1. What is email marketing?
E-mail marketing is an important part of online marketing and is particularly related to direct marketing. Companies use this form of marketing to expand and consolidate existing customer contacts. A distinction is made between so-called one-to-one communication and one-to-many communication. With one-to-one communication, the e-mail is sent specifically to a specific person. If the company sends the email to any number of people, this is referred to as one-to-many communication.
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1.1 Is Email Marketing Still Important Today?
A study showed that 95% of the top-selling German online shops already offer a newsletter. However, only one in 10 pages refers to the newsletter in the header or footer and only a quarter of the companies regularly send emails to their subscribers. A lot of potential is therefore currently not being used. The attention span of newsletter subscribers has even increased in recent years and the number of newsletters that are read is increasing. That was the result of a study published by Litmus in 2017.
1.2 B2B and B2C
Email marketing is relevant to both the B2B and B2C segments. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether products and services are intended to be sold to end users or companies; however, different approaches have to be considered here.
Companies work with long sales cycles. Consumers, on the other hand, usually make their purchasing decisions quickly. In B2B marketing, the services and products are usually offered to an entire company. Before the company buys a service or a product, the decision-making process often goes through different departments or individuals.
In B2C marketing, the focus is on motivating the consumer on an emotional level to buy the product or service. The lyrics are short and persuasive, address feelings and arouse personal needs. In B2B marketing, it is important to convince corporate customers with specifications and objective details.
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1.3 The main advantages of email marketing
Email marketing has clear advantages over conventional marketing tools:
1.4 The different e-mail variants
There are different types of email. We have briefly summarized the most important variants and their characteristics for you:
Individual e-mails that are sent to individual recipients due to certain triggering events are called transactional e-mails. The term is slightly misleading because it is less about transactions and more about the delivery of information. Classic examples of transactional emails are activation emails for user accounts, password resets, booking confirmations, etc.
Newsletters often include notices of new articles on the blog, product offerings, and similar information. They can be sent at regular or irregular intervals to specific e-mail recipients who are on a mailing list. When creating a newsletter, you should make sure that you always offer users added value.
Direct mailings involve more effort than newsletters, but have also proven to be a better email marketing tool. Direct mailings are usually designed and formulated more individually and sent to carefully selected groups of recipients.
Automation is one of the most important tools in email marketing. Automated emails can be divided into trigger and lifecycle emails. Trigger mailings are sent automatically as soon as the recipient takes a certain action, for example registers as a customer. Lifecycle mails are sent at predetermined times, for example on the recipient’s birthday.
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2. Email Marketing Tips for Legal Needs
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on May 25, 2018. It defines how companies, but also medical practices, law firms, etc., have to deal with personal data. The focus is on the comprehensive protection of personal data and transparency about how this data is used and, if necessary, passed on.
Email marketing is often outsourced to professional agencies; or the company works with an email marketing provider. In these cases, the parties have to conclude an order for data processing (ADV), in which the transfer of personal data is regulated. The content of the contract must comply with the legal provisions and the requirements for data protection, because it entitles the service provider, among other things, to receive the data for the agreed purpose and to use it for e-mail marketing
2.1 Double opt-in: Secure e-mail marketing according to the GDPR
Any expression that aims to sell products or services falls under the term “advertising”. Therefore, almost everything that companies communicate to the outside world can be classified as advertising, as long as it is not just about answers to customer questions or order confirmations.
All companies that want to use e-mail marketing therefore need the express consent of the recipient. Obtaining this consent via the double opt-in procedure (DOI) is still the safest way to meet the requirements of the GDPR.
If a user signs up for a mailing list with their email address, the provider will send them a confirmation email. This contains a link through which the interested party confirms his registration. At this point, the double opt-in procedure is complete.
If e-mails are sent without the DOI procedure, this can result in a warning. It must also be noted that such consent can also expire. The period is 4 years if no e-mails were sent after consent was given.
Whether B2B or B2C – unsolicited sending of e-mails or advertising is generally not permitted.
