All of us are pretty sure of what email marketing is about. But what is a squeeze page? Moreover, do all the newsletters that we sent comply with the European GDPR regulation? Do we spend enough time taking care of the mailing list? Let’s do a little review.
What is email marketing?
The definition of email marketing (a commercial practice also known as direct email marketing) is nothing more than the use of electronic mail to promote products and services. More precisely, it is the use of emails to develop relationships with both potential and real customers. It is one of Internet marketing’s most important channels, complementing online marketing through websites, social media, blogs, and other tools. It’s a bit like paper-based direct marketing using the postal service – but better. Much better.
The goal of email marketing is not to sell at all costs to an indiscriminate target audience. The aim is rather to keep an audience informed while tailoring marketing messages to the characteristics of buyer groups.
Free email marketing? No, but…
Email marketing isn’t free but it is by far the most convenient way to promote products and services to an audience. Email marketing campaigns are also very easy to set up and track, even for small businesses. Almost all platforms offering email marketing services make their tools available for a free trial.
Email marketing should run alongside a social media marketing strategy but web users still regard email as the main channel for purchasing goods, services, or online information. An email is personal and remains highlighted in the recipient’s box until it is read or deleted.
Best platforms for email marketing
There is no doubt that web marketing is the most important long-term promotional tool for companies. That is why the Internet has no shortage of platforms and software for email marketing. All offer a free trial version. Some provide full access for a limited period. Others offer a limited service with no time restrictions. So free email marketing is real to some extent.
Check here our analysis of several email marketing platforms, evaluated by different criteria including email marketing automation, the platform’s ability to automatically send opt-in responses, welcome messages, etc.
Take the time to test more than one platform, especially if you are not familiar with them.
The email marketing campaign
An email marketing campaign can serve a number of goals, together or separately. Some of the most common goals are launching a promotional sales campaign, increasing the activity of subscribers through calls to action, obtaining greater segmentation through a questionnaire, and informing the participants of the business’s activities.
Each objective is best met with its own email layout. If you are looking for a service to create and send newsletters, for example, you can find numerous reviews of email marketing platforms on this site. A successful marketing campaign also requires knowledge of your audience. Your business’s Facebook page will give you plenty of information about your followers.
The screenshots below show newsletter templates designed for different marketing goals. You can find many other examples on Google that can help you with your email marketing campaign.
What is a squeeze page?
The squeeze page is a type of landing page, the Web page that users reach after performing an action on another page, such as clicking a button. However, while landing pages aim to convert a user (to persuade them to purchase a product or a service, download an ebook, accept a coupon, etc.), the squeeze page has the sole purpose of collecting users’ email addresses.
The most important part of a squeeze page is the form on which users enter their data and the checkbox they must mark to show that they consent to receive the newsletter. Also important are the title and a short text that illustrates the benefits of the subscription. That text might provide an incentive, such as a free ebook. The call to action consists of the button to submit the form. Usually, the squeeze pages have no outgoing links so that the business does not lose the user’s attention.
You can find suggestions to help you collect email addresses here.
Email marketing and mailing lists
The email addresses entered on a squeeze page are placed on a mailing list. A company often has multiple lists grouped according to different criteria: customers; contacts met at an event; partners; organizations; employees, etc. The most effective email marketing campaigns send personalized newsletters to different groups based on their unique characteristics. The business creates those segments by asking subscribers to provide additional information such as age, nationality, gender, tastes, expectations and so on, often by sending them questionnaires.
The law requires users to consent to the addition of their email address to a mailing list. Most mailing lists are built by users registering through forms on a company website or on squeeze pages. A valid email marketing platform usually offers subscription forms that are already optimized and ready-to-use.
Finally, if the company website was created with WordPress, plugins can automatically add to the mailing list the email adresses of people who have completed and submitted the registration form.
Email marketing strategies
Email marketing strategies can vary depending on the business. An online business that never meets its customers will have a different approach from a restaurant owner who sees his customers regularly. The phase of contact acquisition – or list building – always represents a crucial moment. Here are some possibilities that you can consider when planning your email marketing strategy.
- Email marketing for restaurants. The potential customer base of a restaurant is very wide and includes people with whom the restaurant has continuous real contact. Through the website, the manager can offer a discount coupon (or a free drink) in exchange for subscribing to the newsletter. The same subscription proposal can be made when booking a table online. Finally, the restaurant can place a tablet next to the cash desk. Some software lets customers leave a brief review together with their email address to receive offers and news from the restaurant.
- Email marketing for hotels. Since the competition in this sector is very intense, users already registered on your mailing list will expect a quality product with a clear and orderly layout. The list-building can be increased by asking customers to sign up for the newsletter at check-in or at check-out, when they can also fill out a short evaluation form. The booking confirmation email can be enriched with links to useful in-depth articles such as places to dine; local shops; weather; and how to reach the hotel. Finally, you can also send an email targeting those who seldom open your messages, with a tempting offer in the subject line.
- Email marketing for ecommerce. The success of an independent online store depends heavily on customizing email marketing activities. A customer who has left the cart without completing the purchase might receive an email inviting them to complete the process. Up-selling can be performed by sending an email to a customer suggesting products related to their first purchase. The loyalty of the customer is always the final goal. Even a birthday message, sent with a discount voucher, can be a simple but effective idea.
- Email marketing for real estate. Email marketing can bring property buyers and sellers to real estate agents. Creating your own contact list is not easy but personal relationships are a reliable channel, if a little slow, and it is always possible to use paid posts on social networks. An email focusing on the agent’s services can make for an effective introduction and highlight their results, skill, and experience. A standard newsletter can contain an analysis of the local housing market, the prices of new properties for sale, links to their description and photo gallery, highlights on neighborhoods, and other interesting information.
- Email marketing for tourism. The tourism marketing works by inducing in people the thought of the trip, highlighting the moment of fantasy to which we are all susceptible. A tourism newsletter balances a promotional message (the “price factor”) and information content, with the latter useful for boosting the “experience factor” of the trip. Emails that ask the customer for feedback after a vacation also show care and concern, reinforcing loyalty.
For email marketing to produce the best results, it is important to observe several good practices. They include:
- Build your list. Buying mailing lists is a waste of time. Sending unsolicited emails to people will cost you contacts that you could have turned into customers. Moreover, sooner or later, you will be labeled as a spammer.
- Respect the rules governing privacy and personal data collection. Obey the CAN-SPAM Act (if you work with the US market) and the GDPR in European Union countries. Click here to learn more.
- Only Amazon can send nothing but direct advertisements. Use the newsletters to build a relationship with customers by sharing experiences, and by offering advice and insights your subscribers will be interested to read. You can even share information about your company and the people who work there.
- Take care of your contact list. Remember that the people who gave you their names and email addresses trusted you. They deserve respect. You have a chance to turn those contacts into customers and even ambassadors for your brand.
- If you publish newsletters, stick to a schedule. Sending emails on a regular basis can help subscribers know what to expect from you and when
Email marketing and GDPR
The GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. The provision entered into force on May 25, 2018 in all the countries of the European Union. It replaces previous regulations governing the collection and management of personal data on the Web. It forbids the sending of emails and other communications to those who have not given their express consent. For example, you cannot add to a mailing list someone who has only left you their business card.
Moreover, even after having given consent, the user has the right to know how the company will send them communications. They must also be able to request and obtain the total deletion of their data – not only the removal of their address from your mailing list – if they want.
The legislation of GDPR provides heavy penalties for all cases of infringement, distinguishing between individual companies and groups of companies. You can learn more about the details of the GDPR sanctioning regime on this page.
The text of the GDPR is available on the website of the European Union legislation.