Over the past two decades many new digital marketing channels have emerged, allowing marketers to interact and engage with customers in a personal and highly measurable way. However, one of the earliest and most traditional digital marketing channels remains one of the most dominant; email marketing. Regardless of size, organisations utilise email marketing to forge strong relationships with their customer base, improve customer retention, increase brand awareness, and generate sales.
The key strength of email marketing campaigns is that it allows marketers to communicate with consumers who have already expressed interest in the organisation’s area of expertise. The organisation’s email arrives in the individual’s inbox as a standalone piece of communication, unlike social media where posts or paid ads are displayed in a crowded, ‘busy’ content environment. The intimacy and personal aspect of email marketing is the key reason for its success and relevance as a marketing tool.
There are 5 different types of email marketing campaigns:
- Lead nurturing campaigns
- Industry updates
- Promotional campaigns
- Company updates
- Email surveys
A single email marketing newsletter may cover multiple content and email campaign types. For example, a monthly email newsletter may include one piece of industry news, one company update, and one company promotion. Personalised emails tend to adhere to one or two email marketing types. For example, a personalised email campaign may include a company update and small promotion.
Below each email campaign type is explained in detail, with an example to demonstrate the content form.
1. Lead nurturing campaigns
Lead nurturing campaigns are automated emails sent to new sign-ups to establish trust, build brand awareness and move the prospect further along the sales cycle. When an individual signs up to a newsletter, the lead nurturing campaign send a series of pre-written emails at a pre-determined frequency and volume (e.g. 8 emails every 4 days, sent at 10am). The emails typically offer value-adding content regarding the organisation’s key topic area, such as valuable tips, updates and advice on a particular content area. Implemented well, a lead nurturing campaign has the ability to position an organisation as a valuable, trustworthy partner, however if implemented poorly, a lead nurturing campaign may be perceived as a barrage of sales/advertising pitches and prompt the recipient to unsubscribe.
Spicy Broccoli Example:
Spicy Broccoli is a website development company who have implemented a successful lead nurturing campaign for new subscribers. Upon signup, the user receives a confirmation email informing them that they will receive 5 tips over the coming weeks. This lead nurturing campaign (image pictured on the right) establishes the organisation as an expert in its field, provides consistent brand awareness, keeping Spicy Broccoli front of mind for any website development projects.
2. Industry updates
Industry updates inform an organisation’s audience about relevant developments, policies and events in the marketplace. Industry updates may incorporate perspectives and insights guided by the organisation’s interests in a particular topic area. Sending these updates position the organisation as an expert resource that is prepared to invest in content that will benefit their customers, rather than simply persuading them to purchase goods and services.
RealEstate.com.au is Australia’s largest online real estate website. In this example, RealEstate.com.au sends real estate market insights, industry news and reports to people in their database looking to buy a new home. This email campaign (pictured on the right) is relevant and adds value to the subscribers, and establishes the organisation as an expert in the real estate industry. The email campaign contains several calls to action to bring the reader back to the organisation’s website where the individual can search for a property to buy. This increased website traffic shows paying customers (i.e. those looking to sell their property) that RealEstate.com.au is the best site to advertise their property.
3. Promotional campaigns
Promotional email campaigns inform readers about upcoming sales, offers, events and other activities, and are primarily designed to stimulate sales. These marketing emails are arguably the most recognisable email marketing format, and as a result the open rate and readership is proportionately lower than other formats. However, promotional emails generally achieve a much higher ‘click-through-rate’ to the organisation’s website, particularly if the promotion is available for a limited time only. As such, it is common for organisations to target email campaigns according to the individual recipient to maximise the open rate and minimise the unsubscribe rate.
Dimmi is an online restaurant booking service. This promotional email campaign (pictured on the right) highlights a number of different promotions the organisation is currently running, with a clear call to action for each promotion (i.e. the orange ‘book now’ button). Dimmi sends each promotion at least twice to prospective customers, maximising exposure of the discounts. They use a consistent subject line ‘50% off XYZ restaurant’, ensuring readers easily recognise Dimmi emails in their crowded inbox.
4. Company updates
Company updates help establish an organisation’s brand and presence in the market. Major updates such as a press release, new product launch, customer testimonial, new external partnership, new employee, etc., are often communicated to the organisation’s customer base via email marketing. If handled correctly, these emails can present the organisation as innovative, dynamic and market leading, constantly evolving and expanding their product offering.
The Iconic Example:
The Iconic is a large online fashion retailer in Australia. In this example (pictured on the right), the company announces a partnership with fashion designer Alice McCall, who shares her inspiration for her new collection, presented in a catalogue format. There are several photos of the products, with the style name and purchase price.
5. Email surveys
Customer reviews are central to the importance of social media marketing. Recent reports and studies have been conducted which highlight its importance. For example, the Sensis Social Media Report states that “Blogs and reviews continue to influence buying decisions, with over half of social media users (55%) reading reviews before making a purchase”.
Expedia is one of the world’s largest travel booking websites and partners with a variety of companies including airlines, cruise companies, hotels, car hire, travel insurance and activity/tour agencies. Expedia utilise multiple survey emails to receive feedback and reviews from their customers. This particular campaign (pictured on the right) requests customer feedback on a recent hotel booking and their experience dealing with Expedia. The email is automated and sent after the check-out date. The customer is requested to review the hotel, which is posted directly on the website, as well as to rate the Expedia booking experience.
The most effective email campaigns however, comprise of multiple email campaign types. A monthly email newsletter for example may include one piece of industry news, one company update, and one company promotion. Although promotional emails are effective, they should not be abused; sending out too many can come across as spam to a valuable customer. It is also important to note that the best practice for email marketing is to always include at least one clear call to action to ensure each email sent drives a proportion of the recipients down the path to purchase.
For more information on achieving social media success for your business, contact Social Media College today.