Email marketing

Email marketing is an effective and measurable way of reaching your contacts or existing customers. Cheaper than any other direct marketing method, email marketing lets you tailor your messages to different types of customers, build customer relationships and drive direct sales.

Most of your customers probably check their email daily. Therefore, email can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Email marketing should be used responsibly and it is extremely important to gain your customers' consent before sending emails.

Types of email marketing

Email marketing tactics include:

  • e-newsletters, business updates or product bulletins
  • promotional emails to generate new leads or offers for regular customers
  • ads appearing in other business's emails.

Tips for email marketing

Focus on prospects you know are interested in your products or services. Target contacts or potential customer groups who will have a direct need for your products.

Keep a database to help you record information about potential and existing customers. Use information you gather about them (e.g. their buying habits, work requirements, sports or recreation needs) to tailor more specific messages.

Start an email newsletter to keep in touch with your customers and prospects. Well-composed email newsletters are a credible, persuasive way of building your business's reputation. Keep it interesting, concise and relevant to your particular readers.

Keep your advertising sharp. Email readers scan for words and pictures and decide quickly whether they are interested in what you have to say. Don't waste words in your email advertising. A compelling image with an engaging offer is your best shot at getting their attention, generating a new prospect or making a sale.

Track your customer response rates. Keep records on the responses you receive from recipients. Consider whether the people who respond to you have anything in common, or express a similar interest in a certain product. This information will help you better target your future marketing.

Do not spam. Under the Spam Act 2003 (Cwlth) it is illegal to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages. In order to comply with the act, every commercial email (or phone message) you send must meet the following conditions:

  • consent - the recipient must have either expressly consented to receiving your messages, or must be an existing customer or individual who has some existing relationship with your business
  • identify - the message must accurately identify your business
  • unsubscribe - the message must contain a functional 'unsubscribe' facility to allow the recipient to opt out from receiving further messages. You must honour unsubscribe requests within 5 working days.

According to the rules governing consent, you do not have the right to send a single unsolicited electronic message. Including an unsubscribe facility does not remove this constraint - even if you act on unsubscribe requests immediately. However, it is possible to buy a list of contacts matching your target profile from another organisation if those contacts have agreed to receive messages from third parties.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) provides more information about spam and how it is treated under Australian law from a consumer's perspective.

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