E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:
- sending e-mails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business,
- sending e-mails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,
Email Marketing is often ranked second only to search marketing when it comes to online marketing. If you are doing online marketing in any capacity then you need to incorporate email marketing.
This is all well and good but, sadly, in my experience I have not come across many Kenyan businesses that understand how to do email marketing the right way. Indeed many “email marketers” in Kenya are nothing more than spammers. Just last week I had a gentleman ask me, “How do you get emails of people working in large corporates?” The plan was to get those emails and then “market to them”. This is nothing but spamming.
To spam is to send unsolicited messages. They key concept of email marketing is to get permission to send emails to your audience. Spamming is wrong and illegal in some countries.
So, how do you do email marketing properly? I like to think of it as a three-step continuous process:
- It all begins by finding suitable email marketing software. This is software that you can use to manage your subscribers’ list(s) and which enables you to send emails on a large scale. You cannot use akina Gmail to send to more than a certain number of people at the same time. I recommend MailChimp. Websoft looks like a nice Kenyan alternative.
- Devise a strategy through which you will get people to give you their permission to send them emails. The most common and current way of doing this is to offer people something for free – but to get it, they need to give you their email address. Numerous internet marketers give away something like a free ebook, white paper, or report.
- Develop compelling, interesting and/or useful content and send it out to your subscribers. Make sure you do this very well: if need be hire a professional to do the email layout for you. Do not forget to include a call to action in your email.
As long as you keep on sending out wonderfully interesting/useful emails and keep on increasing your email subscribers, you will get results. It will not be long before you see your sales increase. Email marketing is powerful.
An emerging Kenyan variation to the above is sending your emails to the massively popular Kenyan Groups on Yahoo or Google such as Young Professionals. These groups communicate primarily by email and often include thousands of members. It is an easy way to reach a large number of people. However, some of these groups do charge for advertisements.
Whatever you do, do not spam. I keep on getting emails from sijui akina Mlalahoi or Baraza la Taifa and I have no idea how I got onto their lists. I don’t have to tell you what I think of such groups and the people behind them.
That’s it, you are ready to go and start email marketing. If you need any help, you can hire Like Chapaa to handle things for you.