According to Art. 13 Para. 1 GDPR, it is also important to include comprehensive information for interested newsletter subscribers in the data protection declaration. Information is required on
Purpose for processing the personal data indication of the legal basis Duration of storage Notice of the right to withdraw consent
According to a decision by the Munich Higher Regional Court, the DOI mail can also be classified as advertising if it contains advertising elements or statements. It must therefore be ensured that these do not have an advertising character, e.g. in which reference is made to products. The same applies to invoices and signatures. Advertising without consent is not permitted. You can find out what a DOI mail should look like in this article by the Certifies Senders Alliance on the perfect double opt-in mail.
However, there is an exception regarding DOI. A DOI procedure is not required if, for example, a business relationship with existing customers already exists. According to §7 Abs. 3 UWG it is allowed to send mails if
there is a valid contract Advertisements for similar products or services are made the customer has not objected to the use of the address
The time frame in this regard varies in different court orders. However, a period of 2 years can be set as a guide. The customer’s last purchase shouldn’t be longer.
Judgments on the subject of data security are constantly changing. Our article offers no guarantee of completeness or correctness and only gives a recommendation. Due to the legal dynamics, the topic should be continuously pursued. If there are any uncertainties, it is advisable to consult a lawyer for advice.
3.Lead Generation & Address List
Lead generation means gaining new contacts. Successful strategies can turn these into customers. There are various ways of generating contacts for the address database, both online and offline. You can find the best email marketing tips for lead generation in this chapter.
It is important to know the target group exactly and to develop appropriate campaigns for them. Basically, care should be taken to ask for as little personal data as possible when registering the user, so as not to endanger one’s own seriousness.
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In order to build up a high-quality recipient list, it is important to draw the attention of as many interested parties as possible to the newsletter, the products and services.
The benefits must be clearly communicated. The content of the emails is relevant. The call for registration is made on strategically relevant pages.
3.1 Lead Generation Opportunities
The most important point of contact with potential customers and mail subscribers is your own website or online shop. Especially in the B2B segment, your own presence on the Internet is the most important door opener for communication with customers. At this point, customers find out about the portfolio, request offers and place orders.
It should be mentioned here that lead generation via your own website requires a lot of traffic. SEO measures, for example, are suitable for increasing this sustainably and cost-effectively.
Lead generation as part of an inbound marketing approach
The use of pop-ups and layers can also be very successful. However, opinions differ on how intrusive these tools are.
With call-to-action buttons in social media channels, visitors to a fan page can be taken directly to the registration page. Posts in social networks are also suitable as references to newsletters or email campaigns.
Facebook & Co. are ideal for B2C contacts, while the business networks XING and LinkedIn have proven their worth in the B2B area. But Facebook should not be underestimated for B2B prospects either. Many employees are not only on social media sites privately. Studies have shown that Friday afternoons are particularly good for addressing employees on Facebook.
Registration widgets on special landing pages have proven particularly effective in the B2B segment. These pages are excellent for linking to social media. In addition, landing pages are ideal for optimizing the content and design of cover versions and thus increasing the number of newsletter subscriptions. The focus is clearly on the call-to-action, distractions are avoided.
3.2 Helpful: the segmentation of the recipient groups
After contacts have been generated, it is important to segment them. In this way, the right emails can be sent to the right recipients. The contact lists are sorted according to certain criteria and the recipients are selected accordingly. This makes it easy to isolate target groups; the e-mails reach exactly those recipients who are highly likely to be interested in the content and open the e-mails.
The benefits of segmentation:
The respective target groups can easily be isolated. The content reaches exactly those recipients who are interested in it and who are highly likely to open the e-mails. The e-mails are not declared as spam. Working campaigns with customized content can be set up.
3.3 Differences in lead generation between B2B and B2C
In e-mail marketing, the basic rule is that the recipients want to be entertained, receive valuable information, stay up to date and be informed about offers. When it comes to lead generation, however, a clear distinction must be made between B2B and B2C.
B2C recipients are attracted to discount campaigns, sweepstakes, free samples and similar offers. They look forward to relevant information about the service or product and ask about extended return rights, small gifts and trial months.
