For those who think that email is on its way out, think again. And for those who think that email marketing is just a giant waste of time, you can also think again. Very simply, the stats show that email is not going anywhere despite how much flack it seems to get.
The thing is, email marketing is like anything else you want to do. You need to be able to do it properly in order for it to work for you. In 2017 alone, there were 1.8 million more emails sent (Communicator Email Benchmark Report 2017) with numbers expected to rise year after year.
But the question most businesses and organisations seem to ask, especially in an environment like Mauritius is, why bother with email?
The question that they should be asking instead is why NOT bother with it?
Especially if this is a form of marketing that can help generate leads for different campaigns and result in tons of new business for the company?
The problem is that there is a really big misconception when it comes to email marketing in Mauritius. This is because it has not been approached in the right way. Also, companies tend to think that buying their lists or paying a company to send out emails to thousands of unsuspecting subscribers is going to have remarkable success. And when it doesn’t, they have not only wasted a lot of money but also lost faith in the marketing strategy.
But that’s why you’re here.
We’re going to walk you through a lot of the misconceptions and guide you to why you should be spending more time on your email marketing than you already are, but, the right way.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started.
First up, we’re going to talk about what to do and not do when it comes to email marketing.
The do’s and don’ts of email marketing
1. Have a clear goal when sending
You’d think it goes without saying but yet here we are, explaining it.
You should never compose or send an email without a purpose in mind. For example, do you want to generate more leads? Are you looking to generate more purchases from repeat customers or maybe you just want to increase your brand’s awareness?
Before you hit send, it’s important to know why you are sending the email and what emails you will send to follow that email. Without a clear purpose, your emails will be all over the place and will not attract the attention or Call To Action you are really looking for.
Think about it, if you don’t guide people down the path, how are they going to come to the conclusion you need them to come to?
Remember this one thing when starting: Failure to plan is a plan for failure…
2. Automation can be your best friend
Especially when it comes to the outreach process because even for smaller retailers or companies, email marketing can be exhausting and time-consuming. time that you may not have to spend on this kind of thing or can afford to hire someone to spend the time on it.
But never fear, automation is here…
You should think about making it as easy on yourself and team and here is how you can start.
Welcome emails or thanking a user when they first subscribe
Emails to remind people about events or sales that are coming up
Follow up emails to send out after people make purchases
Thank you emails to your lists to show you appreciate their loyalty
Triggered emails - usually when someone does something it will trigger a certain email, eg cart abandoned, have not logged in for a while, unopened emails for a long time etc
Emails containing surveys
Email series of content you want to be fed to users as and when you wish
The list is quite extensive but you get the idea.
All this can save you a lot of time just by doing some forward planning.
Remember to write the emails with the same tone as you always use so that the reader does not think it’s an automated message straight off the bat. Or else you will risk people thinking your brand is not sincere.
Every email needs to speak to your user, whether automated or not.
3. Personalising your emails
When it comes to email content, your users are not going to be thrilled to know that the ‘special’ email you are sending to them is the same one your other 4,999 customers are getting.
It’s good to make use of audience segmentation to make sure that the content you are sending to the different audiences is suited for them and not just a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
You might want to consider this:
Understanding why customers are visiting your site and shape the kind of content you are sending around that
Create a ‘persona’ for each of your segmented lists with key traits of each list including things like what their interests are, their demographic info and purchases that can apply to that group.
The more you know your customers, the more your emails will speak to them.
This is what you want.
4. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly
In other words, make sure your email appears just as nicely on a mobile screen as it does on a desktop because it’s pretty safe to say that most people are on their mobile, checking these emails on the go so it needs to be easy on the eye.
Remember that if the messages you send out aren’t easy to open and read on a smartphone or tablet, you’re turning off a large portion of your customers.
Try these tips to make those emails mobile-friendly:
Reduce image sizes by compressing them
Use an email HTML editor to make sure your images are sized according to the screen instead of pixel
Make your button and link sizes bigger
Make sure your email template is responsive
Do not use a lot of rich media in your emails
Streaming video may be great for desktop but can be a major pain on mobile
Bottom line, never forget that mobile matters now more than it ever has so your content needs to be able to adapt to that too.
5. Monitor your progress by tracking emails
You need to see how well (or not) your emails are doing.
Make sure you are tracking conversions, click-throughs, subscription rates and unsubscribes.
Don’t simply go on open rates because perhaps your emails are being opened but there is no further action taking place after this.
6. Keep your emails short BUT interesting
Simpler tends to be better when it comes to getting a message across but you also want to make sure that you keep the reader engaged in the email.
Good emails highlight and contain a single core message and avoid rambling.
It says what it needs to and then gets out.
Even emails like newsletters need to be kept to a few hundred words because people just are not interested in reading.
