09 Nov 2016 19:34 IST

Nine ways to make email marketing work

Email marketing is the best resource for both, start-ups and established companies, especially e-retail ventures | Shutterstock

The best way to engage with your customer base is by sending them emails

Want to maintain a good relationship with your customers and clients? The best way to do so is by constantly keeping in touch with, and updating, them. Email is perhaps the easiest way to do this.

Email marketing is the best resource for both, start-ups and established companies, especially e-retail ventures. According to studies, the total number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from around 3.9 billion to over 4.9 billion accounts by the end of 2017.

In a 2015 study from BlueHornet, over 77 per cent of consumers buy products and services from marketing/advertising emails at least once a month or more.

Here are a few tips to make email marketing work for your brand or start-up.

Make it personal

Personalisation increases response rates tremendously. Whatever be your vertical, your customers would appreciate an email personalised for them, than a bulk mail that’s sent to everyone.

Use names in email messages and in subject lines to grab attention. Make sure you write the names correctly — you don’t want to send out an email with the wrong spelling. Emailing tools like Mail Chimp make it easy to do this.

Use interesting subject lines

People get a lot of emails every day and most of it goes unread. To get the attention of people, you need to write catchy subject lines. Make sure it isn’t too long. As per Marketing Sherpa, subject lines with nine to 10 words are the most ideal . Mailchimp too has some tips on how to write effective subject lines.

Foodpanda, an online food order website/app, has mastered this concept. They promoted a ‘Buy one, Get one free pizza’ uniquely. The challenge for them was to make people open emails with the same offer and same creative, one day after another. So what did they do? Used creative subject line, such as:

Pizza, Oh! Pizza, I love you, Pizza

All you need is Love &… PIZZA!

Invite your friends today — it’s Pizza Night again!

Did someone say free pizza?

Pollard’s throwing bats, we’re throwing offers!

Send a welcome email

If you have a prospective client or a new client, it is a good idea to send a welcome mail to them. Introduce them to your brand and tell your story with the very first email.

If you start by sending promotional emails, you won’t develop a lasting relationship with them. Keep in mind that this is the first email they will have received after signing up, so it is important to make an impression that counts.

According to Yourstory.com stats, subscribers who receive a welcome email show, on an average, 33 per cent more long-term engagement with that brand.

If you are using Wordpress, Gravity Forms can be an effective tool to send out automated emailers to new customers or new leads. Otherwise, tools like Mailchimp and Intercom (which can integrate into any site) can help automate this.

Write exciting content

People do not want to read long, boring copies on their emails. Open your email with compelling visuals, interesting text or some great offer. It is also a good idea to send them useful content or videos from your blog that they may be interested in. Your clients don not want to know about your offers and products all the time, so make your copy easy to scan by using short sentences, simple language, and bulleted lists.

Create a comprehensive database

In order for email marketing to be successful, you need to have a strong database. Build your own consumer directory by gaining their permission through your website.

To build this, you can use tools such as SumoMe ’s List Builder, which helps convert one-time visitors into lifelong readers and subscribers. Appropriate call-to-actions on your website can help further. Here are some more tips on how to build a strong email database .

Know your spam rules

The biggest problem about email marketing is the risk of spending all that time in creating the mail, only to have it end up in the spam folder! So before you start sending emails, read up on the spam rules. In India, there is no law as such, but the closest thing regulators have come to are certain provisions in the IT Act under section 79.

Have a strong call-to-action

No email marketing is complete without a call-to-action (CTA). Always include a CTA button in your mailers. Customise it to your audience and provide multiple links throughout the mail to make it easy for users to take action.

A CTA button increases click-through rates by making it clear to the reader what the next step should be. So while designing, make the CTA button prominent and use enticing words on it to encourage your readers to click.

Make the email responsive

Considering that many users will open the emails on their mobile phones, you need to make sure that the email is responsive to all devices — similar to your websites. This is a common mistake we see in emailer campaigns, where a promotional image is sent out optimised for a PC. But since these images are not responsive, when it is opened on a tab or a mobile phone, the text becomes illegible. While Gmail, Yahoo and other large email providers make it easy to design responsive emails, there can be challenges when they are received via Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.

Use email service providers to simplify

Email service providers are ideal for sending bulk emails. You can build email templates, personalise them, send and track your campaigns on a larger scale. Some elements can even be automated.

Here are two most popular service providers in the market that you can use:

Mail Chimp: MailChimp is the best tool for email marketing campaigns. It offers strong analytics package, full auto-responder functionality, and makes it easy to build, track, and segment campaigns. While you might need to pay for premium accounts, a basic one, which can send mails to 2,000 subscribers, is free.

SendGrid: SendGrid offers tools that make it effortless for developers and marketers to craft, segment, test, and successfully deliver emails. If you have a large database, SendGrid might be more cost effective too.

You may also find this detailed checklist for emailer marketing useful.