Estimates show that the number of email users will rise to 2.9 billion by 2019. In addition, about 60% of people choose email as the most preferred method of communication and to receive regular updates from businesses whose products and services they use. Contrary to the popular belief, email marketing is alive and well. In fact, it can do wonders for small businesses when implemented properly.
Different tools and platforms make it easier to create email marketing campaigns and this post presents amazing options every small business should consider.
Founded as Rowing Software in 1995, Constant Contact has become one of the largest email marketing services in the world. What makes this tool amazing is the ease of use, even beginners can start with Constant Contact and easily perform their tasks without stressing themselves out.
Constant Contact allows you to easily manage contacts, email lists, email templates, and so much more. With a built-in editor, users can customise the email template of their choice and personalize their campaigns.
The platform also involves automatic sending of the right message at the right time. For example, you can use Constant Contact to send welcome, birthday, and anniversary emails. One of the best features of this platform is the ability to track success in real time and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
AWeber is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world for a good reason – it offers a number of different tools you can use to turn your ideas into reality. This tool allows you to send email newsletters and choose from more than 700 templates that you can customise with drag and drop editor.
Besides sending emails to potential and current customers, you also have to manage subscribers. With AWeber, you can easily collect, track, and manage the subscribers list to optimise the entire campaign. What we appreciate the most about this platform is the ability to track how many people open emails, click on the links, visit your website, and so much more.
The primary idea behind ConvertKit is that there is no one size fits all approach to email marketing. Even though it’s extremely easy to use this platform, ConvertKit is powerful too. The platform was primarily created for bloggers, but its applications are numerous and now small business owners, course creators, YouTubers, podcasters, and many other individuals use this tool with a high success rate.
One of the best features of ConvertKit is the option to increase conversions with automated emails that feel personal. The platform has simple, but powerful automations that do all the tedious work while allowing you to focus on more demanding tasks and projects.
The success of email marketing campaign depends on tools you use. That being said, these tools don’t revolve around platforms for creating email templates or tracking success, you also have to provide high-quality content. In order to make sure recipients open their emails every time, you have to provide value and text without spelling and grammar errors or poor sentence structure. This is where Assignment Helper professional writing service steps in.
What makes this website so practical is that all files you receive are 100% unique and original and fast delivery. Plus, you can order different types of papers based on your needs and preferences. As a result, you’ll send high-quality emails to your current or potential customers.
GetReponse makes email marketing seem incredibly easy, which is why it is ideal for beginners. With the unlimited design possibilities, users can explore their creativity and experiment with different options until they find a perfect match for their needs. Just use an HTML code or drag and drop feature to make the edits and your job is done. You have more than 500 templates to customise and edit, which is amazing.
With this tool, you can use advanced segmentation features that allow you to create groups of similar contacts in order to send relevant and highly-targeted messages. This feature groups contacts based on geolocation, custom data, source, subscription date, and other parameters.
Email marketing stats
- Email is the 3rd most influential source of information for the B2B audience. Only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders are more influential
- 82% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing
- 73% of millennials identify email as the preferred means of business communication
- More than 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than generic or one size fits all campaigns
- People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than their counterparts who don’t receive email offers
- Personalised email messages improve click throughs on a call-to-action by 14% and conversions by 10%.
Email marketing is a practical addition to every digital marketing strategy, especially for small businesses. This marketing method allows you to establish a better relationship with current or potential customers and promote your business without spending too much money. All you have to do is to invest in a practical tool that matches your needs and preferences.
How To Get The Most Value For Your Direct Marketing Money
Grant Fleming, CEO of Leadify offers this advice to entrepreneurs and marketers.
It is a common, global problem in the digital age – how do you convert vast amounts of data into demonstrable business value? Marketers aren’t exempt from this conundrum, and the pressure is always on to justify the worth of running a marketing campaign in real world, practical terms.
So how can you glean the most profitability from a campaign? Start by addressing a core challenge: Separating the important data from the not so important.
More particularly, focus on demographic information that is easily accessible like age, gender, location. Then follow up by looking a bit deeper and adding data such as marital status and income. Grant Fleming, CEO of Leadify offers this advice to entrepreneurs and marketers.
1. System essentials
Beyond this, while choosing the right data is key, it’s wise to use the best direct marketing system possible for your marketing needs. For starters, it should report on the data that is most important. It should also offer smart dashboards that displays comprehensive information. And it should accommodate users who want to put analytics and insights together manually.
Related: POPI Proof Your Direct Marketing
Having all three in place – pulling together data, running analytics and translating those into presentable reports – is not just a nice to have. It’s increasingly essential, as direct marketing is fast becoming a saturated space. Figuring out ways to better personalise data, and target and curate the right audience for the right message at the right time has become mission critical.
2. Aid from the machines
The good news is that machine learning is set to take much of the onerous work out of personalising data. But the caveat is that its usage doesn’t exempt you from being involved, as machines still need to be taught what constitutes good data to begin with. You thus need to know and understand how to curate data properly from the outset.
For the foreseeable future, you still need to understand what you are feeding the machine learning algorithms with, and most importantly, testing assumptions. Avoid the tendency to assume that because the results came from a machine, they are correct. Rather, conclusions drawn need to be continually tested, verified and honed where appropriate.
3. Pitfalls and challenges
But, while you may have a basis from which to extract more value from your data, what is preventing you? Among key obstacles that many marketing companies do not realise, is the power of the tools that are available to them, especially those locally produced.
This is to their detriment, as the tools readily available in South Africa boast sophisticated, yet simple, insight dashboards and reporting metrics that could power-up their marketing efforts.
