Awesome reasons for including Email Marketing in your digital channel mix

If you are marketer and are looking at digital channels, you probably have SEO to reach your audience, use SEM, and PPC to get interested audience to click through to your website and also have Social Media presence to build awareness and engage your audience. However, not many marketers swear by Email Marketing. Here are a few awesome reasons to look at Email Marketing this festive season.

It’s a direct channel.

Behind the mountains of online and offline purchase data, loyalty points system and CRM servers is the data about your customer or prospect. It can be a name of customer, with her physical address or her loyalty card number. In short anything that identifies your buyer uniquely.

This unique identifier in the online world is the email address. I call it the most important address on the Internet that you can own especially if you are conducting business online. We, as digital marketers, should give this CRM data, especially the email addresses its deserved respect, comb it for correctness, and update it regularly, literally like ants in an ant hill. This is your own data of customers that you can finally build a direct dialog with.

This email address is more valuable because the customers have given the permission to receive emails. If this permission is abused, it’s a simple matter for your email to land in the junk folder or worse be marked as spam. This has far serious implications than many marketers think and eventually you will see erosion in trust in your brand.

However done right, it will result in direct sales for you. (Download the Forrester Research)

It’s a measurable channel.

When you send your email message to your readers, you instantly get to know who opened your email, if it was read (Yes there are tools for that too!), who clicked on which links and what they did on the website.

My own experience is that for my website over half the year that

Email Visitors spent 30% more time on the website than regular visitors.

Email Visitors also viewed more pages on the website and had much fewer bounce rate that other visitors.

This channel has published benchmarks.

Did you know that the average open rate for Email is about 12 to 15%? You can now compare your campaign performance and work towards improving it. (Download the Email Trends in India Report)

If you send an email with a targeted subject line to customers who have not opened you can improve your overall open rate even further.

You can also segment the audience based on the offer they clicked on and send further customized offer to this engaged audience.

Avinash Kaushik (Avinash is a thought leader in Website Analytics) wrote a very interesting post about email marketing recently.

To quote from Avinash’s post:

“Email remains an immensely credible and profitable channel, with an immense reach to boot. To not have it as an active part of your marketing portfolio is sub-optimal. The only requirement is that your mental model (and indeed, company culture) should be solidly rooted in permission marketing. Every fiber of your being. Every thought that crosses your mind. Every person in your company. Embrace permission marketing and email will be a surprising and loyal BFF”

Have you tried the power of email marketing?

(Note: This article was published today on MediAvataar.com)


How much does your Email Marketing Weigh?

Over a lunch, of what now I wish had been nuts and grass, I had an interesting discussion with a friend on weight management and diet. I wanted to know his secret of losing 8 kilos in 2 months. As is usual in such cases, the losing party is enthusiastic and the gaining party is subdued.

As I sat and listened with a subdued mood, I realized Email Marketing too has a lot to do with his secret. Downing another sugared-piping-hot-boiled-to-death chai, my mood was lifted as I began to think of Email Weight.

What is Email Weight? Let me explain. Many of us have a half acknowledged feeling of guilt about our weight. It’s like a fog that quietly creeps and settles on our conscience on Sunday nights after dinner. It’s a small persistent voice that tells us that we’ve had a tad too much to eat over the weekend. Weight creeps slowly on us till one day when we rummage around for that old denim jeans and realize that it no longer fits.

The key to weight loss as my friend said, was a Digital Weighing Scale. Not analog, but a good digital weighing scale. Every few grams that my friend lost, he felt more successful. Even from an 80 Kgs to 79.9 Kgs was a success since he was in the “70s” now. Every milestone made him even more motivated than ever. More than his diet or his healthier lifestyle the one thing that made a difference to his weight was that he could measure his progress to the gram. That he said was his secret.

It is one thing to have a small voice telling you to go slow on the dessert to manage your weight, and quite another to regularly measure and improve your weight.

What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.

