Email marketing was once scoffed at as being the digital marketing equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall. In ye olden days of email marketing response rates could be less than 1%. The marketer would shrug their shoulders and be satisfied that at least it cost them next to nothing for the attempt.
Though in recent years email marketing has gotten a refreshing face-lift with updated functionality, strategic implementation, and a focus on cultivating high-quality leads. Today a properly constructed email marketing campaign stands as a core component for user engagement in just about any successful marketing plan.
Though to understand how to use digital marketing tools like email campaigns and eblasts effectively, we have to take a closer look at some important details. Not the least of which is the legalities of acquiring, harvesting, and targeting email contacts.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
Modern email marketing is a digital, direct engagement marketing channel that makes it easy for businesses to inform potential customers about their new products, services, and sales promotions. It is also a great vehicle for providing current loyal customers with updates to keep your company fresh in their minds.
The renaissance of email marketing is due in large part to a renewed focus on lead acquisition. The goal of any truly effective email marketing strategy is to harvest high-quality leads and engage them with quality content, sales promotions, and other enticing offers that increase the chance of them converting to active sales.
How to Acquire High-Quality Email Contacts
The FCC’s CAN-SPAM act altered the landscape for email marketing, email blasts, and digital marketing in general. While it’s not illegal to purchase e-mail lists, it might not be legal to use those lists for commercial digital marketing purposes. It also tends to not be all that effective when it comes to response rates.
This is why a lot of modern email marketers are leaning toward harvesting email addresses from landing page responses, promotional signups, subscription requests, and people who reply to exclusive offers. This gives the individual the opportunity to request you send them further information.
Not only does this check the box for the legal right to contact them, but it also means you are getting a far more qualified lead, to contact someone who has already demonstrated interest. This makes them far more likely to convert to an active sale and potentially loyal customers, compared to a random list of email addresses.
Different Types of Email Marketing
Email marketing has evolved into several different forms based on their strategic intent. Digital marketers use different approaches when crafting content and promotional information for each type, as well as the demographics they target.
Promotional Email Marketing
Promotional email marketing focuses on generating awareness for new product releases, exclusive content, webinars, and other customer engagement opportunities that are only available to email or newsletter subscribers.
These email marketing campaigns tend to consist of 3 to 10 emails sent to subscribers over the course of several days to perhaps two weeks.
All promotional emails have some form of call-to-action (CTA), which clearly outlines the specific action you want the reader to take, whether it’s visiting a page on your website or using a coupon to make a purchase.
Informational Email Marketing
The underlying goal of an information email marketing campaign is to supply existing loyal customers and interested potential new customers with important company updates. This usually comes in the form of newsletters that don’t have a specific CTA included. Though they help to keep your business present in the reader’s mind.
The interval for releasing informational newsletters tends to be weekly, bi-weekly, or sometimes even monthly.
Announcement Email Marketing Email
Announcement email marketing is in the same vein as informational campaigns, though they tend to focus more on new product releases, changes to the service, and community engagement about special events such as charities and community fundraisers.
Announcement email marketing can also be used to notify existing customers about things like an unforeseen technical problem on your website, shipping delays due to weather, or an outage in your system.
Re-Engagement Email Marketing
Re-engagement email marketing’s sole goal is to help your business reconnect with past customers and subscribers who haven’t been active within a specific timeframe. This window might be three months, six months, or perhaps a year.
The content strategy here is to refresh the target market on your presence. It can also dovetail with the same kind of content used in your informational, or promotional email marketing messages. This gives you a preconceived idea serving as a reason why you’re reaching out to them.
What Are The Best Eblast Platforms?
Eblast platforms are digital marketing platforms with all the tools, tracking information, and analytics to make e-mail marketing easy. They tend to be the preferred option for most small to medium businesses that don’t have their own in-house digital marketing department.
Right now MailChimp is arguably the best eblast platform for email marketing and a lot of other digital marketing campaigns. They offer some free plans that include up to 500 contacts with up to 2,500 monthly emails you can send.
MailChimp is also one of the easiest eblast platforms to use with drag-and-drop features that allow you to stylize your email content. Though their larger plans can be pricey, to the point where a lot of small businesses can’t readily afford their premium service.
Anyone in email marketing knows of Klaviyo. It has positioned itself as the leading platform for creating smart automations based on how your users engage with each email that has proven itself to increase your ROI. Typically this comes at a cost because their platform is a bit more expensive that others out there. The positive is it has multiple integrations with many other 3rd party platforms out there so you can have a well rounded intelligent marketing strategy with enhanced personalization so each email is extremely targeted to the individual user.
ActiveCampaign uses customer experience automation (CXA) which has hundreds of pre-built automation to help you personalize campaigns for each subscriber. They also have a ton of helpful guides that make it easy for you to use the platform.
They have four different tiers of service, each with its own cost and criteria. Though they tend to be far more affordable than MailChimp, which makes them a good starting point for a small business that just wants to get their feet wet in the world of email marketing.
MailerLite has continued to grow its presence as one of the easiest eblast and email marketing platforms. It has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that streamlines the process of creating the designing the message you want to send.
MailerLite offers a wide range of affordable plans. You can even set it up for monthly or annual fees with discounts available for the annual plan, and extended discounts for non-profit organizations.
Hubspot has positioned itself to be an all-in-one marketing suite. They offer great tools as well as reporting features that make it easy to track all of your marketing campaigns across various channels. Their scope goes beyond just email marketing to include website, social media marketing, and more. This comprehensive suite makes them a popular option for small businesses that have no in-house marketing capabilities.
They offer a 14-day free trial period. After that, there isn’t any sort of free-forever access to their platform. Though the starter fee schedule is reasonable, the Professional and Enterprise levels of their digital marketing tools tend to be costly for small business budgets.