Email marketing is an easy and affordable way of engaging with your existing and potential customers.
One of the main benefits of email marketing over all other forms of marketing is the message can be extremely targeted and personalised. If, for example, a customer purchases a box of chocolates from your site for an anniversary and opts in to your database, email marketing will enable you to re-engage with that customer just before the anniversary next year.
Before you can start email marketing you will need a list of email addresses and an email provider.
This article will look at how you can build a reputable list and what you need to look out for when choosing an email provider.
Existing Customer Database
Without a doubt the best email list is one which contains your existing customers. Even though a customer has purchased from you it doesn’t give you the immediate right to email them.
Before you can email anyone you need to ensure that they have opted in to receive emails from you. Most sites do this by adding in an optin box during the checkout process:
Tick or No Tick?
Most UK companies automatically have the optin box checked during the optin process so if a customer doesn’t want to receive emails they have to manually opt out.
- From experience I’ve found that using this approach will usually yield an opt-in rate of between 35-55%.
- Having the box unticked will generally generate an optin rate of between 10-25%.
Purchasing Email Lists
You can also acquire email addresses by either purchasing or renting a list. On the face of it, it might seem like a good idea as many list companies allow you to drill down to age, sex, interests and location so you could use a list which matches your key demographic.
From experience though I would advise against this practice for the following reasons:
- No reputable email provider will allow you to send emails to people who haven’t opted in specifically to receive your emails.
- People who receive the emails from you won’t be expecting it so in their eyes it is spam, this will result in the user reporting it as spam.
Email providers then use this data to determine what should appear in the junk folder which will have an impact on your sender quality score. If you have too many spam complaints your emails to your existing customers could automatically end up in their spam folder.
On Site Optin
An email provider essentially provides the technology to send an email out to a list and also provides full reporting so you are able to closely monitor the success of the email.
There are literally hundreds of email providers out there, below are 3 providers I have used in the past. All 3 of these have intuitive interfaces which allow you to build your own emails or use pre-designed templates which require no technical knowledge. They also provide very comprehensive reporting and have no hidden or setup fees:
When signing up to an email provider you will usually find 2 pricing models:
Pay As You Go
This is the best option to go for if you send emails occasionally or you want to test email marketing out. Typically you will pay a one off fee for sending the email and will then pay a very small fee per recipient. The cost of sending 1,000 emails a month with Campaign Monitor for example will generally work out at about £10 a month.
If you send at least 1 email a month then monthly may be the best solution. Here you pay a monthly fee which entitles you to send emails to a set amount of people, this is usually much more cost effective than Pay As You Go but you need to ensure you are using up all of your allowance otherwise it might be more cost effective to switch to Pay As You Go.