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Why you can't afford to ignore email...

October 28, 2014.

It's an accessible and rewarding communication channel, with 68% of marketers citing email as a tool that delivers excellent or good return on investment, yet a significant number of B2B organisations fail to grasp and harness its value. It's often seen as a dated channel, with far less hype than social media, or Pay Per Click. In my world, email marketing is the cooler big brother of these channels. It's been around longer and as such, it's more sophisticated. There's just so much you can do, if you can get around the common pitfalls.

Battling a bad reputation

It's no lie that we all get a lot of emails. With 1 in 12 of us receiving more than 100 emails a day. The volume of emails we receive, combined with poor messaging and clumsy segmentation are all big turn offs for business owners considering investing in email marketing. But, if we can put our personal feelings to one side – the right email, to the right person, at the right time can be extremely rewarding.

Instead, it's all too common for organisations to pile hours of employee time into sending out unsolicited, generic newsletters to questionable lists of email contacts via Outlook. With no strategy, testing or learning in place, precious time is being wasted and the reputation of email suffers. We're all too familiar with junk emails, but it's about recognising how you would do it well, and the impact it could make on your organisation.

Channel of choice

Email is a sleeping giant and has regained the top spot when it comes to performance delivery. Knocking SEO into second place, in this year's Email Industry Census from Econsultancy. It's done this because marketers appreciate its ability to produce significant, measurable results. We know that irrespective of your business size, model, industry, or customer type, email can be used to great affect.

Huge potential

When used well, email can be used for communicating targeted messages to your database in a personalised way. The opportunities for selling to, and re-engaging, target and existing customers are self-evident. According to the Email Industry Census, 33% of marketers who have built email campaigns incorporating advanced customer segmentation have seen an excellent return. As opposed to just 13% with those who don't segment at all. It creates results for those who have taken the time to adapt their activity to the changing expectations of their customers.

How to get started:

Email marketing can be a complex channel, but there are basic things you can do today that will get you going in the right direction that don't take huge amounts of time or money. Here's our round-up to start you off...

  1. Set objectives - What do you want your emails to achieve? Is it to drive traffic to your site, increase new customer conversion, improve engagement with existing customers? Plot these out as it'll help give your activity a sense of purpose and direction.
  2. Sign up to an email marketing provider - No more Outlook for you. MailChimp is a leading tool used by organisations and agencies alike to send best practice campaigns. You can use this to store and segment your data. It can also be integrated with your website, enabling you to directly add new customer email sign ups to your MailChimp email list.
  3. Segment your data - Your objectives will be different for your various customer groups. Can you split people by region, industry, size or by their relationship with your organisation? Segmenting and personalising your emails will improve the open and click through rates as you're making your content more tailored to who's receiving it.
  4. Identify key messages - Each segmented group will respond to different messages. You need to identify what will appeal most to each group in a way that will help you meet your various objectives above.
  5. Set up your templates - You can use the MailChimp template builder to create simple and effective campaigns that will be optimised for mobile devices automatically. You can simply add your content (full of your segmented messages), images and links to the key areas of your website.
  6. Test and preview - Tools like MailChimp enable you to test every email you send. You can see what works best on any particular segment by running an A/B test where MailChimp will send two different versions of your email to a percentage of your segment. It will then send the most successful version out to the rest of your segment once it's declared a winner, taking the guesswork out of the process.
  7. Send your email - Send your email to your target list once it's been checked and double checked.
  8. Measure the impact - Look at how many people are opening and clicking your emails. This will tell you how many people are finding your content engaging. By linking your email campaigns with your website's Google Analytics account, you'll be able to monitor the behaviour of your email visitors on the site and see how successful you've been at meeting your objectives.
  9. Collate the data - You'll want to keep track of the data relating to your emails. Whether you use a spreadsheet, or the reports within MailChimp, it's important to record the key stats so you can do comparative analysis on future campaigns.
  10. Refine and repeat - If something hasn't gone as well as you'd have hoped, don't keep doing it expecting a different outcome. Use the insights from the data you've gathered to refine your activity and improve your performance next time.

So much can be achieved with email. So we hope the ten steps above start to show you the best practice approach to getting started. We support clients with email every day. Whether that's a situation review of their current activity, writing a strategy, segmenting their data, or designing and writing effective campaigns, our specialists collaborate to produce results. If you'd like to talk to someone at Mackman about how we can help your email provide a significant return, simply get in touch by calling 01787 388038 or by emailing customerservice@mackmangroup.co.uk.

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We knew straight away that we wanted Mackman to be the brand agency to work with us on our project. We were given a real sense of confidence that they would do a great job and we were not proved wrong. We look forward to ‘growing together’ over years to come.
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