Email Marketing is not CRM; treat this as the most precise communication weapon that you have in your arsenal. EMails are personal and if used using “Recency” concept can deliver fantastic results. This is a bit of cliche, but studies have shown that personalized attention and getting to know when to connect with the consumer increases attachment and relationship (Marketingsherpa). And therefore EMail Marketing.
The conversion of an EMail campaign to a established base can be as high as 4-5% (and more) depending on the product category, which makes it even better than Search Engine Marketing. There are few other advantages…
1. The media spend spend is 0, you will spend only in technology to maintain the Email Platform and maintaining the response and conversion data.
2. EMail Marketing is also insulated from the bid fluctuation due to competition, and therefore the inconsistencies of the response and expected conversion.
3. The targeting is more precise, as the data is completely yours. Ideally you should have all the information- right from age to location and his buying pattern. Targeting coupled with right product mix would work wonders for the business.
4. Faster turnaround and results. SEM campaign will take 2-3 days to kick off, whereas Email can start getting your responses and conversion from the next day itself.
However, before an eMarketeer would reach this ideal stage (where he exactly knows who is he targeting), there’s lot of groundwork to be done. An Email infrastructure requires an immense Technology backbone, coupled with data mining & history of communication plan. The goal should be to create identifiable and profitable clusters. These clusters are the cornerstone of this internet marketing tool, and needs to be studied continuously to determine how much focus should be given to a particular cluster. One of my friends who worked for Citibank direct marketing told me that they had 120 such groups (and is growing everyday). This segmentation is the foundation on which Email marketing works. Though initially traditional parameter like age, education, location, income level etc might dominate, but gradually one should move towards non demographic traits like preferences, tastes, which are more likely to influence the purchase.
The decision on which EMail platforms to go for will torment you for days. Better idea will be to get test account from two-three vendors, before you finally decide one. At MakeMyTrip, we used CATAPULTMAIL, which is the homegrown product of erstwhile Webshatra and now Position2. This is a very basic emailing platform, which helps to broadcast email with nice performance dashboard (# Broadcasted, # Opened, # Links Clicked). There are few advanced ones, notably Dartmail, which has a good relation with all the ISPs and inboxes. The precision and analytics are of very high standard. There are also specialised agencies which deliver this solution, solution integrated. Another late entrant is Epsilon International, which uses Dartmail. They have started an Indian office headquatered in Mumbai.
Before you start sending EMails, you should have a very clear idea of your database profile- total numbers, active base, targeting information like age, location, sex and transaction history (if possible). This should help you to divide the database into few groups and hence target communication. Every campaign that you execute should make you more intelligent about the base, about their preference and about their buying capacity. Here again, I would want to emphasise the need to integrate Web Analytics with the EMail platform, which would help you to measure the response down to the level of conversion. Again, when you use this data to enrich the profile information (in the database) it will make you next campaign stronger.
Though all the above points were in favor of technology and Emailing platform, one shouldn’t ever neglect the power of content, the creative and the subject line. Like all the other form of internet marketing, these too should be optimised. An average open rates is 20% (30% in case of super efficient database) and click through rate (on open) is 15%.
Through EMail Marketing, marketing and organisation overall will not only save valuable marketing monies, which it would have spent to acquire the same users and increase conversion, but also make the brand stronger through a relevant interaction. The method encourages the marketeer to segment and thereby gain valuable and psychographic insights about his consumers and business. What could be a better competitive edge?