Email marketing is one of today's more efficient and accessible ways of advertising. In terms of global reach, it remains the most cost-effective marketing strategy at your disposal. Some companies have phased out their more traditional marketing approaches such as billboards, cold calls, and ads in the Yellow Pages, in order to experience an 'instant gratification' effect from their marketing efforts. Even the smallest businesses have turned to email marketing to help boost sales and revenue.
Email Marketing is Not Spam!
First off, when I refer to email marketing, I am not referring to spam. A proper email-marketing campaign is targeted to people who want to hear about your products and services; typically, these are current customers, prospective customers, or members, if you work in an association. Email marketing is part of a marketing and communications function and should only be executed if you have permission from your contacts.
If you do not have a properly developed list of contacts who have agreed to hear from you, and you go down the route of blasting unsolicited emails... well, you've effectively let the world know that you don't want any friends. If however you want to learn more about the right way to execute email marketing campaigns, then read on.
A good starting point is to get hold of an email marketing and communication system that has the ability to publish a large number of emails to a specified contact list, store demographic data, and track the results from your campaigns. I'm partial to the InSite Message Information System (IMIS) because it does everything you'd expect an email campaign system to do - plus, it generates instant reports on relevant information such as send rates or link-through rates, and it ties all of your campaign data back into contact information and message history.
InSite Messages is a heaven-sent solution whenever I manage online marketing campaigns for survey participation. We also used it to help bring in registrants for our spring and fall conventions, product releases, publication sales, and weekly newsletters to our members. The only thing to remember about bulk emails is this: be mindful about sending meaningful information. Don't inundate your customers' inbox with emails containing unnecessary messages.
Why Email Marketing and Communication?
- It doesn't clog your company mail server
- It's extremely cost-effective and sometimes even FREE
- Outbound emails can be scheduled and sent automatically
- Take advantage of email message templates for a professional look
- Manage your contacts, distribution lists, and subscription links
- Edit your content directly or insert content from external feeds
- Easy to read, up-to-the-minute reports
Beyond the Basics
Beyond basic email marketing communications, many news services are now using email campaign management software to send news and bulletins to subscribers. A good email campaign management system will allow you to insert RSS feeds directly into the page that will be emailed to subscription lists. All you have to do is indicate what feeds you want included on your page. You can then schedule when the message or bulletin will be sent, and the feeds will be emailed on a single page to your subscribers.
Of course this works well if you have a list of subscribers. If you are using a tool like InSite Messages, you can manage contacts and subscribers and assign contacts to any number of lists. Once your contacts are in the system, you can easily set up unsubscribe links in the body of your messages. If a contact no longer wants to receive emails from you, he can simply click the unsubscribe link and the email campaign software will remove him from future mailings.
Below, I have outlined a summary of a few ways businesses and organizations use email campaign software to communicate and market to their stakeholders.
Customer Newsletters and Bulletins: Online e-newsletters and bulletins are a great way to connect with customers on new programs, products, and services, as well as communicate other important information about your organization.
Employee Newsletters and Bulletins: Internal communication is an important and often overlooked function. Email blasts to employees on new programs, initiatives, products. and services can be a very effective way to communicate what is going on in your organization.
Email Marketing Campaigns: Email marketing campaigns are a great way to market new programs, products, services and communicate other important information to your customers.
News Services and Announcements: Email event notifications and announcements are also important to communicate to your customers and prospects.
Press and Media Releases: Public Relations companies have really picked up on email campaign software to streamline the design and distribution of professional press releases. With a click of a button media contacts can be notified immediately.
Whichever direction you decide to take your email marketing, you are sure to keep your customers in the loop and up-to-date on what is going on in your organization. And at the very least it proves you are alive and well and flowing with the ever-changing tides of technology.
About the Author
Anna Atherton is a contributing writer and research consultant to InSite Information Systems, a pioneer of online survey solutions and customer-based cloud computing information systems and market research applications. Anna has worked in the market research and technology sector for over 10 years and has written extensively on the topics of customer surveys, employee surveys, and market research applications.
InSite is an award-winning global leader in cloud-based management information systems that allow you to connect, engage, and relate to your customers and employees. The company has offices in North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. InSite specializes in the development and delivery of customer information systems and human resource information systems to hundreds of clients worldwide, including Nestlé, Disney, University of Houston, Talisman Energy, Via Rail Canada, LG Mobile Phones, and ABC News.