Email marketing is popular. In fact, it’s so popular that Forrester Research estimates that companies will spend more than $2.5 billion on marketing emails by the year 2016. Given that many small businesses make use of free software programs, there’s a lot more email marketing being done than is recorded. The practice has been around for quite a few years, so many people wonder if email marketing still works.
By the Numbers
Statistics show email is still a good tool for marketing. Open, click-through and conversion rates increased by five percent from 2011 to 2013, and 25 percent of recipients like the content in the emails they get. Here are some of the reasons why email marketing is still effective today:
- Personalization of messages for the user, so that he or she feels less like a number
- Use of tracking tools to identify your typical customer
- Highly-recognizable method of business communication, compared with most social networking platforms
- Email users exceed 2.9 billion worldwide, which is more than double the combined number of Twitter and Facebook users
- Consumers expect to get offers from emails, so they are receptive to doing so
- Regular testing allows you to make sure you are delivering what your market wants
- Less intrusive than telephone calls or television advertisements
- Target users based on demographics or preferences
- Your messages can be shared at the click of a mouse
List Segmentation and Targeting
One of the most powerful tools of email marketing is the option you have to target the users you want to reach. By segmenting your contact lists into categories, you overcome these problems:
- Your readers aren’t all the same
- Your readers don’t want the same things
- Your readers aren’t at the same point in the sales cycle
Through segmentation, you can group together those who have reached the same point and customize your messages to speak directly to each group. This will improve the reputation of your company among users because you’ll be sending them material they can use. This will give you better open rates, fewer email unsubscribers and result in more lead conversions.
Email Marketing vs. Email Blasts
A "blast" is a dirty word. It even sounds like spam. It sounds like the old days when you forced information on people whether they wanted it or not. It creates an image of a worthless email sent without thought or consideration. A responsible marketing email campaign, however, makes use of messaging that seeks to provide value to your readers, build relationships, generate leads and referrals and encourage repeat business.
A thoughtful campaign isn’t a task assigned to a junior staff member or your marketing intern. It doesn’t mean cramming as much information into the email as you possibly can in the hope that users will read some of it.
Make email marketing work for your company by:
- Setting a schedule for your communications, so that they go out consistently to your readers
- Creating quality content that’s short and focused, with links to read more online and an effective call to action
- Using a design that’s clean, simple and easy to read, so that the user isn’t overwhelmed by images and text
- Providing information the reader can use to build up your reputation in your industry or field
Focus on developing email marketing campaigns as opposed to email blasts, and you’ll have a higher rate of success.
Types of Effective Marketing Emails
Your marketing email needs to have a point and a focus. Several different types of messages are particularly effective, depending on the purpose of your campaign:
- Email newsletters are a great way of using existing content such as published business blog posts and making sure it gets to users who might have missed it. Newsletters can also contain special promotions and discounts, as well as any recent news about your company.
- Digest emails typically offer a "roundup" of information such as the blog posts from the previous week or month, along with industry news and research reports. They work well for keeping your users informed about what’s happening and for driving traffic to your website.
- Dedicated promotional emails contain information about specific offers. They are short and focused and are intended to get the subscriber to do something.
- Lead nurturing emails are popular ways of keeping in touch with prospective customers, to remind them of your existence and to keep building the relationship.
Make your email marketing work in today’s world by following best practices and avoiding spamming or blasting your subscribers.
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