Keep in mind, you are competing with email read times of around 15 seconds on Android and three seconds on iOS. If you don’t keep it single but interesting, your emails will just not be read.
7. Always be honest
From the start, be honest about what kind of content your email list is going to be offering users and do mention the frequency of your emails.
This may seem like a small detail, but people appreciate the transparency particularly when we live in a time when everyone is trying to sell anything to anyone.
Be clear about what people are getting when they sign up so that they are coming into this relationship with all the information.
Then, if they decide at that point it is not for them, they have the option to unsubscribe instead of reporting the emails as spam at a later stage.
1. Don’t spam people
This should do without saying, in this day and age - it must be avoided at any and all costs.
While most people practice this sentiment, there are certain elements of an email that don’t make the email ‘spam’ but do make the email appear in very bad form and as a result, can be classed into the same category as spam.
And when they happens, you can be assured there is only one thing people are doing to those emails (no matter how amazing what you might be offering is) - they are trashing them and most likely reporting them so they do not have to receive any such thing again.
Make sure you do these things to avoid being labelled a spammer and coming across completely unprofessional to your clients.
Do not email people who have not given you their express consent to do so
Always use the double opt-in option to make sure those who have subscribed, confirm they are accepting to receive content from you ( avoids ‘accidental’ sign-ups)
Be very clear in your emails about who you are and how a person may contact you
Don’t over send emails. You don’t want to overload your list with emails that will make them feel like this is getting too much.
Make the process of unsubscribing easy to do, there should be a clear link showing people the way they can unsubscribe. The harder this is to find, the more annoyed the reader will get.
2. Don’t be boring
The last thing you should want to be doing to your subscribers is boring them.
Even if you are automating certain emails - the responsibility is still on you to make sure that the content is interesting and not just salesy all over. Include images, make sure your headlines are catchy and grab people’s attention. After all, you want people to be glad to receive your emails.
Imagine when you are composing the email if it were you receiving this mail, would you be interested in reading it? Being biased here will not help you. Be honest with yourself so that your email quality can remain at a high level. If you can’t be bothered with what the email says, imagine how subscribers will feel.
Also, remember that how much effort you put into the writing of emails is in direct relation to how people are going to receive them. Imagine it this way. If you walk around smiling at people, they are bound to smile back, guaranteed. Maybe not everyone, but someone will.
Keep that in mind when writing your emails and avoid being boring at all costs!
You can have the best looking, sounding email there ever was and it turns into a complete failure by not including a strong call to action.
If you talk about products/services - make sure your links are tested and give access to the content you are talking about.
There are many ways you can visually catch someone's eye in the email itself perhaps by using a sidebar similar to something you may have on your website.
Try asking the right questions in your call to actions (like isn’t it time you did X instead of Y)
Try to always include calls-to-action that are relevant to what you are offering them or else they can be missed entirely.
Make sure your CTA’s are always visible and accessible.
Where applicable always add urgency your campaigns.
4. DO NOT BUY LISTS
This is probably the most important aspect of this guide. The one thing you should really and truly steer clear of.
You know the kind I am speaking about. The one that arrives in your inbox without fail every single day advertising just about anything and everything. Most of the time it goes to your spam folder (for good reason too) and its effectiveness is poor.
But, it promises attractive email delivery figures (100k+ in some instances) and that is where people fall for it.
The fact is, you are not getting the chance to have 100k+ subscribers, you are helping this business make LOADS of cash on people who think they cannot build their own lists.
But here’s the thing.
You CAN build your own list.
Just because their numbers are impressive does not mean every single person is opening and consuming the content within. The only thing going for a list like that is that it sends to large numbers.
The real numbers that matter are open rates, Click-Through Rates & Results.
You have no way of tracking the data, seeing where you could improve or truly understanding how many new leads you are getting from ‘buying a list’ like this.
Remember also, that the quality of leads you are getting is not geared towards your brand but simply anyone who has at one point opted into one their schemes unwittingly opening them up to a lifetime of emails that deserve to be in the spam folder.
In other words, you are not getting quality leads nor are you getting leads that are interested in YOUR business. And if you are not growing your list consciously with this in mind, then you are not serious about that list nor are you serious about bringing in more business.
List-buying is a waste of money. If you are that keen to spend that kind of money invest it into your own list building and incentivise users to subscribe. Think discounts on products, videos, ebooks or even webinars. What we are leaning towards here is: Give them value in exchange for their email address and make them understand they are getting that value.
Again, we will say it. DON’T BUY LISTS. Just don’t.
It is illegal to start with and unethical to spam prospects with your promotions without permissions.
(We will elaborate on growing VS buying lists in the next section of this book)
5. Do not hit send without testing, editing or proofreading
Before your email hits the inboxes of your subscribers it should be tested, checked and looking exactly how it’s meant to.
