During the early days of consumer internet, users were thrilled at the prospect of receiving an e-mail. While business communication took a little longer to become ubiquitous, end-users in the home would look out to receive emails from friends and family, often in far off places. Soon it became a medium for short-distance communication as well and marketers started piling into our mailboxes with mountains of unsolicited spam (a bad marketing practice) and phishing scams looking to extract your personal data, phone numbers or bank-account information through lottery schemes or inheritance beneficiary mailers.
Over time, with the rise of social media and real-time communication, email is losing importance on the consumer side, but despite what you have been told, email marketing is yet not dead.
Here are some reasons:
- Affordable: Emails are a low-cost internet marketing channel to implement and they have a great return for your business. It allows you to reach a large number of consumers for a very small budget. It makes for a better choice than traditional marketing channels like TV, radio, or direct mail.
- Effective: Market research shows, email marketing accounts for nearly 7% of all customer acquisitions that occurred online. A joint study from Shop.org and Forrester Research found that 85% of US retailers consider email marketing one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics.
- Simple and Quick: Consider the number of emails you write in a day. Almost anyone can write a quick message and click “send”. It doesn’t take a lot of business resources to put an email together and reach the mailbox of your audience.
- Relationship Focussed: Email should not be spam. Never. You should treat your mailing list as a painstakingly curated list of loyal readers for what you share with them. Email marketing can help you build on important relationships, and update your connections about new products or latest developments in your company or business.
- Measurable: There’s no guesswork in email marketing. When you use any email marketing software, you can track who opened your email, which links were clicked, and how many people unsubscribed. You can easily get a picture of how your email campaigns are performing, make adjustments and improve your effectiveness. Email marketing metrics are important to remember as you monitor and measure your internet marketing strategy as a whole.
- Mobile-ready: Email is an easy way to reach mobile customers without investing in new technology or software. Most smartphone users access their email via mobile phones, and the cost per message for the end consumer is nil. Also, you can communicate more information via an email message as compared to text.
- Call-to-action: You can customise your email messages to create call-to-action for your recipients. This helps increase the conversion rates for your campaign.
Here are some practices you can follow to make your email marketing campaign more successful.
- Do not spam. The first and foremost rule of email marketing is not to spam. Although, it may sound like a very good idea for branding to have your message sent across to a fairly large email list and receive analysis on how many people viewed the email, it is always better to have approval from your readers before you start sending out updates to them. Of course, you can use social media to get to there, and perhaps a few of these techniques will be detailed herewith.
- Subject and Title. Never judge a book by its cover. The rule does not apply to emails. As the quantum of content being delivered to the inbox increases, readers will take a guess on what the contents of an email might be, and some might choose to delete it, even before opening if they do not find it interesting enough. It still isn’t a great idea, to title an email with “We have an iPhone waiting to deliver to you” if you are aiming at an altogether different call-to-action from the readers.
- Introduction. It’s not a good idea to start selling your product or service within the first few lines of the email. Warm your reader up to the content. Provide some background information of your organization and what is the intention behind the campaign.
- Benefits. You might often be marketing products and services that are the reader is otherwise aware about. What you need to communicate here are the extra benefits he or she gets, if she chooses your product over competition. Are there any unique features? And how can they add value to him or her.
- Call to Action. Once you are sure your reader is interested in your product, it is a good practice to have a definite call to action available in the body of the email. You can take the reader to a website where he or she could purchase the product or subscribe to the service, or you could take them to a mobile app where they can interact with you further.
- Incentive. Make the reader feel special and privileged. Provide an incentive of making a purchase or subscribing to the service through that email itself. It creates value for the reader in the campaign and greater incentive for call to action. It also helps create a reference point to track the success of your email campaign.
To summarise, email marketing might feel like a dated tactic, but it continues to be an important part of your marketing strategy. It’s relatively easy to get started, so there are almost no reasons why you should not be taking advantage of it. If you are a business owner, and do not have the time or resources to manage email marketing yourself, get in touch with a developer or consultant to help you manage it.