Emails are a tried and tested marketing tool, but some fine-tuning can help you get the most out of them
When looking at an email marketing strategy it’s vital to think about the audience you are aiming at. Editorially led emails are becoming more and more popular, with a magazine-style format that appeals to the reader with design and content. Emails can be a good way to personalise the brand and the design of the email should reflect this and encourage interaction with the reader, building trust and familiarity with that brand.
Emails should always be sent in both html and text formats but Andy Francis, co-founder of email marketing firm E-style, says emails should be sent out in as many formats as possible including a web, a print and a pdf version.
When it comes to the subject line of an email, Francis says it should always correspond to the content of the email, whether that be an offer, a news piece or a competition. In order to get through spam filters he advises avoiding words like ‘special offer’ or ‘winner’ in the subject line. Stephen Dale, sales manager of email marketing company Emailvision, whose clients including Mulberry and Kurt Geiger, agrees but also adds that ‘Sale’ and ‘bargain’ are words to avoid.
How often marketing emails should be sent depends on the brand and the offer, but generally the maximum should be once a day. Dale encourages a process known as a triggered lifestyle campaign where systems look at the data and behaviour of a user and generate emails accordingly. For example, if a date of birth is specified in the sign-up process, emails can then be sent to give that customer a birthday discount, or if a customer has not been back to the site for a while an email offer can be sent encouraging them to come back.
E-style offers a preference manager as part of its service, where customers can upload personal details and choose what emails they receive and when. This gives the customer control over the relationship with the retailer and makes them feel more comfortable about signing up for emails.
Once emails have been sent, the most important thing to analyse is the open and click rates. These rates can vary depending on the size of the data list and type of email but the stats give a good indication of what is working and what the audience is wanting to see more of. As Francis says: “A click is like your customer talking to you - be reactive, see what is working and do more of it.” l