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The different types of email marketing
When trying to captivate your customer, it’s important to open conversations and deliver the correct information to support them on their journey. Email marketing is an excellent way to do so by placing messages directly into your customer’s inbox. It’s also a great way to maintain relationships between your brand and audience by continually delivering interesting content.
However, a lot of emails are sent every day and with most inboxes having an average of 200 emails at any time. Many of us are familiar with deleting an email before we’ve even bothered to read it, so it’s safe to say that many emails simply get ignored and brushed aside from just a glance.
It is therefore crucial that your business delivers compelling emails that address your customers’ needs, and at a time that they are most likely to open and read it. By doing this consistently, it will give you a better chance of encouraging recipients to open, read and act upon your emails to convert them into loyal customers.
In order to do that, it’s important to choose email types that are fit for purpose and engaging. With 35% of marketers sending 3-5 emails to their customers a week, that means mixing things up and making them stand out. By doing so, you can build a reputation for delivering valuable emails that customers are excited to open. Below, we’ve listed the various types of email your brand could be using and the effect each has.
An email making an announcement to your database of a special event or a launch of something new is a great way of generating excitement and intrigue. For example, you might wish to let your prospects and customers know that something special is coming soon… and then follow this up with a big reveal email. This is a great format for a new product or service, event or even campaign you are running. It might also apply to updated versions of products you already sell. It should give details around the launch (and if it’s a new product, pictures) and provide any information a customer might wish to know.
In some cases, these emails can give exclusive access to a new product or line before it launches (as a way of rewarding those subscribed to your emails), offer a free product demonstration or discount code.
The aim of an announcement or launch email should be to create a buzz about whatever is coming. You need to clarify why the reader should care about this new thing – for example, is it an upgrade on something you already offer? Does it address an unserved niche? Does it align with a current market trend?
By indicating the value and building excitement, you can capture people’s attention early on. This may encourage them to pre-order and want to purchase the item, even if it’s not yet launched, which will boost your sales once it’s available.
An offer email will provide a discount or deal to your customers, usually with a unique code they can redeem either on your website or in person. It may also be used to announce a sale.
An offer can be combined with other email types. For instance, a product announcement email may include an exclusive discount, or you might give a deal to a customer stuck in a part of their buyer journey with a lead nurturing email. Similarly, offers may also act as incentives after a customer has completed a specific action.
Offer emails tend to be an excellent way to drive engagement. Data has shown that people generally prefer to receive offers through email as compared to social media. If you want to encourage action, you should consider using subject lines containing words that create urgency, such as ‘time-sensitive’, ‘limited’, ‘exclusive’ or ‘now’ to convince the reader to take advantage while they can.
A newsletter is an email that delivers a round-up of content. It can contain many different elements, but it will typically feature blogs, internal news, images, product information, etc. They are usually conversational and may have a set theme. In the below example, Vets4Pets have created a newsletter on how to look about your pet during the autumn months, offering a range of advice pieces.
Newsletters can be a great way to link to content on your website and extend consumer interactions. This will enable you to drive website performance, including increasing exposure to blog posts and other pages. It’s also a helpful way to showcase information that perhaps would not warrant a whole email on its own.
Many brands will send newsletter emails weekly or monthly, so it can be a tool for ongoing communication between brand and customer, even after they’ve already purchased from you.
It’s worth noting that in the Vets4Pets example, personalisation is used in the email. Although there is likely to be clients owning different pets, this one specifies cats and even includes the pet’s name. This shows how essential it is to segment your newsletter email per customer type to focus on delivering content that adds value to their unique journey and stands a better chance of converting them. So, be sure to utilise the data and insight you have on your customers and use it to create an exceptional email, tailored to them.
An invitation email is very ‘Ronseal’ in that it does what it says on the tin – it invites the reader to attend something or to take specific action. This could include events, webinars, product launches, programmes and so on.
This kind of email mainly focuses on promotion. The event you’re inviting the person to itself should fulfil a purpose (such as allowing them to find out more about your business, improving brand loyalty or raising your profile) and will ultimately move that person to the next stage of their journey. The invitation email is there to make them aware of the event, pique their interest and convince them of the value they will get from attending.
There may also be a commercial element to the invitation, such as if a customer must purchase a ticket. The premise of the email remains the same, though you may have to work harder to persuade them that your event is worth spending money on by highlighting what they will get out of it.
In the below example, from the children’s brand JoJo Maman Bébé, we can see an invitation to join a loyalty club. While not an event, the email shares the same principles – sharing with the reader what they can expect from becoming part of an exclusive club and showcasing the returned value.
While not strictly email, sending messages on social media can result in an email being sent to a customer. This typically happens in LinkedIn, using the direct messaging feature that will also send an email notification to the recipient (provided they have set up the appropriate notification preferences).
