Despite the rise of new marketing channels such as social media, business-to-business marketing still happens extensively via email.
DURBAN - Despite the rise of new marketing channels such as social media, business-to-business marketing still happens extensively via email. 

It’s not just the simplicity that makes email a viable choice: it’s one of the most direct lines of communication for a conversion to sales, because email is getting right to your customer’s personal space - their inbox. If you can capture their attention, you just have to keep them interested.

The challenge for using email to reach out to prospects and customers is how to be noticed. You have mere milliseconds to grab their attention and avoid the “delete” button. More than that, you want your audience to appreciate your message.

Mistakes: When planning an email campaign, start right. Using the right tools and testing your message before sending it can ensure you avoid some classic mistakes.

A scattergun approach of randomly emailing recipients will get your email address and possibly your entire business “blacklisted” by Internet Service Providers. Blacklisting happens when your email address, domain name or email server are included in a database of known spam senders and thus messages from a blacklisted address are simply not relayed or end up going to a “junk” folder.

Blacklisting can be very difficult to remove, sometimes requiring a payment to expedite the process.

Consent: A sure-fire way to get yourself blacklisted is to send unsolicited email to multiple recipients who have not consented to you doing so.

With email marketing, consent is now the most vital principle - not having it can potentially land you in trouble with the law.

The EU’s GDPR regulations and our own forthcoming Popia (Protection of Personal Information Act) both legally enshrine the principle of consent and prohibit marketing data to subjects without it.

It’s not a good idea to send marketing emails to anyone who has never consented to receiving them.

To ensure your marketing messages avoid being marked as spam, you need to know a bit about how spam filters work, but also how to structure your content. Blacklisting aside, the actual message content also determines if it ends up in your inbox or dropped into your email client’s Junk Mail folder.

Junk mail filters are a sort of mini-blacklist you can train yourself (by marking message as junk), but they include some sort of default filtering from the outset.

Without any customisation from you, they typically look at the message text, characters and structure of a message to determine whether it is legitimate, and therefore, they can get it wrong.

Other than avoiding blacklisting and junk mail filters, you’ll also want to know what happens to your emails, and remove incorrect or “bounced” email addresses.