As for a potential opportunity, this too is a topic that is often mentioned in other industries, that of creating greater integration with a variety of tools. In reality, few companies have managed to integrate their digital, social and direct marketing approaches well.
Getting more money out of your data boils down to sorting the wheat from the chaff, having the right system in place, curating data, and finally, using machine learning with an eye towards it being an aid, rather than a replacement for human efforts.
Build A Better Database And Boost Your Audience
Put frankly, if you have not crafted your message so that you are engaging with your audience, with their permission, you will be out of the direct marketing game.
For businesses across the board, one way to get better returns is by improving efficiencies. For marketers in particular, the million rand question is how to build better databases and grow their audience.
Grant Fleming, CEO of Leadify, says that building up an audience around particular marketing messages or strategies rather than pushing out any and all content to anyone, is essential. The latter may have been a trend that TV advertising praised, but it is ineffective as well as wasteful, when applied to direct marketing campaigns.
Marketers also must pay attention to their ‘list hygiene’ i.e. ensure irrelevant messages aren’t being sent to the wrong demographic. Do this by avoiding over-marketing, a factor which may be missed by those operating with a ‘more is better’ mindset. This can derail efforts, as even if people are partially interested in the marketing message, they will reach an unsubscribe point more quickly if marketers press them too often.
Dealing with information deluge
Front of mind for marketers should be that people are being besieged by information more than ever. Additionally, email and SMS channels are especially hotly contested marketing spaces, full of marketing promotions.
Clearly, any marketers who want to increase their opt-ins need to get their message and audience right from the outset, while ensuring that they send carefully crafted campaigns at the right time.
Segmentation needs to become more sophisticated too and is among top marketing trends for 2018. Doing so helps marketers treat their audience differently and adds a level of personalisation to their campaigns.
The Smart Insights report even suggests greater personalisation will result in an increase in conversions, by keeping marketers relevant and in touch with lists’ changing needs and preferences.
Strategies for success
Analytics can play a significant role here.
More granular detail can be built up over time such as what day of the week, and time of the day messages should be sent to particular segmented audiences for the optimal response.
Spread marketing messages out for a while too, and then hone in on specific days of the week, and times of the day, according to the audience being targeted. It’s considerably more effective to target the right audience at the right time than continuously sending general messages all day.
Related: POPI Proof Your Direct Marketing
The importance of A/B testing to help hone the message to your audience also cannot be underestimated. By testing two or more variants, and listening to the feedback received, marketers have a basis from which to optimise their campaigns.
As for databases, is bigger still better? Yes, but only as a starting point for the data to be further segmented and refined, empowering marketers to more accurately define their audiences.
All this may sound like a great deal of work, but the benefit of doing so isn’t just to build an audience. It will also help marketers deal with the increased pressure from the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) act to ensure they aren’t spamming their audience.
Honour The Opt-out
Gareth Mountain from Olico, explains how PoPI will effect companies undertaking any form of direct marketing, and why it’s important to honour the consumers’ right to opt out of the marketing process.
It’s in a companies’ own best interests to toe the line when it comes to direct marketing best practices. It boils down to the fact that ethically it is the right thing to do, and that they should not wait for the implementation (and subsequent fines) of the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) act to kick in to respect the consumer.
1. Electronic comms and outbound calling
The most notable point to understand when it comes to electronic channels of communication (email, SMS, Automatic Voice Messaging), is that companies will need explicit opt-in permission to contact the consumer. Here it is not about having the legal right to market to them as the Electronic Communications Act currently specifies, but rather being able to prove that they specifically gave permission for your communication.
This is set to bring about an overall decline in electronic marketing, and securing that valuable opt-in permission is going to be crucial. Yes, some companies will certainly struggle, but by providing relevant, ethical, targeted deals to your consumer database, there’s no reason for them to opt-out, especially if your offers are beneficial.
When it comes to outbound calling, PoPI permits one marketing call to a person, even if they have not opted in. During this call, operators can attempt to get them to opt-in for future marketing (both electronic and voice). While this might protect jobs in the South African call centre industry, it could result in locals receiving more intrusive calls, while less intrusive email and SMS marketing declines.
2. Respect the No
One thing to keep in mind during all marketing communication, is to respect the public’s requests. If a person asks to be removed from your electronic marketing or direct calls, make 100% sure to comply and ensure their number/email does not slip through the cracks to the next campaigns.
On a national level the Direct Marketing Association of SA (DMASA) has established a National Opt Out Database to adhere to. Paid-up members of the DMASA have access to this database as well as the process involved in making sure that their own database corresponds to the DMASA no contact list. This is through a process called “Deduping” and ensures companies do not accidentally market to anyone on this national do-not-call database. DMASA members also need to adhere to the code of conduct which regulates behaviour in the industry.
3. The responsibility of the company
When it comes to a company-wide level, it is best to automate the opt-out process so that human error is taken out of the equation. Keep a record of the opt-outs and inform the consumer that they have indeed been taken off the database.
Related: POPI Proof Your Direct Marketing
One grey area where we believe companies might try and bend the rules, would be to opt-out the consumer on a product-level, meaning that although they have said no for marketing on one brand or product, the company will continue with marketing other products in the stable. It is unlikely, however, that a consumer will decline receiving marketing for one product, and still want communication for another. Rather take them off the database completely.
The reasons why companies must honour opt-outs are numerous, with the fact that the PoPI Act allows for fines of up to R10 million or jail time for violation perhaps standing out as the most prominent. But with the ethical behaviour of companies under the spotlight locally, the moral responsibility of respecting the consumer should not be ignored.
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