B2B recipients, on the other hand, are more critical and also more persistent. They are easy to acquire via whitepaper and are interested in well-founded know-how and high-quality information. You have questions or problems and are looking for solutions and information.
3.4 Can I buy email addresses?
Many companies that do email marketing are convinced that the more email addresses they have, the higher the number of potential new customers. There are many tempting offers to buy e-mail addresses on the Internet. But one of our most important email marketing tips is: “A lot helps a lot” is usually just wrong.
Anyone who frequently receives unsolicited e-mails from unknown senders will either delete them without reading them or – especially if they are sent repeatedly – declare the e-mails spam and block the sender. The sender’s reputation suffers significantly as Internet Service Providers (ISP) pay attention to how good the open rates are and how high the spam flags and blocks are.
In addition, companies that send e-mails to purchased addresses are liable to prosecution. Since the GDPR came into force, new rules have applied: within the scope of e-mail marketing, e-mails may only be sent to recipients who have given their prior express consent. It doesn’t matter whether the recipient comes from the B2C or B2B segment and whether they are interested, new or existing customers.
Email Marketing Tips: How Do I Find the Right Tool?
There are many different email marketing tools on the market that can be used to create newsletters. These differ in their functions and prices. In order to choose the right tool, care should be taken to ensure that certain requirements are met. This enables professional and legally compliant handling. In this chapter you will find everything you need to know about tools for professional email marketing.
4.1 Important Features
When choosing the e-mail marketing tool, the available functions are also important in addition to the price. That’s why we’ve put together an overview of important features for creating newsletters for you.
Editor & Template Builder
A high-quality email marketing software offers an easy-to-use editor that enables the design of attractive newsletters even without in-depth knowledge. Many tools offer ready-made templates. Since these often do not meet your own requirements, you should be able to customize and save them individually.
It is also important to be able to customize and adapt templates. An html import function is helpful here. To check the result, a preview function for different devices such as PC, tablet and smartphone is essential. But drafts and the different versions should also be able to be saved for later editing.
Ease of use is also an important aspect. The tool must be intuitive to use and have an attractive user interface.
In addition, it should be ensured that a white label is used. This means that neither in the e-mails nor after unsubscribing is visible which sending tool was used.
Responsiveness is still an important issue. Newsletters should be tested in all common clients.
An unsubscribe header simplifies unsubscribing from a newsletter and supplements conventional unsubscribe procedures via an unsubscribe link. If this is used, the recipient is shown an interface with which they can unsubscribe from the recipient list. This offers the advantage that the user does not have to scroll through the entire email to the unsubscribe link, which reduces the likelihood of the newsletter being marked as spam.
The automated mail dispatch saves a lot of time and ensures timely receipt. This point is particularly important for trigger and lifecycle emails. E-mail marketing automation can be used to send individualized e-mails according to user behavior.
The reliable and secure sending of e-mails is essential for successful e-mail marketing. Professional providers provide their own certified servers and email marketing whitelisting, as well as features such as DMARC authentication, dedicated IPs, and DKIM signing.
In e-mail marketing, the issue of data protection and security has come into focus at least since the GDPR. Professional providers operate their own servers in Germany, offer TÜV-certified data protection management and sophisticated online solutions for ADV.
Comprehensive reporting is important to identify potential for improvement. Professional software for email marketing enables extensive and detailed reports on all important KPIs. The sender can see where the recipient clicked, which subject line was more appealing in A/B testing and how many visits were generated.
A log for each address is also helpful in that it can be tracked when the person registered and how often the e-mails were read.
Recipient management is also important. This includes manual import, synchronized interfaces and registration forms. Static contact information such as e-mail addresses, names, etc. is saved as well as behavior-based characteristics, for example the number of e-mails received and opened, the last date of purchase and the like. List management allows recipients to be added to specific lists and segmented.
Another important feature is an automated recipient address. The contact details are often not completely stored. Through automation, the recipient can still be addressed correctly, even if, for example, only their first name is available.
