In an Interspire poll conducted in July, over half of respondents expressed a negative opinion of Email Marketing, with 36% citing ‘spam’ as the most commonly associated word. Other word associations included: ‘a lot of work’, ‘boring’ and ‘yuck’.
A staggering 89% of people said anti-spam laws, overcoming junk/bulk email folders and the public perception of Email Marketing were the main challenges faced when trying to implement a campaign. Approximately 25% of respondents said they did not feel confident about implementing a successful campaign at all.
Interspire co-founder Mitchell Harper said since email was born, the concept of Email Marketing has struggled.
“It grew into a rather awkward and gangly teenager that was struggling to find a place in the business world. Businesses were very haphazard and gung-ho in their approach. Through the late 90s, we saw email being severely misused and spam laws introduced in Australian in 2003. Today, Email Marketing is a grey area for many businesses that are unsure of how to make the most of it, and it has been unfairly tarnished because of misuse by large online marketing companies.”
Mr Harper said that ‘real’ Email Marketing is a business skill – it requires strategy, thought, specialised knowledge, creativity and an understanding of how to effectively communicate and offer information to people via email. And it has a lot of potential to assist a business to grow, he said.
“Email is the most common platform for business communication today and is inexpensive – its use as a promotional tool should be a given. Email Marketing should be professional and an essential, everyday part of a business’s promotional toolkit, just like advertisements, websites and sales people.
“There are actually many techniques businesses can use to ensure email messages not only reach intended recipients, but are valued by them. The more businesses that adopt these techniques the better the public perception of Email Marketing will be – and this will have a positive snowball effect.
“We’ve seen the same revolution occur in the United States. The US is maturing more quickly than Australia on this front with savvy, successful Email Marketing campaigns being used by businesses large and small, including hairdressing salons and even pizza shops,” said Mr Harper.
According to the Interspire poll, newsletters were the most common form of content currently being used by Email Marketers (43%), followed by advice (19%), reminders (17%) and discount offers
(13%). Only 35% of people actively engage in Email Marketing more than once a month.
“When Email Marketing is implemented well, it’s about much more than newsletters and the occasional discount coupon. It wouldn’t be unusual for a business to be sending out email campaigns weekly, with great results.
“The latest addition to Email Marketing technology is autoresponders, which automatically generate a consistent flow of email communication with potential and existing customers.
“For example, if someone subscribed to your mailing list today, you can schedule a series of 3 autoresponder emails to be sent to them automatically. You might schedule the first one to go out 24 hours after they have subscribed with more information about your products/services.
“The second might go out 48 hours after, with a free eBook or more content, and you might send the third one 72 hours after, including a link to buy your product with a discount. The possibilities are endless.”
Interspire has seen a 60% growth in sales of its Email Marketing product SendStudio from the 2005-06 to the 2006-07 period – so businesses are slowly becoming more aware of the benefits, said co-founder Eddie Machaalani.
“Australian businesses now have affordable tools like SendStudio available to them to assist in generating extremely professional email designs and content that will get results,” said Mr Machaalani.
“We can all do our part to shift the perception of Email Marketing, and should – because the business benefits for all of us are spectacular.”
Interspire’s top four Email Marketing tips:
Don’t send bulk emails using the BCC field, this is an alarm bell for SPAM filters.
Honour unsubscriber requests and process bounced emails frequently – mishandling of these elements can see businesses become ‘blacklisted’ by SPAM filters and create unhappy customers.
Avoid using script or any type of attachment besides PDF. Many corporate mailboxes as well as virus filters block attachments that end in .exe, .avi, .swf, .zip, etc.
Make sure information sent via email is useful and valuable to subscribers – this approach is stronger than blatantly selling. This can include things like whitepapers, e-books and insight/perspectives on immediate industry events and issues.
SendStudio assists non-technical users to create, customise, send and track profitable Email Marketing campaigns. As simple as navigating in Microsoft Word, SendStudio includes all the tools required to have an Email Marketing campaign in place in under an hour.
Interspire is the global leader in web-based content management and Email Marketing solutions for business owners, web designers and agencies. To date, 35,708 customers use Interspire’s products, including small businesses and Fortune 500 companies across 60 countries (eg. Dell, Intel and NASA). Interspire pioneered web editing and has continued to push the limits of technology to make sure software is accessible and functional for all web users. www.interspire.com