You should never stop learning especially as technology is in a state of constant progress. Consequently you can call yourself an expert only by continuously gaining experience and increasing your skills and know-how with each project. E-mail marketing in Asia is definitely picking up steam but still seems to be in its infancy in the region. But don’t worry! Each new campaign offers a new chance to get more insights into user behavior and can teach you valuable lessons.

Advantages of an e-mail marketing campaign

E-Mail marketing has definitely some advantages in store for advertising companies, particularly if you draw comparisons to print advertisement. The lead time of a mailing for instance is only 3 - 5 days, depending on whether HTML creative are provided as well, or only text messages are planned to be sent out. A print mailing, in contrast, would need around 3 months time to market.

Another advantage is that no drastic material costs are needed, thus, on average, only 1/3 of the costs of a conventional campaign are raked-up with e-mail campaigns.

If you deal with an opt-in client list, the messages you send are going only to people, who agreed to receive your advertisement. They await it and therefore give their best attention. Thus, it is not surprising that response rates are 3 to 4 times higher compared to off-line campaigns.

In addition, it’s a fact that e-mail is a very fast medium, so much so, 80% of the responses can be expected in the first 48 hours. Moreover, when it comes to comprehensive real-time reporting, the success of an online campaign can be measured in several steps.
Additionally, no other medium offers the possibility for tests and optimization in such a favorable and fast way, where detailed profiling and targeting avoids wastage.

Objectives which can be pursued most significantly with an e-mail marketing campaign

E-Mail marketing can be used in various ways, whether in the B2B or B2C sector. A common goal of both sectors is to tie up existing customers and to win new clients. Furthermore, regularly conducted e-mail campaigns, deployed for a new product launch or the announcement of a specific event or news, can strengthen customer relationship. If the customer participates in the development of the company, it intensifies the relationship – it’s this simple. Therefore, companies increasingly use e-mails as a means to spread their information and use the marketing measure to collect own e-mail addresses.
When it comes to gaining new customers, however, campaigns are usually accomplished with rented addresses. Such marketing activities increase the branding and serve the sales promotion. In addition, the e-mail medium can be used with the integration of small surveys for market and product research purposes as well. Even the service of a helpdesk for Web page visitors can be to a large extent automated by the adoption of e-mails.

The reach of e-mail marketing campaigns and its response rates

There is no “typical target group”, as this varies in dependence of the message that is mediated and the way how a campaign is arranged. While in the B2B area response rates are not really predictable, relatively good results are usually recorded in the consumer industry. If the e-mail has a responding subject an average of 45 - 70% of the receivers open them (opening rate). With appropriate contents and attractive product or service offers 5% – 15% click on one or various links in order to find further information or to do a purchase (click through rate). Approximately 2% - 5% finally become buyers or prospects (conversion rate). What conversion exactly means for the advertiser depends on the campaign objectives. This can consist of increasing the traffic on a Web page, of encouraging the customer to an information request, or for selling something directly. Then, an exact success measurement takes place by the Cost-per-Click or Cost-per- Sale evaluations which allows determining the Return on Investment (ROI) as well, and consequently the decisive index for the success measurement of a campaign.

The significance of e-mail marketing should depend on the product or information offers and the appropriate target group. And please don’t throw all past experiences with your existing and already integrated marketing-mix over board only because of the new medium. Rather, the “traditional media” should instead be expanded step-by-step with additional assignments of e-mail marketing activities in order to learn to use this new medium professionally, as well as to find the best way to allocate the deployment of the new communication channel. E-mail marketing is a very promising and powerful tool, however off-line advertisements have its right of existence, too. And sometimes, it’s specifically the combination of different media that brings in the largest success story and track record.

The costs of a campaign and necessary preparations

Simple text mailings can be sent out within fewer hours. However, if you want to include in addition an adequate company’s look-and-feel HTML-creative, some extra time of 3 to 5 days has to be allowed.

The price for renting business addresses are between 50 cents and several dollars, depending on the priority of the target group. Consumer addresses are on an average between 35 and 70 cents, depending on quantity and the characteristics of the selection criteria.

Address owners often compute additional selection fees of up to 200 dollars, or credit per 1,000 addresses. If the dispatch isn’t conducted by the address owner, additional costs for a database lump sum of around 50 to 200 dollars have to be assumed. The production of a HTML-creative costs between 250 to 400 dollars and finally for the dispatch, there has to be calculated on the average 25 dollars for 1,000 e-mails.

What can go wrong?

The first important rule in e-mail marketing means that off-line activities cannot be transferred one to one into on-line marketing. Texts must be substantially shorter due to the worse overview on the screen and the slower reading rate of the receivers, than in print.

In addition, there are more paragraphs and a clearer arrangement is necessary, in order to facilitate an easier reading. For instance, only the first 10 lines are read very concentrated, before the eye begins to scan the content. Therefore, the first sentences should really grab the reader’s attention, while in off-line advertisements usually the “bombshell” burst only at the end. The arrangement of the text and particularly the subject line – which gives a first impression and decides on an opening or deletion - should be performed therefore with care.
Beyond that, pay attention to choosing a good address provider, that is, one who has collected the addresses correctly, with the consent of the receivers.

Even the right choice of a professional fulfillment service provider is important, as the dispatch of “data garbage” or destroyed HTML-mailings can fast displease the receivers and get in the way of a successful campaign. You should have an eye on meaningful reporting as well as control and optimization possibilities of your provider, as it is important for the execution of likely subsequent campaigns.

Currently, Asian companies still regard e-mail marketing suspiciously and with caution. Be it due to painful experiences of the hype of other media, or any other reasons - they give themselves over carefully. Often they start with sending out smaller batches in the beginning, in order to get used to the new medium and its potential but on a positive note, once this is done, they fast acquire a taste for it.

Well, Asia already leads in number of people using the Internet. Considering that to-date almost 400 million Internet users are Asians, with the rapidly rising growth rate of around 250%, the future of e-mail marketing looks rosy in the region.  Indeed, 35.8 % of the world’s internet users are Asian, of course still mainly driven by the high technology-driven countries, like Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. All in all, the percentage of population using the Internet in Asia is still low at 10.8 %, due to the technically underdeveloped countries in the continent.

The future looks really bright for the e-mail medium in our region and will even be brighter, if permission marketing and spam regulations are more established. With this, the acceptance of e-mail advertisements will grow, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of this marketing channel. Greater response rates to e-mail marketing campaigns will convince more companies to integrate the method in their marketing-mix, as current developments clearly show. And I am convinced that e-mail marketing together with other new communication media like mobile marketing will win more and more recognition.

By Daniela La Marca