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Email marketing: newsletter or eDM?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube – we are flooded with oodles of social media channels, Tweets, friend requests, likes, messages, status updates, invitations, pins – is email marketing even a thing in all that noise and the chaos of social media? We say that if you do it right, it can be an important factor in your online marketing efforts. How exactly? We’ll get to that in a few seconds.

Let’s start with the basics: the difference between a newsletter and an eDM. Newsletters are regularly occurring emails that are less about direct sales and more so about furthering your relationship with the reader/customer. The abbreviation ‘eDM’ stands for electronic direct mail that attempts to persuade the recipient to take some kind of action, for example, to download a freebie, to purchase a product or service.

The next important question is: how do you build an email list? Well, basically there are two ways to do this: 1. You can buy a list filtered by your needs from companies specialized in collecting email addresses or 2. You can build your own list by having a subscription form on your website and social media pages, and by integrating “some form of registration or email subscription as part of your purchasing process”. While you might have some success with the first option, we wouldn’t highly recommend it as people tend not to like getting emails they don’t recall asking to receive (because, well, they didn’t).

Going on the assumption that you are on the up-and-up and have set out to build a sizable email list, you’ll need to focus on having a clear purpose, a strong call to action and good copy. According to Neil Patel, the crucial questions you need to address are:

  • What do I get when I give you my email address?
  • Are you going to spam me?
  • How often will you email me?
  • Will I get discounts?
  • Will I get a first crack at your beta?
  • Will you send me relevant offers or more junk?

Be specific – a simple “enter your email for updates” isn’t going to get your potential customers get excited to do so. Give something away for free, offer exciting product updates, early bird specials, discount codes, email series, customized recommendations. These appealing little ‘somethings’ are called lead magnets and work wonders when done right. Don’t forget to let subscribers know how often you’ll send newsletters and make sure to live up to your promise.

So, you’ve been walking the talk, building your list and now you’re ready to cut to the chase and get going with those newsletters. What do you send, though? And how?

Let’s start with the ‘what’. It’s crucial to manage expectations, send what you promised to and provide value through insights, updates, and new content. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to mix messages and updates, for example, “while the email might contain a list of product updates and images, it’s balanced by a personal message or friendly update.” What does this mean? In a nutshell: include a personal touch, a short introduction, a piece of insider information, not (only) a sales pitch. If you send quality content on the regular that your subscribers find useful, when you do need to announce a new product or sale, you can count on the fact that you’ve been building a relationship over time and you are much less likely to annoy your (potential) customers.

Now onto the ‘how’. You could send newsletters from a regular email account but that’s not going to be neither sustainable nor professional. There are countless email service providers that will let you design beautiful campaigns without the need for coding, do the segmentation and even keep track of the results such as open rate, click-through rate, conversion, just to name a few.

Although we’ve covered our bases in regards to email marketing, it’s essential to remember that online marketing is very complex with several different areas and not one of them can be successful without the others. If you are all for omnichannel marketing, optimizing and harmonizing your efforts, you might want to opt for a free demo of Liferay, as we offer a wide range of digital services, including email marketing.

Ready do take your email marketing to the next level?

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