Email marketing is one of the tools of outbound marketing and refers to the sending of emails for advertising purposes. This method has proven to be very effective, especially in the B2B sector, and can also be implemented by small companies without much effort. However, e-mail marketing does not enjoy too good a reputation, especially among customers from the private sector, and there are also some legal requirements that should be observed.
Companies now have a huge number of different marketing tools to choose from. Email marketing is one of the oldest and most proven of these tools, as it is one of the safest ways to send information to customers as part of an email campaign. Accordingly, nowadays there is hardly any company that does not send a newsletter or something similar to customers.
A great advantage of email marketing is that only existing customers are targeted with the advertising messages. Although there are also e-mail campaigns in which the information is sent to unknown recipients – so-called “spam” – such campaigns are not permitted in Germany. Regular e-mail marketing is about informing customers about new products, special offers and other interesting promotions. Therefore, it can be assumed here that recipients have at least some basic interest, even though not every piece of information may be relevant to them. This is also reflected in the probability with which the newsletter or message is read.
Email marketing also has the advantage of helping to build customer loyalty. A newsletter with interesting offers and information gives customers a sense of closeness. This is especially true for personalized online advertising. Accordingly, e-mail marketing or a newsletter should definitely be part of the CRM system.
However, e-mail marketing is not only very effective, but also very efficient, because suitable software is available for many tasks and areas. For example, there are various software tools for monitoring and analyzing e-mail campaigns, and software is also available for creating a campaign. In this way, content for the newsletter or any other message can be produced within a very short time, which complies with the rules of e-mail marketing and whose effect can be checked without much effort.
Email marketing practices
So, used correctly, email marketing can be very effective – but how do you achieve this? Several factors play a role here. First of all, it is necessary to determine who the recipient of the message should be in an e-mail campaign. A distinction is made here between one-to-one and one-to-many communication. In the former, a customer is addressed specifically and directly, for example with an offer tailored to his or her needs. Of course, this type of online marketing only makes sense if there is a realistic chance that the recipient will respond to the offer.
Due to the more individualized nature of the information, a one-to-one campaign is significantly more costly and should therefore only be used with caution. With one-to-many communication, the e-mail addresses a large number of customers at once, which usually makes this type of campaign very cost-effective. On the other hand, the recipients do not feel as personally addressed and the advertising message tends to fizzle out. Nevertheless, this variant is the most common method in email marketing, because its effectiveness can be significantly improved through various measures.
One of the most important elements is the subject line. This is where it is usually decided whether the recipient will open the message or whether the e-mail will end up unread in the virtual wastebasket. The subject line should reflect the content of the message as succinctly as possible, so that the reader can infer the content at a glance. With a subject like “A personal Christmas offer for you” or “5-euro voucher for your next purchase”, it is clear what the e-mail is about. With “Christmas is just around the corner – find out about our offer now”, on the other hand, most customers would probably stop reading halfway through and dispose of the e-mail. A personal address in the subject line can also help to make the e-mail more interesting for the recipient. Of course, this requires a well-maintained CRM system that can also assign a name to each e-mail address. A CRM system is also helpful for other elements of the e-mail, because it allows the message to be individualized, even if it is sent out en masse. This makes the email look more personal and customers are more inclined to take up one of the offers.
When it comes to the content, make sure to put the most important information at the beginning. This makes the relevance of the topic immediately clear to the reader. For example, if the legal requirements for thermal insulation in buildings have changed, this information can make an offer interesting even for those customers who actually already have thermal insulation. This information therefore belongs at the beginning of the e-mail, otherwise many potential customers may already be lost. The first information of an E-Mail has additionally special meaning. They must capture the reader and make him read the rest of the message. This can be achieved well with a personalized address and a clever selection of information. However, one should always keep in mind that most users now use mobile devices to send and receive emails. The space “above the fold” is therefore limited due to the comparatively small screens and the selection of topics must be done particularly carefully.
Another integral part of an email marketing campaign is calls to action, known as “call-to-action” in online marketing. After all, customers should not only be informed by a newsletter or other message, but also moved to take a certain action. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an order, registration for an online seminar, or a non-binding inquiry. Only when the customer responds to the e-mail has the campaign achieved its goal.
Images can also help clarify the advertising message. However, the images are usually retrieved online so as not to unnecessarily inflate the e-mail, and many e-mail programs prevent such content from being loaded. This problem can be worked around, however. By naming the images appropriately, readers can often still tell what the content is about – and maybe that will make them curious enough to load the images after all.
The option of a social media share can also help spread the advertising message further. If the email is well written and designed, customers may want to make friends or business partners aware of the offer via social media.
Email marketing and the legal regulations
In Germany, e-mail marketing is only permitted if the customer has expressly consented to receiving the e-mails. In order to safeguard themselves legally, many companies rely on the so-called “double opt-in procedure”. In contrast to the single opt-in process, customers must register to receive e-mails and confirm this registration again by e-mail. In this way, companies can prove that the registration was actually made by the customer.
At first glance, these requirements seem to severely limit the possibilities in e-mail marketing, but ultimately they only eliminate the part that is of no interest to most companies anyway: e-mail spamming. Sending e-mails en masse without the prior consent of recipients is known as spam and has a bad reputation. Spam can therefore damage a company’s reputation and has a very low success rate to boot.
Email marketing is a proven element in online marketing that can be used to reach a high percentage of addressees and improve customer condition. The prerequisites for this are a well-thought-out message structure and content with a high level of relevance for the target group. In addition, the legal regulations that apply in Germany must be observed.
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