When was the last time that you revisited your email marketing strategy? If your answer is more than 3 – 6 months, perhaps it’s about time that you take another look at it.
A lot of people will tell you that email marketing is no longer relevant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as we’ll see later on in this article. Still, parts of the argument make sense.
In the 21st century, we have an almost limitless number of options when it comes to reaching our audience, and many of the older methods (such as direct mail or TV ads) don’t work as well as they used to.
But email marketing is a little different, which is probably why as much as 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. We’re all used to tuning out billboards and other forms of traditional marketing, and in many cases we’re no longer even exposed to them. You can’t be exposed to newspaper ads if you don’t read a newspaper.
Whether you read a newspaper or pay attention to billboards is likely a generational thing, but we all use email addresses. That’s why by next year, 320 billion marketing emails will be sent every day. Let’s take a closer look at why that might be.
How opinions have changed over time
Considering that email technology is more than 50 years old, you might expect that opinions would have changed quite significantly, but that’s not really the case. Sure, email is no longer seen as an innovative new technology, but its effectiveness isn’t in doubt.
With that said, people have been “foreseeing” the death of email marketing for at least twenty years, and so far none of them have been right. New technologies have come along and been implemented, spam filters have got much better and new laws and legislations have been rolled out, and with them has come wave after wave of predictions, both positive and negative.
Opinions have changed over time because techniques have changed too, though the core technology remains largely the same. If email had remained identical to how it was in the early 90s, it might well have faded into obscurity. Instead, new providers have come along and kept it relevant.
And let’s not forget that marketers have also gained access to a new generation of tools, including advanced marketing automation tools that are designed to help them to reach people via email in more advanced ways than ever before.
Is email marketing still effective?
The short answer here is “yes”.
The long answer is “completely and absolutely”. That’s because it has a number of unique advantages that other technologies can’t compete with. It allows you to reach people at volume while simultaneously personalizing your messaging and your creative, and it’s also inherently measurable.
When you’re marketing your business, you need to consider what’s appropriate on any given medium. On social networking sites, for example, brands typically focus much more on generating engagement and having conversations than they do on direct sales.
Email marketing is interesting because you can get away with a little bit of everything. It can be an effective way to generate direct sales and to drive traffic through to an ecommerce store, but it can also be a good way to carry out research or to encourage people to create and share user-generated content.
In fact, for best results, marketers need to remember that variety is the spice of life. If you only ever send out emails asking people to make a purchase, they’re quickly going to learn to tune you out. If you have something different to say every time you message them, they’ll look out for your emails instead.
Why is it still effective?
There are quite a few different reasons why email marketing is still so effective. One of the most compelling reasons for using email marketing is the fact that more than 3.9 billion people use email worldwide, meaning that there’s a huge potential target audience to tap into.
In fact, there are more people using email than using social media (after all, you usually need an email address to create an account). Email also has the advantage of being device agnostic, meaning that people can access their emails from pretty much any device of their choice.
This means that email marketing can be a great way to reach mobile customers and to stay connected with your target audience no matter where they are or how they’re accessing their emails.
At the same time, you can start to gather insights about your subscribers and to personalize your campaigns, whether that’s by addressing them by name or whether that’s by providing them with more of the types of content that you know they engage with.
One of the major advantages of email marketing is its ability to act as a trigger and to push people to take some sort of action. This is especially true if you couple your emails with some sort of discount code or special offer.
Many growth marketing experts go so far as to use email marketing as a sort of hose that they can turn on and off, generating leads for their sales teams almost at will. By creating these types of time-sensitive offers and coupling them with a powerful call-to-action, they can drive purchases both online and in store.
But perhaps most importantly of all, as any email marketing agency will tell you, it’s just an efficient use of your budget. According to one study, for every $1 that companies spend on email marketing, they receive $32 in return on investment (ROI).
How to make email marketing work for you
Of course, knowing that email marketing can be effective is one thing, but being able to actually put it to work for your company is something else entirely. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies that you can use to give yourself the best chances possible.
Know your goals
The first and most important thing to bear in mind is that you need to establish goals and circulate them amongst your team so that everyone’s working in harmony towards a shared aim. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll end up just shouting into the void, and you also won’t be able to measure your success because you won’t know what success even looks like.
Knowing your goals is one thing, but knowing your audience is something else entirely. Different audiences require different types of messaging, so you’ll want to segment your email list into different target audiences to better tailor your email marketing campaigns.
Here, it can help to create buyer personas, which are similar to character sheets from a role-playing game or the notes that an author might use. You can describe demographics such as approximate ages and education levels, as well as the problems that these buyer personas have and what your company can do to help them.
Once you know your goals and who your audience is, you’re ready to start creating and sharing your content. The important thing to remember here is that no matter who your target audience is, you’re up against a lot of competition in their inbox.
If you want to stand out and to capture people’s attention, you need to make your content as appealing as possible. This means using high quality visuals and a clear and appealing layout, but it also means being careful to use unambiguous and easy-to-understand language.
Automation is email marketing’s not-so-secret superpower. By integrating automation into your email marketing strategy, you can set up emails that will automatically go out in different circumstances and situations. For example, you might want to send a happy birthday email or set up automated emails that go out to confirm purchases.
We’ve talked about personalization elsewhere in this piece, and so we’ll keep this short and sweet. The general idea is that you need to tailor the content of your email marketing for each and every customer. As you learn more and more about them, you can further tailor the way that you communicate.
Analysis and tracking
Analysis and tracking is a vital part of any digital campaign, and email marketing is no different. When you run digital campaigns, everything that you do is inherently measurable, and that means that you can analyze and track your campaign’s performance over time.
Remember, though, that analysis and tracking won’t get you anywhere in isolation. You need to take action based upon what you learn from the analytics, making changes to your approach and measuring what impact those changes have on performance. Then you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Making your emails stand out amidst the noise of your competitors is difficult, especially when you’re in a busy industry like electronics or consumer goods. You have to nail eye-catching design while combining it with relevant messaging.
It’s almost an art form, with a little bit of science thrown in for good measure. There are a lot of balances to find, such as the balance between creating a compelling title that people want to click on without automatically being moved to their spam folders.
That’s why many people are looking for outside help for their email marketing strategy, and that’s also where we come in. Here at Growth Marketing Genie, we’ll be happy to help you to make a strong email marketing campaign that can help you to stand out from the crowd.
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