Blatant typos, wrong dates, names spelt wrong or images that don’t quite fit in how they are supposed to make your email look unprofessional.
It should be a rule of thumb to check that this kind of thing does not happen.
Test the opt-ins work, the emails are delivered and make sure that you check the emails on multiple devices to make sure they display correctly.
Get others to check as well, as they may pick up on things you could have missed.
Bottom line. Do not send without checking.
6. Don’t centre in on the sale
We know the reason for building lists is to turn leads into customers. Most of these people understand that, at some point, they are going to be marketed to, propositioned etc. But there is no reason to concentrate only on the sale and closing it.
For starters it makes you look like you don’t care about the human element and just want to rake in the money on all these subscribers you have.
Like anything, there is a time and a place. Concentrate on showing users they are valued and that them being part of your list means something important to you.
Give value wherever you can. Cultivate a relationship with users, do not just push the selling onto them at every opportunity.
If you only take care of selling to them, they will either unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.
Remember, you need to give value.
7. Don’t be over the top
You know what we mean. Too much of everything all jammed into one mail.
Too many images.
Being too much with the subscriber, using their name in every sentence.
Being like that desperate person everyone avoids at all costs because they just cannot bear to see you act overboard all the time.
Don’t turn your emails into that desperate person that everyone avoids.
As we mentioned further up, keep the email content simple BUT interesting. It’s a fine line yes. But it is achievable.
Stick to one core idea per email and work around that.
Make sure there are images that complement the content not take the attention away from it.
And finally, don’t try to cram everything into one email all at once.
Growing your own lists vs buying lists
If you’re in business then your business needs recurring customers. How do you go about getting those customers?
They need to know about your brand and whatever product or service you offer and they, of course, need to be the kind of people who would buy your product or service.
Maybe you’ve heard a lot of subscriber lists but haven’t really taken care of them. But you should be paying attention to them because not only can your email marketing turn them into leads and then eventually, customers but it’s something you can do instead of having to buy.
In Mauritius, you need to keep in mind that buying lists may be easy but that it’s a dead end marketing strategy that lands up being a waste of time and money. Why?
No one pays attention to these emails not in the way that you think they will. Most don’t even open them and they go straight to spam or are trashed by the subscriber.
Your message or call to action that you need the subscriber to engage with is likely lumped in with a few other companies who have paid for the same thing you have and there is just too much going on with for people to engage with.
Most of the sentiment is that these emails are all people trying so desperately (and annoyingly) trying to sell something to you.
People have become desensitised to the mails because they know there is nothing of value in there for them.
Do you really think it’s worth paying for a service that people are not even engaging with?
Think of it like this. You are in a room filled with people and you are talking into a microphone offering them the most amazing thing they will ever see and not one of those people are paying attention to you or even looking at you. Get the idea?
So you’re probably thinking, what makes growing your own list any different to this?
Well, for starters, you are talking to people who have already taken an interest in your product or service.
Growing lists is not the most difficult thing your business will ever do. By offering people something of interest and targeting them appropriately, you can attract subscribers who sign up for your information and agree to receive what you send them.
Think of it like this: you offer a free video series, whitepaper, ebook, audio series etc to which people need to sign up to receive. You are building your list in exchange for the content you are making available to people who are interested in it.
Once you send traffic to the page which offers people this free content, they need to sign up and this process - repeated over and over - results in your building your own list.
Of course, this is not the only way you can build your list, there are literally dozens of ideas you can do in order to build your list.
Introducing permission-based email marketing into your marketing strategy
The first step towards growing your own subscriber list is adopting what is known as permission-based marketing.
It’s simple. This is the act of people giving you their permission to market to them. This is the point of getting them to sign up for whatever content or free offer you have for them. And this is the consent they give which helps you know that you are talking to the right people when you start your email marketing campaign.
If people do not give you their permission, they don’t receive your emails. Simple.
The subscribers are not only they are signing up for your content or offer but they know what they are signing up for too. Because permission-based marketing means being open and upfront about this entire process. Maybe it’s a newsletter or people are agreeing to hear about your latest offers. However you are conducting your email marketing, this is probably the best way to go about doing it. Plus you are also getting the right people - in other words - the people that WANT to receive the info.
Why this matters so much in email marketing is that it gives you the chance to establish a relationship-building process.
You are not simply pushing content on them that you want them to take action on, ie, buy. You are taking the time to get to know the subscribers and helping them to get to know you too. Plus it gives you the chance to offer them valuable content before warming them up to whatever offer, product or service you intend to show them.
The analytics of successful email marketing
When you are running email marketing campaigns, you are going to need to make sure you are measuring the analytics around it or else it is a kind of pointless exercise to get into. The whole point of being able to have a successful email marketing campaign will be based on the results you are able to measure and generate.
