Emailing to targeted lists vs. Bulk Emailing
Email marketing is on the rise in Sri Lanka. Many companies are now seen to promote their products and services via email and there are many new providers of email marketing services, sending emails at times to over 100,000 contacts.
Many times, these emails are JPEG emails, and on the rare occasion, they have a link leading to some web page. Many companies resort to this method for the following reasons:
§ Highly cost-effective – This type of emailing won’t cost more than a few thousands
§ Ideal for start ups and new product launches since their target would be to reach the highest number of people without incurring a huge cost
While for a start-up business, this might seem like a good option to send the word around and attract awareness, there are some downfalls of this method.
§ The email addresses to which these mails are sent are scraped from the internet. The recipients may not have subscribed to receive emails from your email providers and might consider the email as “spam”, which will not look good on the brands being promoted by the email
§ Most of the emails are seen to be “bounces”, since the lists are not updated. At times, the bounce rate can be as high as even 10%. This reduces the total number of emails delivered
§ Due to the absence/lack of links, their is only a limited number of actions a viewer can take, which is mostly to call or email.
Targeted emailing follows quite a different approach. Emails are created on web based platforms which are HTML coded. There are many email tools such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp etc. whose interfaces are quite simple and can be used even by users who don’t know their way through coding. Being in HTML, it allows several links to be inserted, as well as quality images, and offers a wide range of templates to select from.
This type of emailing tools generally do not accept general email addresses which begin as info@, sales@, enquiries@ etc., and they are particular about personification in emailing. This makes sure that at least to some extent, the lists are permission based and have not been scraped off the internet. There is thus lesser opportunity for the emails to be labelled as spam.
It is very important to build targeted email lists, since then the recipients would be more welcoming of the information conveyed in the email, naturally improving the open and click through rates and bringing down the number of unsubscribes. Companies therefore must invest time and resources in building targeted lists.
In order to build targeted lists, companies should first assess their target market, and build precise profiles/personas for its clients. After this, they should conduct online/offline research to gather the contact information of the described client persona. Here are a few steps to follow to build a targeted list;
§ Build a target audience profile – For example, if your product is a certain type of women’s shampoo, your target audience would be women aged 16-50, middle to high income earning, and with access to internet/email.
§ Build ways of creating a list – Once narrowing down your target market as such according to some sort of demographic, the next step would be to analyze how you can reach a good sample of this client group.
§ Off-line methods – Some methods could be to approach them in supermarkets, clothing stores etc. or by conducting a promotion, like a raffle draw, wherein all contestants are asked to enter their contact information in the raffle ticket
§ Online methods – This can be done through a website enquiry form, or picking up personalised information when people enter your website or other branded on-line pages
§ It is important to thereon to notify in the forms that you will be emailing them, or ask them to tick on a box if they wish to receive your emails, so that your list is 100% permission based and ethically sourced
§ Getting permission to email people – This would be the most difficult part, but the most effective in building and maintaining a target base that welcomes your email and wish to pass them on. One way to achieve this is to ask permission in the forms built online or offline which says to opt-in (or agree) to receiving promotion material. Another way is to send a initial email giving warning that you are adding their emails to your database and that if they do not wish to be emailed – they should opt-out (Again a one click opt-out) needs to be recorded or an email confirmation
§ Email Creation and send out based on preferences – The next step would be to choose an appropriate HTML email marketing tool and create high quality, targeted emails. Keep in mind to ask people to either update their preferences or profiles so they are given an opportunity to select the type of mailings. For example people who are sensitive about Alcohol related promotions will not want to receive any of these emails but simply the emails relating to other products or services.
Targeted emailing using HTML tools might be costly compared to a bulk emailing, but in the long run businesses would benefit as they see their list growing. And even though there is a high demand for time and effort, the outcomes will create loyal customers in the long run. The key is to continue emailing them, so that your awareness and future engagement levels remain high.
Read our article for a review on some of the popular email marketing tools.
Created: November 25th, 2013