Although you have no control over the email sent, you should bear in mind this may happen. Focus on creating a compelling social media message that highlights who you are, why you are contacting, and why the recipient should carry. This will then translate into an effective email.
While the focus should naturally be the social media message, this is also a great approach to target people across platforms – for example, if they aren’t always active on social media.
On the reverse side, you can also use your email to drive social media engagement by utilising links to your profiles in your email, such as in the signature. This will help you boost your follower count while showing readers the alternative options for interacting with your brand.
An internal news email shares activity and changes occurring within your company, which may be of interest to your customers. This may relate to branding changes, value updates or new staff.
How much you choose to share will depend on the nature of your business. Generally speaking, brands may use internal news emails to share good news – such as a positive change (like announcing eco-friendly processes). It will also be useful for the stuff you must share, like if your brand name changes (thereby informing customers and preventing confusion) or a significant process change that might affect the user journey.
By providing news about your business, you can create personal connections with your customer and show them you aren’t just a faceless brand. In this sense, these emails can allow the reader to become invested in your company and your story, beyond your products and services, helping to boost loyalty. It also fulfils your duty of care to your customers by informing them of the changes that may affect them and maintaining positive experiences.
Finally, these emails might be needed when you must communicate not-so-good news, such as addressing crises and public attention. In these instances, the email is your chance to apologise to your customers and attempt to put things right in a more personal, private way than a social media post. If you do this sincerely, it may enable you to rebuild bridges and mitigate the repercussions felt.
Securing reviews for your business is essential in encouraging others to buy, with reviews, with 63% of customers more likely to trust a company with visible reviews. However, it can be an ask for someone to take time out of their day to leave their thoughts of your products or services.
A review email requests that your customers to share their experience, usually on a designated reviews platform. Typically, this email will be sent after a transaction is complete (for example, once the customers have received their product).
When sending a review email, you need to be conscious that you’re asking a favour from the customer. This means the email should make it as easy as possible for the recipient to share their thoughts, and you should be polite in tone while emphasising how much you value their time. In some cases, you may wish to offer incentives (such as discount codes or entries into a prize draw) to encourage people to leave feedback.
By creating effective review emails that encourage customers to leave their feedback, you can begin to build a bank of user-generated content that allows you to attract new customers.
Transactional or operational emails relate to all the notifications you need to send to alert someone about the status of their purchase – for example, order confirmation and dispatch emails. It may also include stock updates (particularly if the customer has signed up to receive these on a specific product), renewals, payment reminders, welcome emails or technical emails relating to an online account (such as password resets).
These won’t tend to be the most exciting emails you send and are most often automated. However, it’s essential to ensure they’re aligned with your branding and tone of voice to enable consistent user experiences.
They do serve an important purpose. Transactional emails keep your customer informed about their purchase, which is integral in providing an excellent service that meets their expectations. It can also open the lines of communication between the two parties, allowing them to get in touch with you with any queries they may have about their order and alerting them to potential problems.
By providing these emails, you can help your customer feel confident in your company and get the necessary updates they need about their purchase.
The term ‘lead nurturing’ can apply to many of the email types we’ve already mentioned here. Essentially, a leading nurturing email encourages a potential customer to take the next step in their journey by providing content directly related to their current stage. Examples could include:
- A reminder to a lead about the product they looked at your website but did not buy, containing an exclusive discount code
- An email to someone subscribed to your marketing updates but who hasn’t purchased for some time, highlighting some products they might like
- A personalised email to someone who has previously inquired about your services, asking what specific help they need
- A newsletter to an existing customer, with helpful tips on how to get the most of a product they have previously bought
These types of emails are highly personalised. This doesn’t mean just including the recipient’s name – it means understanding their past behaviour with your business and knowing what they need to take a specific action.
Utilise any insight you hold on that customer or even general information about customers in that stage of their journey, and use it to deliver tailored content that will align with their needs.
Let’s take the below example from fashion retailer New Look. The brand knows the customer hasn’t purchased for a while, so it is sending a newsletter featuring a curation of trending new products that might be of interest. The headline ‘You’re missing out on new season’ elicits a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and may act to remind the consumer that a new wardrobe may be due.
The hope from such an email is that the customer will make a purchase – thereby refuelling the buying cycle.
With an estimated return on investment of up to 122%, email marketing can be powerful. However, it will only give you rewards if you do it right, with a carefully chosen strategy and expertly crafted emails.
By understanding the types of emails your brand should be sending and the unique purpose of each, you can focus on delivering the right message, in the right way, at precisely the right time.
With this, you will create an email schedule that continually engages readers, converts leads and builds on customer relationships, driving favourable results for your business.