The Basics of Email Marketing for Savvy Entrepreneurs

The Basics of Email Marketing for Savvy Entrepreneurs
  • Having an email marketing strategy is crucial for any business that values personalised marketing approaches.
  • For that reason, you'll definitely need to know the basics of successful email marketing to get the best out of your email marketing efforts.
  • In this article, we give you a quick run down on email marketing, the benefits and drawbacks, and give you some tips to get started.

email marketing tips

I love marketing emails. Really, I do. And I love giving email marketing tips too.

According to the Direct Marketing Association's in the United States, every $1 spent in 2011 on email marketing strategy brought back $40.56 on average. That makes it the highest earning marketing channel over social media, mobile marketing, and even print advertising. 

In 2012, Blue Kangaroo conducted a survey in Australia regarding email marketing strategy. Here are some of the key email marketing tips to come out of that report, consolidated in an infographic:

email marketing tips

The Benefits of Email Marketing

In our society, it seems that the legitimacy of email marketing has been severely tarnished by reports of spam and junk mail. But in reality, email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. Why? Because almost everyone has email, but not everyone has social media. Grandparents, primary school kids, teenagers etc. Chances are, whoever has a functional Internet connection has an email address as well.

Another point to note is its speediness. The time it takes from the point you click 'send' until it reaches a customer's inbox is less than a split second. But these are general knowledge things on the benefits of email marketing I'm sure you understand as well.  

Emails, if desired, can be visually stimulating. Or you may opt for a professional and bland approach. Either way, through multimedia content, emails can be interactive, engaging and can capture immediate attention. It includes the use of photos, gifts, videos, and graphics. There are a range of free email marketing templates available to download at various free sites around the Internet.

Many Australian small business owners elect to use pre-built email marketing templates due to the fact that it allows them to get their email campaign up and running quickly and easily. Moreover, hyperlinks on emails decrease action-reaction time, and thus reduce the chances of the consumer getting side-tracked away from your desired page.  

A highly neglected one out of all the benefits of email marketing is its ability to track results using in-built analytics. Web clients do this quite well, and can tell you the percentage of opens, as well as the number of clicks for each email you send. This instantaneous feedback allows you to see if your email marketing strategy is working or not, or whether your subscribers are bothered to open your email. This is one of my most important email marketing tips to remember.

Monetary costs regarding email are minimal. Sending an email is free unless you are using an email client such as MailChimp. Even then, monthly cost would lie from $10-$25 per month for an SME. Cheap, fast and free - sounds good to me!  

The Disadvantages of Email Marketing

Every email or webmail client comes with some sort of filtering system, like Gmail's Priority Inbox or Outlook's phishing filter. Spam filter is every marketer's nightmare. Once classified as spam, the possibility of your message being viewed is significantly reduced. 

Email response decay is a term commonly used by marketers to describe the declining response rate of subscribers. This eventually leads customers to unsubscribe, as they become less bothered to open your emails. Because most customers sign up to marketing emails unknowingly, on a whim, or because it was mandatory, companies are at high risk of alienating their subscribers, so this one is definitely one of the most important email marketing tips out there.

Additional email marketing tips include the fact that the content needs to be written, constantly tweaked and adjusted. Aesthetics are very important, and just like any other forms of advertising media, the email should be tailored to your customer demographics. These include considerations of color scheme, font, and layout.

One of the most important email marketing tips is that unfortunately, your email may come out messed up depending on the screen size of the hardware, and bugs and glitches exist just like anything electronic. Especially since many Australians use smartphones, email optimisation for it to be mobile-friendly is crucial.

Method: Single Opt-in and Double Opt-in Email Marketing

When a person provides an email address to a company once, this is known as single opt-in email marketing. Most marketers use double-opt-in email marketing, which requires the receiver to confirm their email address. Both methods are completely legal (more details on the Spam Act below).  

Single opt-in email marketing methods tend to alienate users. In my opinion, the extra step required in the double opt-in email marketing system is well worth enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of your email marketing list

The Spam Act 2003 

In Australia, unsolicited commercial electronic messages are prohibited by the Spam Act 2003. The penalties range from fines to a three-year prison sentence. The record fine dished out for breaching the Spam Act was $2 million, to Scott Gregory Phillips in relation to SMS spam. In October this year, $165 000 was fined to GraysOnline shopping websites. 

Three Rules That Apply to All Electronic Marketing Messages

There are three rules that apply to email and all other e-marketing messages:

  1. Consent - inferred or express 
  2. Ability to unsubscribe 
  3. Identification of the sender 

1. Consent

Express consent is given according to the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) when a person "actively and deliberately give[s] consent to receiving commercial electronic messages, either by checking the tick box themselves or by given consent in some other clear or transparent way."

Businesses should keep track of how, who and when a person gives consent. Inferred consent arises from "an existing business or other relationship or through the conspicuous publication of a work-related electronic address" according to ACMA. 

2. Ability to unsubscribe

Businesses would love to cling to as much emails as possible, but unfortunately, an unsubscribe facility and/or instructions must be clear and conspicuous. ACMA allows for a "low cost" to unsubscribe for the user, and provides an example of the cost of a text message. However, the payment must not go into the pockets of the sender of the original message.  

3. Identification of the sender

The individual or organisation must be accurately identified, and this information must remain "correct and valid for at least 30 days." Moreover, instructions for contacting your organisation should be on the message sent.  

Email Marketing Software

Ready to jump onto the email marketing bandwagon? Then I have one of the best email marketing tips for you. Here are some useful email marketing software options in no particular order. The list is endless, but the matter is personal preference as well as making sure you're sticking to your organisational goals and such. 

  1. Mailchimp 
  2. Sureshot (free trial available from the SavvySME Marketplace) 
  3. Mandrill 
  4. Campaign monitor  
  5. Madmimi

However, whichever email marketing software solution you decide on, one of the final email marketing tips is to remember to use the Bcc function: it would be highly unprofessional to reveal other recipient's addresses. 

Do you have any email marketing tips you'd like to share?

Ling Lee

at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Comments (4)
John Belchamber

John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

An informative an useful article as always Ling. Thank you.

Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

A great and useful article Ling. Thank you

View all (4) comments