New Zealand Businesses are increasingly turning to the use of internet marketing techniques to communicate with clients and other businesses, and emails are one of the most preferred channels used for staying in touch. But while email marketing is often a standalone initiative, planned emailing may be the route to higher levels of success.
It is pointless to shoot out emails as and when the owner remembers or feels the need to share a message, since this can never have the same impact as a well thought out, planned and organized email communication system will have. Hence, for businesses to reap rich results and get returns on their investments, planning an email communication program becomes imperative.
Making an email communication plan
Once it has been decided that a formal plan is needed for communication through emails, the next step involves articulating the following:
- The target audience for the emails
- The marketing objectives to be shared
- The timing for the emails
- The actual creation of a professional and effective email
- The costs involved and how to meet them.
The target audience for emails will obviously be the clients and customers, suppliers and referrers and prospects. Each of these can be formed into a distinct group and the emails need to be specifically addressed to each. The groups that need to be reached out to, in order to share various inputs about the business, include those who have provided the referrals in the first place.
The marketing objectives for each of the groups will be subtly different, and these will be dictated by the objectives in mind. These could range from being rated as industry experts or providers to quality etc. The business needs to have a clear idea about goals, both short and long term, and accordingly formulate a marketing strategy which can then be incorporated into the email.
The timing of the email communication becomes important since a time schedule makes the content relevant. This exercise could be a weekly, fortnightly or monthly affair. Follow-up after the message has gone needs to be planned as well, to ensure that the message has created the right impact. Success will depend on getting the timing of both right.
The critical part of the email messaging is getting good quality content that is engaging, easy to comprehend, one that makes an impact. It can include snippets of industry news, market updates and so on. The content may be created by the business owner himself, an employee with good communication and writing skills, or outsourced from service providers. Email service providers or ESP are also able to test the effectiveness of the message through statistical measurement of the results achieved.
Finally, the costs involved in creating an email communication plan become the deciding factor and the extent to which it can be implemented. The anticipated returns on investment also play a role in the decision making process. Additional inputs like digital images and presentations would add to the costs.
The entire email communication exercise is worth the time and effort put in since emails have proved their effectiveness over the years.