Email marketing is an effective tool for nearly every industry sector using digital marketing. According to the latest email marketing census by eConsultancy, email marketing is the digital marketing tool with the highest return on investment. Email marketing is the only digital marketing tool, which can be used to engage each user in a completely individualised dialogue throughout the entire customer lifecycle – automated and in real-time. Even email marketing beginners can quickly achieve success with initially less complex measures.  We have compiled 11 specific practical tips for successful email marketing not only for beginners.

1. Start with a Clear Target in Mind

Email marketing is a powerful tool to improve customer relations, boost sales or optimise service processes. Email marketing should always be started with a clear target in mind.
Possible targets are, for example:

  • Increase sales
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Sales support in after-sales
  • Partner activation in direct sales
  • Prevention of service cases
  • Information on product novelties

Initially, you should not put too much on your agenda. Three specific targets are a good start.

2. Offer a Real Added Value

In email marketing one thing counts above all: Relevance. Even when a lot of effort has gone into the design and great product novelties: this is not about what companies wish to communicate, but what the user is interested in. What knowledge about customers is available? What are customers expecting? In B2B, for example, up-to-date market information, studies, industry news or tips for the use of existing products are often more exciting than the latest products, new customers or press releases. While feeding the interest in specialist information, you can convey marketing information at the same time. Companies, which are becoming an important source for industry or market information, will also receive attention for their news.
The actual newsletters should be kept as brief as possible, clear and informative. Full texts and details should be linked to the website. An important factor for relevance is being up to date. Short updates are often more effective than elaborately edited quarterly “magazine” newsletters.

3. Segment the Communication

The big chance in email marketing is customer-specific communication. However, detailed data for the individual salutation or simply adequate content is often lacking. In the first step, a simple segmentation can be very effective. Different information according to region or customer group may be offered here. It is often enough to differentiate the most essential features, e.g. between end customers and  contacts, who are not yet customers. Little changes in the design and subject line can make a difference here.

4. Activate Users

Coverage alone is not enough. However, active users, who read and respond to the newsletters and emails do not develop by themselves. You should therefore include activating elements in the communication. Online check lists, feedback options, surveys and downloads help to increase the activity and engage users. Because: click and read performance can be trained.

5. Generate Opt-ins at All Touchpoints

A sufficiently large mailing list for your newsletters is the basis for all actions in email marketing. Therefore, the creation of a mailing list should be one of the priorities on your agenda. At which touchpoints can you make contact with the user? Classic examples are websites, social media, print outs, brochures, expos and events or sales. It is vital to solicit your customers’ consent for email communication at all touchpoints. It is important to obtain legal consent. Existing customers may be contacted without explicit consent, but only if you are dealing with notifications and information regarding customer relations.. The newsletter form should always be placed in a prominent position and directly on the website home page. The newsletter should not be hidden in sub-sections, such as “service” or “contact”. Directly visible and common key words, such as “newsletter” are the best choice.
Incentives can help to motivate users to a subscription. In B2B, for example, competitions are a popular incentive for registration. In this context, you can ask directly for an additional consent to the newsletter. But at the first contact not so much data should be requested. Surname, first name, gender as well as email address are sufficient for the initial communication. For a good start into customer contact, you can also use welcome emails, which introduce your company and the upcoming news or familiarise subscribers with the topic they just subscribed to.

6. Use Transaction Processes

In email marketing, every communication flows into the customer relationship and the customer lifecycle offers a number of occasions for  transaction emails. Whether order and dispatch confirmations, information material for website enquiries, feedback after service, reminders of appointments or a change of consumable material or additional information on the purchased products: Each of these communication motives does not only offer an excellent opportunity to score through attentive service, but also enjoys high relevancy and attention, provided that the timing and motif of the transaction email are chosen correctly. Such service messages have regular opening rates of more than 70 %. This benchmark can hardly be achieved through traditional newsletters. You should therefore use these opportunities to refer to cross and up-sells. However, you need to observe the legal framework conditions for advertising in transaction emails.

7. Use Unique Occasions

Even seasonal or customer-specific occasions offer good opportunities for increased attention. The more extraordinary, the greater the interest of the user. Emails for birthdays or gift ideas for Mother’s Day are becoming excessive. How about an email for the name day, an anniversary email on the first purchase or the birthday of a product “your DVD player is turning 1”? Even other, exceptional occasions, which offer a mailing out of the ordinary, can be used. The content however, should be interesting or at least entertaining. If you only inform about product offers, your customers will loose interest quickly.

8. Learn and Optimise

Compared to many other marketing types, email marketing offers one invaluable benefit: benchmarking. All actions can be precisely analysed. This gives you the chance to test and optimise all factors, which may influence the success of a mailing. Sender, subject, salutation, images, layout, design, volume, style, frequency – all this may have implications. In order to find the optional communication for a target group, comprehensive testing is essential. Trials with different variants of a mailing help to determine the version with the highest response rate.

9. Centralise the Email marketing Solution – Increase Efficiency

The construction of an integrated email marketing solution  is not trivial and cannot be substituted by marketing on a budget, especially with quality and business critical contacts in B2B. All the more important to draw the maximum benefit from a once-established solution. Bear in mind: the entire email marketing communication should take place via a central software. Whether different newsletters, service communication or PR, only an integrated and centralised solution can minimise costs and take full advantage of synergies, for example, between newsletters and service communication. Furthermore, there are factors, such as the data management security and design quality.

10. Support the Sales Team

In B2B, email marketing unfolds its full potential in the maintenance of existing customers. It is exceptionally suited for sales and maintenance, orders of wear and consumable materials, for targeted cross and up-sell information, as well as automated reminders regarding contract or leasing termination. The sales department will be happy as you will not miss contacting any of your customers and enquiries will almost come by themselves. Correct email marketing supports the sales department in identifying the most exciting customers. Prior to the actual customer enquiry, you can already identify who is interested in which product or information or clicks on check lists and white papers. Thanks to the easy individualisation of emails, communication can also be customised with each name of the respective sales contact. B2B bonus programmes can also be effectively supported by email marketing.

11. Include Retail Partners

Marketing in B2B is often indirect and the actual buyers are hidden behind an intermediary or a partner distribution net. However, the effort of your partner is often vital for the marketing success. Sales efforts of partners need to be supported with information and sales arguments, market and competition information or other sales support. If you prefer to talk directly to end customers, you should include the trade partners. The solution: A retailer marketing platform, where partners enter their end customer details and in return receive quality and well presented content for their marketing. Turn-key and with the option to supplement contents and send it in one’s own name, this platform can open up direct access to end customers. Of course, this can only happen with the consent of the trading partners, as such a solution is a trust centre and should not allow direct data access.