Email Marketing in Singapore

I review the Adwords Learning Center today and i want to mention again that a holistic approach is a direction that Marketing professional should follow.

The following is extracted from Google Adwords Learning center, introduction to Google Content Network:
“…Search pages contain less than 5% of the internet…and there is even smaller portion of where web users spend their time.
Purchase decisions are made all over the web on search sites, comparision sites, professional interest pages, targeted newsletter etc…”

As one part in the process of influencing potential customers, i dedicate this post to targeted newsletter or email marketing. Of course the context of discussion is still Singapore.

Unlike Search Engine Marketing (Pay per Click or Search Engine Optimization), Email marketing is a concept that people are familiar with.
Everyone that has an email address should receive at least one or two promotional email before. And if you subscribe to online forums, newsletter, do online transactions, chances are you will receive even more promotional emails.

Basically, Email marketing serves two fundamental functions (all to increase revenue/potential revenue):

  • Customers acquisition: product launch, promotions, freebies, leads generation etc…
  • Customers retention: update news, CRM etc…

So far i have only seen companies in Singapore use Email Marketing to serve the above functions. Big players (banks, travel agencies, airlines etc…) use Email marketing very frequently.
For SMEs in Singapore, the use of Email marketing or EDM is quite limited.
The reasons are quite simple i guess. In order to use effective Email marketing (EDM), you need the following:

  • Database of names, email addresses
  • Good content / design
  • System / software to send out
  • Performance tracking

1. Databases of names, email addresses:

There are two types: using your own databases of customers/clients/subscribers or rent databases from other firms.
Something to take note about database, you Need to categories your database in terms of: gender, age group, income level, interest, designation etc… The way you categorize your database is totally up to you. However, it needs to suite your company business practices.

For example, if your company is in B2B business, you probably need designation as a criteria in your database because there are many occasions that you only want to send emails to decision makers.

For big firms, normally they already have their own customer base so that they can send out update, product launch to this group of people. They have more financial power so if they need to rent database from third party, they can buy quality database , thus, yield higher return.

For SMEs, their database is very limited and in many cases, they don’t have a consolidated list with properly breakdown categories. Another challenge facing SMEs is the cost of renting quality database from third party. We all know that it’s not cheap to get target database.
The price can be anywhere from SGD $0.1 – $0.2, $0.5 / email.

Take note that if you decide to rent database from third party, you need to ask how they gather their database. It’s a crucial question you simply can’t forget to mention. Reason behind is that the worst thing you want is to send an email to someone who never subscribes. If you are unlucky, you catch an angry recipient and your brand name is down to the drain.

You may want to know that in Singapore, there are companies that pay people to read emails. Basically, this group of people are paid to open the emails sent to them, click on the link and go to advertisers’ websites. This is good and bad.
It’s good if you are aware that the database you rent is paid to read your email.
Of course it’s bad if you have no idea about that and assume they are people with genuine interest in your products/services.

2. Good content / design

The subject is self-explanatory itself.
Normally, you need to work out an overall plan of when to send out the emails blast and then for each blast what is the content.
By doing so, you avoid any hiccup or overlapping.

Also, take note that when you design the overall plan, pay attention to the frequency in which you send emails to subscribers. You don’t want to send emails to them everyday. 🙂
So far most of the companies in Singapore are quite considerate.

Another point to note, by anti spam law, advertisers need to put on the subject of their email when they send out promotional emails.
At the same time, inside the email, there must be an unsubscribe link or an obvious instruction for people to follow if they want to unsubscribe.

3. System / software to send out emails:

Unfortunately, there are not many companies located in Singapore that provide this service. Most of the company available are from US or overseas. And being an Asian countries, there are many advertisers, marketing manager prefer a contact person that they can call whenever they have any problems.

This act as a barrier to the use of Email Marketing in Singapore market as well.

If your company has your own server/tool to send out EDM then it will solve all the problems 🙂
However, be careful with the sending rate, you don’t want to be banned by ISP (Internet Service Provider). Anyway, there are only a few ISPs in Singapore.

4. Performance tracking:

I guess by now after a few articles, you should know that performance tracking is as important as any of the other process.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
For Email marketing, some of the basic tracking parameters are:

  • Delivery rate: Email delivery rate
  • Bounce rate: you send out 1000 emails, how many of them bounce back?
  • Open rate:
  • Internal link open rate: if you put a link to your website inside, how many recipient clicks on your link.
  • Unique opens/ repeated opens
  • Open time/date

That should be all for an introductory post about email marketing. The discussion on how email marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy, or how email marketing works together with Search Engine Marketing is beyond the scope of this post.

Finally, i would like to end today’s post by an interesting definition of marketing on The economist:

“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying, “Circus is coming to Fairgrounds Sunday,” that’s Advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk him through town, that’s a Promotion. If the elephant walks through the Mayor’s flower bed, that’s Publicity. If you can get the Mayor to laugh about it, that’s Public Relations. And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s Marketing
.” ~ Anonymous


  1. haha, “anonymous” by your question i assume you mean Internet Marketing.

    I don’t participate in Internet Marketing actively but did and currently still helping some friends; of course earning some pocket money. lol

    I have a job as a Search Marketing Specialist though 😀

    1. I wrote this back in 2007 mate. I am sure it has changed so much since then in Singapore

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