Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

As marketers, we know that it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to find a new one. More than this, current customers offer an important opportunity for upselling, especially when using e-mail as a marketing method. Apart from being one of the most cost-effective techniques to send out marketing messages, e-mail is also an efficient way to ensure an ongoing relationship.

That said, for e-mail campaigns to have optimal impact, there are some important tips to bear in mind. First: know your clients. This is possibly the most important thing when it comes to e-mail campaigns. Client data in an e-mail environment allows you to tailor a marketing message as well as to customise the mailing list, which ensures that no spend is wasted. Apart from regular demographic information (age, income, gender, car and the like), it’s also important to know which of a brand’s products clients already use and which other products would suit them. It also helps to note whether the client has actually opened previous marketing mails and read the content. 

The big take-out:

E-mail campaigns do work, but to ensure that they have optimal impact, Olico’s Gareth Mountain provides five important tips for success.

With the Protection of Personal Information Act looming, it’s essential that new clients opt in to receive marketing messages. In fact, at every point where a company interacts with clients – from the sales team through to the call centre – there must be efforts to get clients to sign up for further marketing messages. Remember, your future e-mailing list depends on this.

The next step is about getting good at e-mail. With so many e-mails clogging up the inboxes of consumers, crafting an engaging message is the difference between success and failure. Most important will be the title in the subject line and the content in the first paragraph – this is what draws the customer in. The call to action is also vital – the customer needs to take the next step and the e-mail needs to show them what that step is. At the same time, having a “Click here” button on an e-mail is worthless if the landing page on the website does not let them know how to progress.

When planning an e-mail campaign, the third tip is around when you communicate with clients, which is equally as important as what you say. To this end, messages which upsell other relevant products should be sent out as soon as the first sale is closed. In addition, knowing when a customer’s product expires, or when they regularly switch offers, allows you to be front and centre with your message as soon as this happens.  

Fourth, the importance of building relationships with clients cannot be underestimated. Ultimately, it’s about building trust, which can be done through the provision of helpful information about existing products, or educational articles around products that may interest them.  Maintaining engagement is paramount, so providing variety is key in terms of messaging; such as sending out competitions periodically that offer worthwhile prizes. In addition to maintaining engagement, this also allows for the monitoring of user engagement and can be a good way to receive further data about the client if they need to answer certain questions as an entry mechanism.

Finally, not every e-mail will gain traction, but this doesn’t mean they’re not working. There could be many reasons, perhaps the customer is not ready to buy or upgrade their current product. When they are, however, you will have created awareness and they will know where to go.

* Mountain is head of sales at Olico

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