In a world of instantaneous social media updates and a multitude of flashy blogs, email marketing is often seen as an outdated dinosaur, lagging behind the bigwigs of online marketing.
However, when used properly, email marketing is wide reaching, cost effective and highly targeted. This makes it a relevant and effective marketing and sales tool, particularly for small business owners.
Why email marketing?
Let’s take a closer look at why email marketing still needs to be considered in your marketing mix.
1. High Return on Investment
Email marketing runs at a very little cost and when executed properly, can more than pay for itself. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has a ROI of approximately 4,300%.
2. Highly Targeted Message
Email marketing requires people to ‘opt in’. This means the people you are targeting are genuinely interested in your products or services and actually want to read about what you have to say. You can also personalise emails to make your audience feel like you are talking directly with them.
3. Get to know what engages your audience
Email marketing is one of the easiest marketing tools to measure and evaluate. Examining an email campaign’s effectiveness, can tell you how many recipients opened the email, how many clicked on links, and how many forwarded the email on. This data allows you to assess what your audience responds to and tailors future emails based on these results.
4. Generate Repeat Business
By allowing your past and existing customers to sign up to your mailing list, you are creating a potentially powerful tool for customer retention. Regular emails from your business appearing in their inbox will keep you top of mind, and if they already know and trust your products or services, they’ll be more likely to return when they need to make another purchase.
5. Low Cost and Far Reaching
Email marketing is one of the most cost effective marketing campaigns available to businesses. The time, resources and effort involved are also low, and many of the packages available now, allow you to send as many emails as you’d like for one set fee. The ability to include social sharing buttons increases your potential reach beyond your mailing list.
6. Control Brand Message
Email marketing gives you complete control over your brand message. You determine the content, how it’s delivered, and who receives it. You can also separate your database into groups, to ensure the right message is delivered to the right audience in order to generate results.
How do I know if email marketing is right for my business?
Now that you know why email marketing is a viable solution for cost effective marketing, small business owners still need to consider if the platform is right for their business.
- Do your research – Look at other, successful email campaigns and why they do so well. Browse their content, calls to action and design to assess if your business would have adequate resources to be equally successful.
- Reassess business goals – It’s important to decide whether your business’ goals and marketing goals align with what an email campaign would accomplish.
- Know your industry – Assess your audience, understand their interests and needs, and determine if they would be interested in receiving email newsletters.
How do I get more people to read my email campaigns?
Any email marketing campaign is only effective if people actually read it, and click through to the ultimate destination (often your website). There are several tactics you can employ to improve the number of opens and clicks.
1. Have a Clear Value Proposition
Don’t purchase your subscribers (this can get you in trouble), but earn them by offering real value and making it clear to your target market.
2. Creative Subject Lines
Many marketers strive for consistency, using the same subject line every time they send an e-newsletter. However, subscribers may get bored with it after a while, and open rates could drop as they lose the incentive to open the email. Having a different subject line that is creative and engaging, for every email, will be much more successful long term.
3. Improve Contact List Quality
Rather than sending the same email to your entire database, segment it into groups. This will enable you to deliver content that is fresh and relevant to the different target audiences.
4. Use Video
A study by Implix revealed that video increases email Click Through Rate (CTR) by 96%. An intriguing video will grab attention. They don’t need to be professionally filmed, but should be short and compelling.
5. Balance Humour with Relevance
Humour makes an email more personal. It’s essential that the info you send is relevant and valuable, but you can still have a little fun. Including humour in the subject line can be a great way to grab attention, and humorous videos are also very effective.
6. Optimise for Mobile Devices
More people are opening their emails on smartphones and tablets. If your email isn’t optimised for mobile, your audience may have trouble reading it, which will impact CTR.
Email Marketing may not have the glamour factor when compared to the new social kids on the block yet it’s consistency, reliability and transparency makes it one of the most valuable resources for small business. Making time to test your audiences’ responses, refine your content and play around with images and subject lines will go a long way in producing effective campaigns.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33223059@N05/6645640933/