I’ve recently put together an email address list of 5,000 customers. I want to start doing regular mail shots to encourage repeat business but I’m not sure of the best way to go about it. What kind of emails get the best response, and are there any details I’m legally required to add?
Jonathan White writes:
Well first of all you have made a great decision to target your existing customer base. This has the lowest acquisition cost and highest return. Email marketing has certainly increased in popularity over the past couple of years and I would recommend that you either follow the golden rules or ask someone else to manage it for you. First impressions count so making sure your email looks good when it lands on your customer’s computer is vital.
Let us start with the law. The important fact to understand is there are different data laws for communicating to consumers and businesses. If your customers are consumers then you may send them emails where:
- You have obtained the contact details of the recipient in the course of a sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;
- The direct marketing material you are sending relates to your similar products and services only; and
- The recipient has been given a simple means of refusing the use of their contact details for marketing purposes at the time those details were initially collected and, where they did not refuse the use of those details, at the time of each subsequent communication.
In other words, if you satisfy these criteria, you do not need prior consent to send marketing by electronic mail to individual subscribers. If you cannot satisfy these criteria you cannot send marketing by electronic mail to individual subscribers without their prior consent.
You must not conceal your identity when you send the email and you must provide a valid address to which the recipient can send an opt-out request.
Let’s say you have got all the consent covered. First of all understand the main objective for an email campaign is to get the receiver to open it and then click through to your website. I use the AIDA – Grab the attention, gain the interest and desire and give them an action.
Be careful what you put in your subject title, refrain from using words such as Free, Save and Discount as your email will probably end up in the SPAM can.Your content is key, start with good personalization, such as “Hi Liz”. Let Liz know your offer in the first sentence, you need to get her attention. Use simple plain text and any links should be in blue, bold and underlined and if you are using images for your offer then make them have the wow factor, spell out the offer. Make sure your links go directly to the relevant website page. Online studies have shown that the best days to send emails are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as this is when people are more receptive to communication.
Don’t overload your customers, remain specific, include a recommend a friend or pass it on and do it professionally.
The Information Commissioners Office website is a good place to learn the rules and regulations on Data Protection and they have guides such as the Good Practice Note - Electronic mail marketing.
Jonathan White is the company director of TWO Marketing