Email Analytics Measurement

Coming back to Email Marketing, the question I asked was what is your Email “Weight”? Do you even measure your open rates and click rates? Do you know what Open rates you want to reach? What will you consider a good open rate? What will you consider a satisfactory click rate? What is your Email Cost per Click? How much time does an email newsletter visitor spend on your site vis-a-vis a display ads?

I measure the performance of Email vis-a-vis the other digital marketing I measure the goals on the website like registrations, newsletter subscriptions, white paper downloads and cost per click across the channels. You can also measure time spent on website, pages viewed per visit etc as your benchmarks.

Here is a telling report from www.juvlon.com Digital Marketing exercise:

You have an email weight problem if you are a more worried about sending lakhs of emails in 1 hour, or are worried about adding more emails to your lists than your email content. If you think that deliverability is not your responsibility, you might be living an unhealthy email lifestyle.

If you are never going to measure consistently some defined key parameters that make your email marketing a success you will be disappointed with the results.

The key to losing your email weight is to measure, measure and measure.


How to compare Email Marketing with CPC or PPC

If you run an online business and if you are wearing the hat of a marketing manager your key areas of concern are

  • How to get more visitors to your website
  • How to engage them better
  • How to convince them to purchase

Knowing how fickle the Indian consumer is, no one marketing solution is going to work for your online store.  You probably realize this and have spread your marketing budget across:

  • Online PR, articles, news,
  • Social media activities
  • PPC and banner ads
  • SEO and SEM
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Tele calling

Of the last month’s sales, what percentage do you attribute to each channel? There will not be very clear cut answers, since your visitor may have clicked your email, but may have also visited from a banner ad, you probably have sent an SMS as well, and perhaps your customer care has called your customer to find out about his abandoned cart. This obviously is a simplistic example to highlight that using all the channels to communicate is important. What is more important is that your CRM system should record this information for you to analyse later. Read the rest of this entry »


How to track your email campaigns in Google Analytics

There is ample information on the Internet on how to track your visitors in Google Analytics via the URL builder.  In this post I will give a few examples on how use the URL parameters to track your email campaigns.

You may have these different types of emails:

  1. Transactional Email: Emails sent out after registration on the website, purchase, or via customer support
  2. Regular Newsletter email
  3. Special promotional emails: Discounts, offers, last minute deals etc.
  4. Event related emails: invitation to a seminar, webinar, exhibition etc.
  5. Triggered emails: Email sent after readers fill out certain forms, White paper requests, Birthday anniversary wishes,  automatic triggers from the content in the website etc.

Here is an example of the Tata Mutual Fund E-Intellect Newsletter (ignore the fact that it is one huge image today a definite no-no). This email is very regular and has 5 distinct sections of topics of interest for the reader,

  1. Cover story
  2. Personal finance
  3. Market outlook
  4. Fund watch and
  5. Learning

Tata Mutual Fund eIntellect Newsletter

Here is how we can use the URL parameters to track the Campaign:

  1. Campaign Medium: Email
  2. Campaign Source: Type of email (One of the 5 above) for the Tata MF example we could use Newsletter
  3. Campaign Content: one of the 5 above in every link
  4. Campaign Term: This is usually the used for keywords in online advertisements. For email you could use the subject line of the email in this parameter.
  5. Campaign Name: I recommend using a date the email was sent and the naming of the campaign. The format of ddmmyy_Typeofemail_SRNo could be useful  in excel sheet manipulations and reporting.

For the Tata MF newsletter the link in the first section would look like:
http://PAGEURL.com/?utm_source=eintelletcnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=subjectline&utm_content=coverstory&utm_campaign=090612_eintellet_newsletter

Here is the generic link to remember which parameter stands for what:

http://www.example.com/?utm_source=typeofemail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=subjectline&utm_content=topicofinterest&utm_campaign=ddmmyy_name

Now you can go to campaign section in Analytics and filter based on the various parameters. You will be now able to see which email gets you most clicks and also segment your visitors on the type of content in each email.

GA Campaign Filters

Email Campaign Tracking in GA

There is a whole lot more you can do with Analytics of course. You can read about it from the Guru of Analytics himself Avinash Kaushik.