why on earth would you need to send multiple emails to the same recipient? Naturally this is a situation that could be easily rectified, but no one seems to want to. All a client would need to do is ask all their data suppliers to upload data to match and de-dupe against others and output the net records. This may cost the client extra money, but which client wouldn’t want to protect their brand?
Dear Angela, I would like to thank you for a very successful email campaign we recently commissioned through you. Your friendly and professional approach to managing our campaign made it a pleasure to deal with you. As Business Transfer Agents we look for owners interested in selling their business. With you and your design team’s help an email creative was designed targeting business owners in the Hair and Beauty sectors. Our campaign was sent three times to our target market, and each time we received incoming enquiries from potential vendors. The tracking data that was supplied after each campaign showed us which business owners had clicked through to our website, and this was very useful for follow up. As a result of this campaign we made a healthy return on our investment of £500 and we are happy to continue to commit to further campaigns with you in 2014. Kind Regards Darren Cooper (Director)
Help and advice with email marketing
Businesses use email marketing because it has many benefits over other marketing channels – and it works. In fact, recent figures from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) show email marketing has now overtaken direct mail in terms of volume.
1. It’s personalEmail offers you the opportunity to personalise your message to the recipient. Send them emails addressing them by name and give them offers targeted to their preferences.
2. It’s quickerDirect mail campaigns can be complex and time consuming. They typically taking more than a month to execute and then you’ve got to wait for the post to deliver it to the customer on top. It takes far less time to plan and execute an email campaign and you get your results back almost immediately. If you react quickly you’ll see the benefits to your business almost straight away!
3. It’s cheaperPostage costs will make up a significant portion of the total costs associated with a direct mail campaign. You don’t have postage costs with an email campaign and this makes it instantly much cheaper. With response rates often higher than direct mail, email will give you a better return on your investment.
4. It’s measurableEmail campaigns are fully trackable giving you complete visibility of your results. Being able to see exactly how many emails were delivered, opened and clicked on means you can test different campaigns and refine them to get the best response rates.
5. It helps build customer relationshipsBecause email communications are cheaper and easier to send, companies often use email to keep in regular contact with existing customers and this enables them to build stronger relationships with them. Email marketing is the ideal medium to update customers with time sensitive offers and product news.
We have worked with e-location since 2013 on our Citroen Vans Lead Gen campaigns and their performance has always been exceptional. The team at e-location have been doing their best to deliver the agreed lead volumes in the right time frame and through constant feedback and communication we have developed procedures to ensure delivery of high quality leads. It has been great pleasure working with e-location, one of our valued and high performing Lead Gen partners, as they are always willing to assist and do their best to ensure the successful completion of our campaigns. Yiota Papathoma (Affiliates & Digital Partnerships Planner)
Getting the marketing mix right
- Integrated campaigns can boost results by as much as 50 per cent
- An online/offline marketing mix can boost online by 62 per cent
How best to use email in your wider strategyThis may take a rethink of your current email marketing strategy. Integration does not simply mean carry on doing what you are doing with online and start an offline campaign. You need to mesh the two and make sure that they support each other. To do this most effectively, you will need to set some clear goals for your online strategy before complementing it with offline material – such as direct mail. To do this, you need to:
- Be objective
- Include content that is not about your company
- Stick with it (brand loyalty takes time to garner)
Backward engineering your campaignsNot everything starts with email, however. Businesses often have a number of other channels at their disposal and use them regularly. So, it makes sense to link promotions on these other channels back to your email newsletter, just as you would refer to your other content and promotions in a weekly or monthly email roundup. One of the key benefits of email marketing is loyalty. Once you get subscribers on board, they will stick by you. So pushing potential clients toward your email newsletters with other promotions – including direct mail – makes perfect sense.
1 – Tailor your content carefullyThis doesn’t mean creating bespoke email content for individuals, but instead ensuring your prospect is sent information which is relevant to them. You could be offering excellent products or services, but if your prospects don’t understand the value of what you are offering to their business, they are unlikely to show interest and make an enquiry. Be sure to use your email content to inform people of the benefits your services and products specifically offer them; giving a tailored message will significantly improve your campaign response rates and your email lead generation activity will flourish.
2 – Provide valueThough generating new leads and selling products will usually be the main reasons for an email campaign, don’t forget to give your recipients other forms of value; latest developments in your industry, news from your company, informative blog posts from your website. The more good, free content you can provide, the more they are likely to open your email, click the links and ultimately buy your product; it also forms the beginning of a strong relationship with businesses you hope will eventually become regular clients.
3 – Segment your customersIf you have a large email data list you want to contact, try to segment your data into smaller segments to ensure each prospect is targeted with the most suitable email content for them. For example, prospects could be segmented by location, size of business, financial turnover and industry. You can then email details of the most suitable product or service for them, by looking at your existing customer base and understanding what they look like and what they buy. By taking this step, you will make the recipient feel that they are being contacted for a good reason and are not being bombarded with irrelevant emails. Sending the right email to the right person within a company is vital for getting your message read and actioned. Get this wrong and all your hard work will be wasted. If you’re looking to purchase email data to contact, make sure you have the details of the Senior Decision Maker as they are most likely to be the person to decide what will be purchased.
4 – TestSending different email subject lines, designs and messages out to your email list is the best way to understand what works to generate response so you can maximise your ROI. Make sure this testing is carried out and recorded in a methodical way so that you can keep tabs on your results. Try to change only one variable each time you broadcast an email, so you can attribute any increase or decrease in response to the one thing you altered. Following these four steps will assist in turning an email data list into viable leads for your sales team to follow up with a phone call or a direct mail campaign. With initial contact, your aim will be to make a strong impression and lay the groundwork for further interaction.
What you need to do:
- Craft the content carefully: make sure the recipient understands why they’re receiving your email.
- Give value: if you’re looking to build a lasting business relationship, do more than just sell – give them something useful for free.
- Segment – get as specific as you can with your emailing in order to maximise conversion rates for different campaigns.
- Test, observe the results, and refine your approach accordingly.