You have successfully aggregated a database of your customers, and your marketing team is anxious to extend their reach to e-mail.
It's a tempting proposition. No printing costs, no postage and no lag time so why not use it as often as possible? Because everyone else is abusing the privilege of a customer's trust and without tremendous restraint, discretion and planning, your valuable messages are lost in the din of the crowd.
Yet, just having technology at your fingertips is in itself, no reason to use it. More importantly, earning the consent of your customers is no reason to push random content to them, just to show them that you can. Using an age old adage that refers to trust is interchangeable here:
Permission is hard to obtain, very easy to lose and nearly impossible to regain once lost.
How can you leverage the effectiveness of an e-mail newsletter? You'll need a permission-based e-mail marketing tool that delivers campaigns as precisely as you can target them and provides powerful reporting tools for real time analysis. Lastly, you'll want to create strikingly credible campaigns that represent your corporate identity.
Once you've got your software needs handled, it's time to concentrate on the "do's and don'ts" of communicating to your customers by e-mail.
Interest Groups: Do's and Don'ts
Create interest groups that tie informational, business or recreational topics closely to your products or services.
Follow customer opt-in choices closely. Change the interest group line up if participation in a given group is minimal.
Establish an internal policy for proper usage of opt-in lists.
Deliver campaigns at irregular intervals. Your customers have set an expectation for their business e-mail arrival at regular intervals.
Flood your customers with campaigns, as your e-mail will soon be considered spam.
Plan your campaigns regularly, and stick to your plans. Spur of the moment campaigns often appear that way to your customers. The only exception is if you are able to offer a significant price reduction or special offer that is only available for a short period of time.
Bottom Line -
E-mail permission marketing campaigns benefit from speed to market and robust, instant statistics, but they still require the level of planning and quality as their printed counterparts.
Definition of Permission Marketing Terms
Interest Group Aggregation - Aside from those users that receive a periodic general message, IGA creates an audience and allows selection among a carefully crafted set of interests.
Opt-In - The act of selecting to receive e-mail information from a business or organization.
Opt-Out - The act of informing a business or organization that you wish to be removed from their mailing list.
HTML - Hypertext markup language, which allows web and e-mail based elements to be displayed with graphics, colors and navigation.
HTML-Enabled E-mail Client - Most of the e-mail systems in use today can receive and properly display HTML within the body of the message.
HTML E-mail Campaign - Using colors, graphics and navigation, the user may view a message that represents and reinforces your branding.
Text-Only Campaign - Using only text and hyperlinks, the user receives content that is stark and purposeful.
Embedded Link - Within the e-mail campaign, a hyperlink directing the user to relevant content on your web site will provoke a call to action.
Number of Messages Delivered - This measurement is the true number of e-mail messages that arrived at valid mailboxes.
Number of Messages Opened - This measurement shows that messages that were opened, as opposed to being ignored or deleted.
Click-Through - Once a message is opened and the user clicks on an embedded hyperlink and enters the web site to review the remainder of your message.