The short answer?
With the rise of social media, and the impact of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) nobody would blame you for thinking that email as a marketing tool was nearing extinction.
But don’t be too hasty!
Email is still one of the simplest, easiest, cheapest and most effective tools at your disposal to market your business online.
In the US, a study has found that 85% of adults send and read emails. 78% of teenagers consider email a fact of everyday life, going up to 84% in the 19 to 24 age bracket (source).
This is despite the increase in instant messaging.
With that kind of reach, email marketing is a no-brainer, particularly if you are in the B to B sector.
What person in business do you know who doesn’t check his or her email at least once a day?
Provided the emails are relevant to them,
people are very likely to click and read,
according to inbound marketing giants Hubspot.
The subject line and content must be spot on though, as that pesky unsubscribe button (thank you, GDPR!) has made it much easier for customers to decide they no longer want to receive anything from you!
All you need is a list (though be careful how you get that list!) and good email marketing software.
The most famous is Mailchimp, and it is a good one to start with as it’s free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Here’s why email should still be part of your marketing strategy:
Yes, there is no doubt that being able to address your recipient by his or her first name is a great start, but you need to go further than that.
No more one-size-fits-all emails!
You should segment your email list by demographic, location, interest or behaviour (purchase history, for example).
If you have created customer personas, this task will be much easier.
Based on what you know about your subscriber, put him or her in the customer subgroup you think they belong to.
If you don’t know anything about them, then try to figure out where they belong based on their behaviour.
Tailor the emails you send to the needs and interests of each subgroup you have created from your master email list.
Which would you prefer?
Let’s look at two very different examples and you tell me which one you would rather get:
Please can you read my blog post and share it to the whole world immediately.
Saw you interacting on a post on our Facebook Page yesterday – great insight and thanks for joining in the conversation.
I found a great article that thought you might be interested in – it’s very similar to the stuff you were talking about but it’s loaded with great stats and bite-sized knowledge bombs.
Let me know and I’ll send over the link.
So let’s take a quick look at the first example:
Straight away they didn’t bother to add in my name.
The next mistake was just pushing me to do something without any sort of a connection.
The net result of this effort is me hitting the delete button pronto…
Option 2 has a much higher chance of me taking some sort of action.
First up they addressed me by my name – always a good start.
Next, they talked about something personal to me and comment on the value it gave them – another gold star 🙂
Finally, they mentioned content they had that may be of interest to me and asked if I would like to take a look – Nothing pushy anywhere in the email but offered me something back in return for me actually reading their email.
The Net result here is I responded and they send over the link – It was actually pretty good content so I shared it to all my followers.
2. Email helps increase brand recognition
You may not catch them at the time they want to purchase, but a continued targeted approach means you are at the forefront of their minds.
So, when they’re actively looking for a product or service like yours, you will be at the top of the list!
A major advantage to email compared with social media is that it’s easier to go back and find an email than to look for a tweet or post.
Email is one of the most powerful tools to build and nurture a long-term relationship with a brand or customer.
When you start sending out emails to your customers there are a few things you need to get right from the start:
- Does the email branding match that of your company?
- Is the tone and voice of the email on brand?
- Are you offering value? – This one is huge. Don’t just send out emails for the sake of it or customers will hammer the unsubscribe button. Make sure there are purpose and value behind every interaction.
- Make sure to add in one (and only one CTA) – Customers sometimes need direction or at least an idea of what to expect next. A CTA is a perfect mechanism for this.
One way to keep things consistent is to have your logo on everything you do 🙂
Images we use in our emails are a great example of this. Yes, we use a mix of business and social images (depending on the customer) but they all have our logo in the corner. Simple but effective…
3. Email is measurable
Lots of clever tools are available to help you evaluate the success of an email campaign.
The data your email marketing service provides, such as delivery rates, open rates, click-to-deliver rates, and subscriber retention rates will give you a great insight into the behaviour and interests of your subscribers.
Here is an example of a small campaign we sent out a few weeks ago. It was to a fairly cold audience in a different industry but the information you get from the reports is invaluable.
With that information, you can move people from one list to another, create new, even more, niche lists, and test what resonates best with each list so you can get better results.
You can play around with the time your email goes out and what works best in the subject line.
We always segment our email lists – regardless of size and test everything. Subject line, images, and content and most importantly the CTA.
Because you call pull reports from (in this instance Mailchimp) you can measure the success of every campaign and adjust or modify before the next one.
4. Email is cost effective
It’s a dream marketing tool: no printing, no posting, no expensive display advertising.
The return on investment can be astounding.
The Direct Marketing Association quantifies email as bringing in $40 for every $1 spent… that alone makes it worth the trouble!
Email marketing actually outperforms social media:
66% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email vs. 20% on Facebook.
5. Nurture your list with auto-responders
These are emails that get sent automatically as a result of some action (signing up to a mailing list, purchase, download resource etc).
They can help nurture your leads, and teamed up with email segmentation, they can be hugely powerful, so make sure to amend the standard text suggested by the email marketing platform to reflect your own brand personality and key messages.
One thing we would recommend is that you test everything from the start!
Set up a new campaign and add yourself in as a subscriber.
Build out your email sequence or autoresponders and make sure everything works.
Here is a great video from Mailchimp on how to create an automated email sequence.
This is one of the best ways to stay engaged with your customers once they sign up to your list!
6. Email can use retargeting technology
Let’s say that a customer abandoned a purchase.
Email retargeting allows you to email that customer (if he or she was logged in while browsing) asking them why they abandoned their shopping cart, or if they haven’t visited your site for a while, you could email them with a tempting offer.
It is simply using the information you gathered from cookies they picked up from visiting your site to refine the content you send to them by email.
Amazon is a great example of retargeting. Have you ever browsed their site and a day or two later you get an email with all the products you were thinking of buying? Yep – retargeting at its finest…
Retargeting will also work if you include a link to your website within the mail you send… if the recipient clicks through to the website, you can drop a little cookie into their browser and a whole world of opportunities opens up!
7. Email is stable and more reliable long-term
The email contact list you have, as long as it’s GDPR compliant, it’s yours.
Social media, on the other hand, can shut down your page and just like that, you’ve lost all your contact and leads.
Anybody remember Vine – Shut down in 2016 This platform was huge and had millions of views per day but now its all over…
Friendster at its peak had 115 million users but ultimately failed – some say to a bad re-design of their website!!
Social networks and Apps come and go but email will be around forever so use it to your advantage and start building your list.
So, email marketing is definitely a keeper but in order to build a list, you really need to maximise social media and traditional marketing to drive subscriptions.
Give people plenty of opportunities and reasons to join your list, then use email marketing to give them plenty of opportunities to buy!
If you are keen to find out more about Email marketing then check out this Email Marketing Guide over on buildapreneur.com. Well worth a read.
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