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Back to Basics in Email Marketing

  |  April 23, 2012   |  Comments   |  

The key to this year's email marketing challenge.

Getting emails delivered remains the greatest challenges for marketers. Simple practices can easily be forgotten and the solution could sometimes be to look at the basics of direct marketing.

Email marketing is getting highly competitive and more complex as new opportunities arise. Social media, mobile applications, and new technical standards make it hard for marketers to keep up. At the same time, continuous irrelevant information makes recipients reluctant to the actual message.

Our clients all have various objectives and strategies. Companies used to think of the end result without having a strategy in place. This way of thinking is still present today. However we can see some maturity of the market.

As I meet new clients who want to get into the wonderful world of marketing, I always take time to listen and take notes about their strategy.

Two great examples I encountered recently include HKCSS (Hong Kong Council of Social Service), which told me it is currently working on a plan for better segmentation and more relevant content. The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has started testing its emails for different email clients and mobile devices before sending. Considering reading newsletters on mobile devices has increased over 200 percent in the last year alone. This is of great importance.

However, only 30 percent of all companies who deploy email marketing have a strategy in place that will help them to establish a long-term, valuable communication with their subscribers.

To make your email marketing successful, you don't only need to know what you want, but also how to get it. As the largest web-based email clients are all seeking to create a better email environment for their users, new challenges arise for email marketers. Algorithms to deliver only wanted content to end users means relevancy and compatibility is of increasing importance.

Simple yet effective strategies include split A/B testing, demographic segmentation, and browser and mobile testing. Most marketers know about these tools but are unaware of the difference they can make to their campaign (or in some cases even how to use them).

As time is often a commodity, the above mentioned strategies might not even be possible to deploy for all companies. However, we believe that some basic questions should always be asked in order to create a solid foundation for your email marketing strategy:

Am I sending relevant information? It may be convenient to send all the information you have to all the recipients in your address list. However, if a user of yours has purchased a pair of shoes for themselves, they might not necessarily be interested in receiving an offer for children's shoes.

What's in it for my subscribers? The subscriber should always be your number one concern. Not your company or your internal processes. Your primary concern should always be what your subscribers can gain from your newsletters. Before you send a newsletter, consider whether the mail contains concrete benefits to the reader.

Is my message crystal clear? What you are offering must be made clear. In the subject lines, in the headlines, in the links, and in the text. Your time to catch attention is limited, so be sure to be specific and enticing.

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Jonas Blanck

With more than a decade of experience in email marketing, Jonas has been working as CTO and business development at leading ESP, Apsis in Europe. As an avid entrepreneur, he took on the challenge of starting the operations in Asia and resides in Hong Kong since four years ago.     

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