In the social world that we live in, many people now assume email marketing to be old hat, but this is far from the case. According to the latest TechnoratiMedia Digital Influence Report (2013) a huge 77% of consumers asked said that they prefer to receive marketing communications through email, so long as they had first signed up for it of course.
This is much more than many would expect and completely eclipses both SMS and social marketing, of which people prefer to receive 6% and 5% respectively. Whilst social media marketing and SMS do still have their place, email remains the principal channel when it comes to how people like to connect with a brand.
Email gets personal
These days, we all know that the key to social media marketing is to take a friendly, personal approach and the same can be applied to email. That’s not to say that you should email three times a day with updates, but the same tone and personalization should be used where possible.
Social has made it even easier to build a mailing list, so make sure you do build through social and newsletter sign up on your website. Another very effective method is to post a downloadable white paper on your site to be used as a call to action, which can only be downloaded via an email address.
Of course, this has to be tip top quality and highly useful to your audience and infographics can also be used, they are very popular right now, especially with the growth of Pinterest.
Competitions, news, special offers
Email is the ideal medium for sending out special offers, especially personalised ones, which are quickly gaining traction as a marketing tool. For retailers this is especially useful as you can even suggest to individuals who have purchased from you before what they might like to buy next, much in the same way as Amazon do.
This information will have to be stored on a database of course, but it’s a valuable marketing tool which can really target consumers very effectively.
It’s important to ensure that your email campaigns also match the rest of your marketing efforts, so make sure that email matches up to your brand persona in style, tone, imagery, colours and so forth.
Why else use email?
- Easy to track ROI with trackable click and open rates
- More targeted and personal, not everyone on the social network can read it – it’s just for you!
- You are only contacting potential customers who have already agreed to receive email from you
- Much more secure than social
Where to start
Building a good list is the only way to start with email marketing, and that doesn’t mean by buying one. You should only send out email to those who have signed up to your newsletter or otherwise agreed to receive communications from you.
That in itself is a good head start as only interested parties are being targeted.
Your database can then be linked to a CMS with newsletter functionality or you can use a service like MailChimp to get you started. MailChimp is easy to use, not requiring too much in the way of technical knowledge and comes in a free and professional version.
Not only can it build your list, but it also allows you to track how effective your mails are, so you can drop the worst performing campaigns and push the ones that perform the best.
Templates allow you to use your company colours and logos and you can create a signup page for Facebook, as well as add social sharing icons to all of your mail.
Social and email
Whilst email remains very popular, that’s not to say that you should now ignore social media. All digital marketing efforts should overlap so that you’re reaching customers in a variety of ways and mediums.
Search for example, makes up a paltry 1/100th of daily email traffic and whilst of course a proportion of this will be spam, so will search engine results. Add to that all page views including image and videos take up a quarter of the bandwidth employed by email and it soon becomes clear that email is very much alive and kicking!
Then factor in that only a proportion of consumers use social media, including business people, and you will see that by not using email marketing, you’re potentially missing out on a whole section of society.
Email is also non-intrusive. If a recipient doesn’t want the email, they don’t open it and often put it straight into trash. However, this allows you to trim your list accordingly, or try something that might better catch a user group’s eyes.
People don’t feel pressuring or irritated by email in the same way that they might by SMS marketing or the dreaded cold calling. In this day and age you have to wonder why cold calling works at all, as I’ve never heard anyone say something good about it!
All of the evidence shows that email marketing remains by far the most effective part of digital marketing and as such, if you’re not using it, then it’s very likely that you’re losing out, whether your business targets B2C or B2B.
Finally, perhaps one of the biggest reasons you should be using email as a primary marketing tool is that it’s inexpensive! No heavy-duty advertising budget is required and these days, sending bulk campaigns can be done using an automated service, based on a template which is also connected to a database. Simple!