For example, maybe you’ve heard terms like ‘Click Through Rates’ and ‘Open Rates’ and aren’t sure how that will factor into your email marketing strategy.
So let’s explain a few of the commonly used terms.
First up is Click Through Rates.
What is it?
Simply put it is the number of people who received your email that clicked on one or more of the links contained in the mail.
(Now’s a good time to remind you that if you aren’t putting links into your email campaigns, there is really no point in doing them because you have no way to measure them)
Maybe right now you are asking why it’s such an important metric to be tracking?
This is because it is the metric that is able to give you direct feedback into the kind of content your subscribers are engaging with as well as how many are engaging with what content. This is one of the ways you will then optimise your email campaign because you will be able to tell what content is favoured overall and how much the list you are growing is engaging with your contact.
How is it measured?
You can calculate the CTR by taking the total clicks divided by the number of delivered emails and multiplying that amount by 100.
Example: Say your campaign gets 500 clicks ÷ 10,000 emails that were delivered * 100 equals to 5% CTR. This is analytic that you are going to keep on doing because it will give you an idea where you need to improve as well as an overall idea on how the subscribers are reacting to the content.
These results are also measured to see how your split testing efforts go. The higher the CTR is, the more results you are going to get which is why this is a good way of optimising your content and growing your lists.
Remember though that you should not confuse CTR with open rates.
The difference is that your open rates are just a measurement of how many people actually opened the mail but the CTR tracks how many not only opened but clicked on one or more of the links contained in the email.
So while you may have higher open rates, this can mean pretty much nothing unless your subscribers are clicking on links in your email and therefore engaging with your content.
However, the open rates can also help guide you when you are optimising content by using it as a guide to see what people are not interacting with. This way you can adjust the content so that you are able to convert those open rates into CTR.
GDPR and 3rd party lists
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has brought some big changes to the online world and even though the regulations were implemented by the EU, it has had a big impact on email marketing all around the world.
Before the regulation was enforced, buying of 3rd party lists were something pretty common but since its introduction, the rules have somewhat changed.
Like we pointed out earlier, building your own lists holds a lot more advantages for you and will save you a lot of money that you’d be otherwise spending on buying subscribers who tick all the right boxes of what your client list should look like. But the problem with buying these 3rd party lists is you just cannot be sure you are talking to the right kind of client.
Also, something to bear in mind is that people are getting tired of signing up for these kinds of lists only to be bombarded with dozens of other email marketing that they are not totally sure where it comes from. This is why now before organisations can sell these databases, they need to be able to prove they built the list whilst complying with the GDPR and they also need to have permission that they are allowed to use the details for advertising purposes and that they are also allowed to send this data to other recipients for direct marketing purposes. Sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through, doesn’t it?
This is another reason why buying a 3rd party list is not the way to go and why building your own list not only keeps you accountable to you but also gives you the peace of mind that you know where all your contacts come from.
Before acquiring a contact list or a database with contact details of individuals from another organisation, that organisation must be able to demonstrate that the data was obtained in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation and that it may use it for advertising purposes. For example, if the organisation acquired it based on consent, the consent should’ve included the possibility to transmit the data to other recipients for their own direct marketing.
It’s really important to remember that email marketing is a helpful tool that can do great things for your business granted it is done the right way and its success adequately measured.
In short, if the email marketing process were to continue the way it is currently going on in Mauritius, it is eventually going to die out. Not only because it will no longer be deemed of any value but also because people are tired of the amount of spam out there.
The last thing you want your company doing is earning an online reputation as spammers. You have to remember that people have spam filters and your emails won’t even reach the inbox of these clients if your emails don’t make the grade.
It is therefore essential that building lists by organisations are used to build better relationships with leads and clients by offering valuable content to its users and earning their trust, the right way.
This email marketing process should be seized as an opportunity for people to get to know your brand and not give future clients anything to moan about when it comes to the way you market yourself. The last thing you want is a reputation for hounding people to buy buy buy. That is only going to turn them away. Period.
Like with anything related to marketing, a long-term strategy is always favoured and should be used as a means of optimising the emails you are sending. At the end of the day, you are looking for people to love your brand because people who have been won over by your brand will be a lot easier to convince in the long run as opposed to people who sigh every time they see an email enter their inbox from you.
“If you rent a list, buy a list and mail people without their permission that’s literally spamming.
There are quite a few companies in Mauritius who are in the spamming business and it’s surprising how the big corporations hire spammers.
There are a lot of legal and reputational risks when it comes to spamming from a Mauritian Law perspective and GDPR perspective because you never know who is on those lists.
You can be spamming Europeans through third-party lists and exposing yourself and your company to lawsuits.“
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