Email Marketing: The Basics

Email is a powerful way to engage directly with audiences.  There’s no doubt that by some measures it is arguably the most powerful digital marketing tool in the toolbox.  But, getting email marketing wrong can damage a business, impact the ability to get email through to clients, and tarnish reputations.  So it’s a tool that must be used with care.

While email marketing would seem to be relatively simple – it is not. [Read this article].  

The first thing that any company needs to understand is the CAN-SPAM rule – which was designed to stop SPAM.  The second is getting emails through to intended recipients is not easy.  Email providers and Internet Services Providers (ISPs) are constantly working to eliminate unsolicited email. 

In fact, with the wrong approach, there’s a pretty good chance that only a few messages may actually land in an inbox.  This may not seem that bad, but if a significant number of people unsubscribe or complain about unwanted email, a company may be black-listed as an email sender.  That can have real consequences.  [Read this Email Marketing Daily article].  

Growing email lists organically is the preferred path to engaging audiences.  One way to do this is to encourage visitors to share emails in exchange for a white paper or to participate in a webinar.  These approaches require a certain level of email automation.  They also require expertise in both the development and leveraging of content.

A successful email marketing plan requires getting messages into inboxes as well as delivering content that is interesting and relevant.  These are two different capabilities.  Companies serving this space have very different skillsets and offerings.  So it is important to find partners that match your needs.    

Some organizations opt to buy email lists or use one of the many increasingly sophisticated lead generation tools in the market.  The effectiveness of these approaches varies greatly along with the price tag.  Asking the right questions and doing research before buying is essential.  Caveat Emptor applies.         

At CommunicationsMatch we partner with dotmailer the largest email marketing firm in the U.K. which has a growing presence in the U.S.  There are a number of other exceptionally strong companies in the space including the best known players MailChimp and ConstantContact.  

Among the considerations for firms engaging with large audiences through email are automation capabilities and email quality verification services.  These may or may not be important.  In a future article, we will explore in more detail some of the services available.

Email marketing requires both a technology platform and content.  It is important to get both right.  There are choices to be made.  As a starting point, try a search on CommunicationsMatch for content marketing under communications expertise and check out the firms that come up.


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