Your 6-step guide to Email Marketing, by PHYGiTALNOW - a digital marketing consultancy in Dubai

September 7, 2020by Anitha Smith

PHYGiTALNOW is a digital marketing consultancy in Dubai, focused on helping SMEs rebuild for growth. Digital transformation can be daunting with constantly evolving dynamics. Often brands are caught unawares when an algorithm changes or a new feature is introduced. Under the BASICSNOW series, we publish articles to establish the basics of each discipline within Digital Marketing. In this edition, we focus on email marketing and our email marketing service in Dubai.

Email Marketing even though is one of the oldest forms of Digital Marketing, it continues to outperform most other channels on ROI. For this reason, it is a go-to channel for most businesses, especially for business-to-business communication. In its simplest form, Email Marketing is an exchange of Emails or Email Newsletters between the business owners and their customers. But today it has become a sophisticated marketing channel with the adoption of technology. It is a process driven channel and if you follow the 6-steps detailed below, you can be rest assured of an effective Email Marketing process.

  1. Define the role of Email Marketing: Email Marketing can be used for creating awareness or building a loyal customer base. However, tactics differ for each stage. During awareness stage a ‘batch and blast’ approach might work where a single generic message is sent to the entire data base. This is a popular tactic but definitely not the most effective one. Email Marketing performs the role of lead nurturing better than any other channel. Sales divisions depend on this channel to provide them with qualified leads and CRM teams use this channel to build a loyal customer base. This channel is key to establishing KOL (Key Opinion Leader) status. Through carefully crafted Email Newsletters with insights from independent research and unique perspectives on industry trends, you can build a loyal following for your business.
  1. Choose the technology platform: While it is technically possible to run an Email Marketing campaign using the company email platform, you will not realise the full potential of this channel. Email Marketing platforms offer the right infrastructure, from free email templates to performance analytics dashboard. MailChimp and HubSpot are popular Email Marketing platforms. Choose the right plan depending on the budget available.

Choose the technology platform

  1. Build and manage database: Quality of your database is key to a successful Email Marketing campaign. Your own website is the most reliable source to build your database from contact forms.  Other ways to build the database are through your sales team, networking events and point of sales. Buying a list of email addresses is not advisable, especially in the current data privacy environment. Managing the list is equally important following the ‘opt-in’ guidelines. The best practice is ‘double opt-in’ where the user is sent an email asking to verify the email address as well as requesting permission to be contacted. Remember to always have an ‘unsubscribe’ option.
  1. Segment the audience: Using the database, create different segments using qualifiers. It can be based on purchase history, website behaviour, product affinity or any other filter that allows for better targeting. This type of segmentation is performed before starting the Email Marketing campaign. Segmentation allows you to tailor your message, thereby increasing relevance for the receiver. Once the campaign is launched, the next level of segmentation is based on interaction with the campaign. Open/read/click rates or engagement metrics like downloads.
  1. Content development: You need to start with a content framework to bring together different type of topics. Typically, there will be brand focused topics, general company updates and some content around key milestones for the business. The framework should be flexible enough to accommodate fast turnaround. For this a ready template that conveys your business values is a must. Email Marketing platforms provide free design templates or you can custom create one. The most important aspect of an Email is the subject line. It should clearly communicate the content of the Email. When the user clicks on the subject line, the body copy should flow seamlessly with an effective call-to-action. Images and videos bring in more engagement. Another aspect is the landing page – where the user is directed to from the email. A fully optimised landing page means the email copy and landing page copy is aligned and the subject line of the email is closely aligned to the headline of the landing page. Both should have similar colour scheme. Call-to-action on the landing page should be clear and explicit. If the landing page is a type of download – it should be easy to use.
  1. Test and measure: Use A/B test to determine the effectiveness of different subject lines and CTAs or even colour schemes. Measure the results and launch the campaign. The measurement continues as the campaign rolls out. Measurement matrix should include not just Email performance metrics but also the resultant website activity. Together what is the impact on the business objective.

Test and measure

Use a mix of different campaigns to move the user through different stages of the buyer’s journey. A Welcome series, after performing an initial action on the website can be used to acquire new customers. A Thank You series after a purchase can be used to upsell or cross sell or build loyalty. Integration with beacons is an effective acquisition tactic – emails are sent depending on where and when the user was identified by the beacon. For example, if the beacon identifies a user near a shop but without a visit instore – the same user can be targeted with an email inducing him/her to visit the store next time. Ofcourse, this should be done with full consent of the user having permitted to be contacted after interacting with the beacon.

Email marketing campaigns are complex to manage and that is why many businesses adopt marketing automation. The basic principle of marketing automation is – if ‘X’ happens, do ‘Y’. For example, if a user downloads newsletter, send a ‘Thank You’ email. Marketing automation is most effective when built around the buying cycle. Starting with the Discovery phase – how the prospect discovers the brand through a Welcome series. During Consideration phase, a Lead series helps the prospect move from one stage to the next. When the prospect is at Commitment phase, a follow up email by a salesperson can help close the deal. Personalised emails for important milestones of the user like birthdays helps in the Retention phase. Testimonials from customers is a good way to build Advocacy around the brand.

Integration with other marketing channels is important, especially with Social Media as these two channels are most often the ‘entry level’ channels for businesses. Social media integration is specific to each platform. A Facebook page can have an explicit CTA to sign up for a newsletter or you can publish snippets of a newsletter as an FB post. Similarly, you can tweet snippets of newsletters or quote/mention influencers to increase the reach of the email newsletter. LinkedIn can be used to promote the email newsletter with CTA for sign-ups and snippet posts. Social icons are common to find in newsletters. These icons are effective especially with those who might no longer want to receive your email newsletters but instead choose to follow you through your social channels.

As mentioned earlier, Email Marketing outperforms most other channels on ROI. However, with an average open rate between 15%- 25% and a click-through-rate between 2% – 5%, it requires time and resources to make it work. Identifying relevant topics, choosing the right platform, working with different tactics, and most importantly measuring the right metrics to determine the impact of this channel is a specialised skills set. You can reach out to us at growth@phygitalnow.com if you want us to develop a winning Email Marketing strategy for your business.

 

PHYGiTALNOW is a digital marketing consultancy in Dubai focused on transforming businesses for sustainable growth. We use our proprietary strategic framework C.A.R.T. to design industry specific bespoke marketing solutions. The primary focus is to realise the full revenue potential by providing best-in-class Digital Marketing Services – Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Website and App Development, Social Media Strategy and Activation, Email Marketing and Digital Advertising. We also provide E-commerce specific services – online marketplace management, conversion optimisation and basket analysis.