A tag function is also very helpful. In this way, newsletters or special mailings can be sent based on tags, e.g. for visitors to the XY 2019 trade fair.
An address check helps to check whether the e-mail addresses are correct and, if necessary, to delete incorrect addresses.
Blacklists and spam
Domain-based and IP-based blacklists mean that emails are no longer delivered. If an IP address or domain is suspected of sending spam emails, it will be placed on a public blacklist. As a result, the sender’s emails are blocked and blocked. It is particularly problematic if the sender gets on the list by mistake. If this happens, there is usually an opportunity to defend yourself in order to be removed from the blacklist again. To avoid possible problems due to blacklists, a blacklist check feature is important.
Another useful feature is to put addresses on your own blacklist. This can prevent recipients who have already unsubscribed from the newsletter, for example, from continuing to receive emails.
4.2 What newsletter tools are there and what are the costs?
There are numerous providers for creating newsletters. Pricing usually depends on the number of emails sent and the number of recipients. Most even have free models. Here we briefly present a few of the tools that are rated the best according to trusted. This gives you a good overview of the costs of the various tools.
Newsletter2go is suitable for beginners and advanced users. The user administration, CSA certification, exclusive data storage in Germany, responsive templates and the clear editor are rated particularly well. However, the comparatively smaller selection of designs is criticized. There are three different price models with different services. The lite version with up to 1,000 emails per month is free – ideal for smaller companies. 5,000 monthly emails cost 30 euros and 50,000 emails 180 euros.
Cleverreach is also very user-friendly with an easy-to-use editor with a clear user interface. This provider is also CSA-certified. The shortcoming here is that some of the features in the free version can only be used to a limited extent. With the free version, however, 1,000 emails can be sent to a maximum of 250 recipients. The further calculation via the prepaid model is staggered according to the number of recipients. Prices start at EUR 29.95 for 1,000 emails to 500 recipients.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email services. The tool is free for up to 2,000 recipients and 12,000 emails per month. The tool has an intelligent wizard for creating templates or templates. The focus is also on AI, e.g. with regard to the time of dispatch. Depending on the model, the full range of functions costs between 60 and 260 euros per month.
Other similar providers are Mailify, rapidmail, Clever Elements and GetResponse.
The OSG Performance Suite also has a newsletter tool with various, user-friendly basic templates to choose from. However, personal templates that meet your own requirements can also be easily created via drag & drop. Another important feature are mailing templates for lifecycle newsletters. The legal and security requirements described above are met. The OSG tool can be tested for free.
5.Design & Content
Experience shows that newsletters should not exceed a certain width in order to avoid annoying scrolling across the screen. Four out of five Germans read e-mails on their smartphone. With a classic window layout of the e-mail client and a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, a good display is generally guaranteed if the width is 600 to 700 pixels.
Also, but not only in e-mail marketing, the recognition value of a company is extremely important. The consistently implemented corporate design in the newsletter significantly ensures that customers remember, identify the brand and thus possibly make the desired purchase decision more quickly. A newsletter or direct mailing can thus support a uniform and, above all, positive brand image.
The most important email marketing tips before sending include the following aspects:
Don't use spam words Content should not be copied from Word Pay attention to the size and format of the images Test sending to the most important e-mail clients
5.1 Special Case Character Set and Typography
It’s fun to spice up the newsletter with an individual typeface. There are countless fonts and ideas for using them on the web. But there are limits to creativity in email marketing when it comes to typography. Often typographical elements in the newsletter cannot be displayed properly or not at all. Many selected fonts differ from their original appearance in the inbox, which often destroys the entire concept.
Some e-mail clients only support web fonts to a limited extent or not at all. System fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica, on the other hand, are now pre-installed by default on almost every computer. As a rule, they are displayed correctly in the mailbox and can therefore be used without any problems.
5.2 Special case text version and web version
Most email marketing tools generate newsletters in HTML format. In this way, links and images can be inserted and text formatted. The recipient is not only addressed in terms of content, but also visually – his interest is aroused.