Considering that across all industries, only 3.26% of emails generate a click-through, it’s of paramount important to have a decent understanding of email marketing if you’re hoping to engage effectively with your audience.
In this post we’re going to cover the top seven types of email marketing messages, how to employ them successfully, and finally their advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s get straight to it!
1. ‘Welcome’ Emails
It’s a well known fact that first impressions count. When someone signs up to your mailing list, the first thing they should receive from you is a ‘Welcome’ email. This first email represents a fantastic chance to upsell, create credibility and trust, and enhance your brand.
There are three distinct advantages to sending this type of email:
- It sets an expectation. The customer knows that you’re going to be emailing them, what your emails will look like, and can white-list your address.
- It confirms their subscription. A lot of customers will hand over their email address without thinking about the potential emails you’ll be sending. A ‘Welcome’ email tells them to expect more emails, so you don’t get banished to the spam folder.
- It’s easily automated. There are plenty of ways to set up emails that trigger upon a certain event (such as a new person subscribing).
There are none. Seriously.
2. Dedicated Emails
These are the types of email that are sent most often by the majority of businesses. Dedicated emails are focused on just one topic, whether that’s a new product, a news announcement, or event that you’re holding.
Dedicated emails are so popular because they enable you to employ a mix of all the best email marketing techniques: a strong call to action and a chance to be personable, potentially provocative and highly shareable.
- They’re easy to set up and send. Once you know what it is you’re promoting, all you need is the copy. Dedicated emails don’t have to rely on graphics or fancy layouts to engage readers.
- They’re very easy to track. As they tend to have one call to action, it’s easy to see who has clicked-through and so on.
- As these emails are only sent when you have something to promote, scheduling them can be difficult. You don’t want to bombard your subscribers with emails, but similarly you don’t want to be too sporadic.
- You’re limited in what you can include. The whole point of a dedicated email is to focus on only one call to action, so if you start mixing in other announcements or offers, your message will become diluted.
3. Newsletter Emails
Newsletters are a great way of giving your customers the lowdown on your brand at regular intervals.
Before you decide to set up a newsletter email however, you first need to decide what your goal is. Do you want to increase social sharing? Or perhaps you want to reinforce your brand image by nurturing your existing customers? This will determine what kind of content should go into your newsletter.
While not suitable for everyone, newsletters have some very persuasive advantages:
- By building regular communication with your subscribers, they will begin to recognize your brand and associate it will something reliable and trustworthy.
- You can leverage and push existing content. By summing-up the week’s most popular posts or highlighting a recent announcement, you’re avoiding having to create new content while also pushing people towards visiting your site.
- While not quite as simple as an automated welcome message, newsletters in general aren’t too time-consuming, especially if you aren’t coming up with fresh copy every issue.
- Newsletters are geared towards maintaining existing relationships rather than bringing in new customers, as your newsletter will only go to subscribed users. Less a disadvantage than something to bear in mind.
- Depending on how professional you want your email to look, you may need to employ help from designers or copywriters, potentially pushing the cost and time spent through the roof.
4. Digest Emails
This is essentially a smaller “digested” version of the newsletter. Depending on what you want your digest to contain, you can automate and schedule them to be sent at regular intervals. A perfect example is collating a list of notifications for every new post you publish that is then sent to your email list once a week. Some blogging platforms will even allow your subscribers to set up their own preferences, so how often they are sent a digest for example.
- This requires very little input from you, apart from setting it up in the first place.
- They’re a lot easier to skim than newsletters, meaning that some subscribers will prefer them. If they see something that catches their eye, they’ll click-through.
- While they are quick and simple, digest emails are also very impersonal. There is no real input from you the sender, meaning that no real brand enhancement or engagement occurs.
5. Lead Nurturing Emails
This is specifically targeting subscribers that you want to turn into customers. This can be a time consuming but highly rewarding way of engaging with your subscribers. Depending on how many resources you have available, there are two different ways you can employ lead nurturing.
One is by occasionally emailing clients about updates or changes in prices – these can be automated and don’t require too much input. The second way is much more labour intensive but can reap far greater rewards and includes educated the subscriber on the advantages of a particular product. This requires you to design personalized pitches taking into account the customer’s needs and the best way of selling to them.
- The more intense lead nurturing is very personable; you are connecting directly with the client and tailoring your email and pitch specifically to them. This increase brand awareness and trust.
- According to Hubspot, lead nurturing emails achieve 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone emails.
- The main disadvantage is probably the amount of time and effort you’ll need to put behind your lead nurturing campaigns. Chances are each client will need a slightly tweaked approach, meaning very little can be templated.
- They generate less buzz. More lead nurturing emails are only sent to one address, rather than the thousands-strong subscriber list of your newsletter.
6. Transactional Emails
These are emails that are triggered after a customer completes a certain action. It could be that they’ve abandoned a cart on your site, so a few days later you send a transactional email reminder to checkout. Alternatively, after signing up for a webinar on your site, the customer receives a transactional email with a thank you and their login details. Any circumstance where a transaction takes place is a perfect opportunity to send this kind of email.
- Transactional emails enjoy a high click-through rate, as they tend to be very specific towards the customer. They also tend to contain important information such as confirmation and receipts.
- It adds that personal touch – thanking someone for buying a product or service is going to strengthen your brand.
- Easy to automate based on the actions your customers take on the site.
- Sometimes transactional emails can create a barrier which prevents a customer from completing their purchase. Either they simply miss the email, or don’t want to complete yet another step to confirm their order.
7. Anniversary Emails
Getting personal is one of the most effective ways of retaining customers and persuading them to make transactions on your site. Anniversary emails are a great way to make a personal connect with your subscribers, and they can cover a whole host of events:
- The anniversary of them joining
- A company anniversary such as a birthday
- Public holidays
- The subscriber’s actual birthday (if you know it)
This grows brand trust and customer engagement, and is especially effective when tied in with some sort of one-off deal. In a study conducted by Experian, opening rates for anniversary campaigns were nearly three times as high (34.4% vs. 12.9%) as standard bulk emails.
- They’re easy to set up. If you have customers’ birthdays as part of the sign-up process, you can set up an automated email to send on those dates. All you need is the copy!
- They can achieve a lot of different things. For example, online retailer ASOS uses the anniversary of your first purchase to increase its social shares.
- There aren’t really any disadvantages to anniversary emails. They don’t take much to implement, and are an effective method of email marketing.
There we have it! Seven of the top email marketing messages, along with their advantages and disadvantages. Which you go ahead and use can depend on a number of things, including the resources at your disposal and how big your subscriber list is.
Generally speaking, the most effective email marketing campaign is actually a mix of all of these techniques, especially if a subscriber can personalize which emails they want to receive.