Email marketing: A simple and understated tool, but undoubtedly something that we need to understand as online marketeers. We spend all this time creating, but how much time do we spend ensuring that people will see it? Roberge (2018) suggests that 20% of our time should be spent creating the content, versus promoting that campaign or blog post across digital channels for a whopping 80% of our time – including via email.
The right email marketing agenda can prove successful in terms of profits and customer engagement when done efficiently (Zhang, , Kumar, & Cosguner, 2017). However, it can be quite daunting as a beginner. This is where Google can lend a helping hand (but perhaps not in the way that you would immediately assume)!
If you read the last post of this quartet you will know that I recently discovered Google’s Digital Garage, which is an amazing resource of information for any whizz kid wannabe like myself. There is so much content to explore, but one of the most useful modules that I came across when I started this job, was the ‘Connect through Email’ section.
Within the first week of starting my role, I was thrown head-first into to our e-zine campaigns. And to be fully honest, I only knew what an ‘e-zine’ was because I had to Google it after bluffing in my interview about it. But if you didn’t know, an e-zine is another word for an ‘e-magazine’ or an email newsletter. And these little golden nuggets can help build meaningful relationships with the readers that you care most about.
Services to Kick Off your E-zine Journey
I have been creating, sending and analysing e-zine campaigns on a very regular basis since that first week. I have been using two systems which you may or may not have heard of that go by the names of MailChimp and taConnect. While different in terms of complexity and features, both have the email marketing function which includes drag and drop email templates, database management and insightful analytical tools.
It was a positive thing that I started with MailChimp first, as I would consider this the easier of the two to handle. This system is solely dedicated to email marketing, while taConnect is a platform for emails, webinars and expanded database management in the tourism sector. For this reason, taConnect feels more advanced and is more beneficial with those additional features. That being said, MailChimp is free, very user friendly and in my opinion, has better analytical tools. taConnect comes with a costly price tag and frankly, the email insights are not on par with the alternative.
Both platforms have their advantages, but no matter which system you are using, you are bound to face some universal email marketing problems. Below are issues that I have had to overcome since creating my first email marketing campaign, which today I am able to present as my top tips for anyone starting out.
My Top 5 Fundamentals of Email Marketing
• An important thing to clarify when you are beginning your email marketing campaign journey: Who are your readers and why are they reading your content? In my case, I am speaking to tourism trade which means that the context is B2B and furthermore, I have nothing to sell so my content is all about informing and educating my readers. This was extremely intimidating to begin with as I had only created B2C content in the past, this is where killer copywriting skills come into play! Take the time to learn from others and always ask someone to proofread your content.
• Get used to hearing about GDPR! There are a number of elements to this policy which can be difficult to understand at first, but if you would like to learn more about it I’d highly recommend reading the MailChimp (2017) guide. As Barker, Barker, Bormann, Zahay & Roberts (2017) mention, the digital marketing world has allowed companies to expand in ways that they never thought financially or geographically possible. However there are still laws and regulations to abide to and one should never take shortcuts when it comes to best practices online.
• Both MailChimp and taConnect have basic drag and drop editors which allow for photo, video, text, links and call to action buttons. These are useful, but for me, I like to be a little more creative with my visuals than they allow. My solution is the almighty Canva. If you don’t use this photo editor site, I promise it will change the game for you and your digital content.
• Since using my own email for campaigns to 1000s of contacts, I have been plagued with automatic replies. To solve the pesky task of manually checking and/ or deleting every automatic email in my inbox, I asked my company to create an active email address that I could use for the ‘sender’ email. My predecessor used a false address in order to avoid the bulk of ‘OOO’ replies, however I saw this a lost opportunity, knowing very well that some people on our database reply to newsletters. With the secondary email account, I am able to monitor the replies around an hour after the send to ensure that anyone who has really replied, doesn’t get ignored.
Click here to see an example of an e-zine campaign made with taConnect – Let me know what you think in the comments!
Here for the TU Dublin Digital Marketing post series? Find the rest below:
• Barker, M. S., Barker, D. I., Bormann, N. F., Zahay, D., & Roberts. M. (2017). Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach (2nd ed.) Hampshire: Cengage Learning EMEA.
• Mailchimp (2017). About the General Data Protection Regulation. Retrieved April 10th, 2019 from https://mailchimp.com/help/about-the-general-data-protection-regulation/
• Roberge, K. (2018). Common content marketing mistakes (and their simple solutions). Journal of Financial Planning, 3(9), 30–31.
• Zhang, X., Kumar, V., & Cosguner, K. (2017). Dynamically managing a profitable email marketing program. Journal of Marketing Research, 54(6), 851–866.