There are over five billion email accounts in existence. It’s an incredibly efficient marketing channel for not only building brand trust but growing and managing customer relationships. For a while, there was a dip in email marketing popularity as social media became the channel of choice. Data from the past five years, however, demonstrates that email marketing is making a significant comeback.
What is email marketing?
Whenever you send a commercial message to a group of people via email, it is considered “email marketing.” The idea is to increase brand awareness through a more personal approach than traditional advertising can offer. Marketing emails are best sent to an existing customer database, as lists of purchased leads can be rife with inaccuracies.
Email marketing provides value. The entire purpose is to enhance the business relationship with current or potential customers. It can also be used to encourage repeat business through a set of branded offers and innovative thought leadership. Email marketing is popular because, with the use of marketing automation, it’s simple to compose, send, and track interactions with customers. Plus, it’s a process that can be efficiently automated and personalized.
Why is email marketing so important?
It’s not like advertising on a social feed. In fact, it’s probably the least intrusive form of advertising there is because it can be easily ignored. Some email platforms have aggressive filters that trash an email before it ever even sees the inbox.
Email has seen a surge in popularity because of multichannel platforms like Gmail, which has over one billion monthly users and claims over 21% of the market share. The reason is convenience. Apps like Google Docs, cloud storage, and other integrations allow people to perform many tasks in addition to email. Because of connections like this in email software, email has once again risen to be one of the most popular forms of communication in society.
Email marketing isn’t only about building relationships, it’s about nurturing them as well. It can be used to connect with people from all business verticals, such as:
- Current customers
- Past customers
Even though email can be automated and sent in mass batches, there is something about the format that puts people at ease. They can experience the email on their own time, be it at their desk, on their phone, or any other mobile device. The convenience of email is not lost on busy consumers.
Email marketing by the numbers
One of the best ways to convince people of the success of a system is to show them positive data. In case you were still on the fence about whether to incorporate email marketing in your campaigns, consider some of the following numbers:
- There is a $44 return on investment for every dollar spent on email. (Campaign Monitor)
- Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind colleague recommendations and industry thought leaders. (Imagination)
- The ROI for email is 28.5% compared to just 7% for direct mail. (Direct Marketing Association)
- Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than those randomly sent. (Campaign Monitor)
- 174% more conversions are generated by email than social media marketing. (Campaign Monitor)
- 85% of US retailers stated that email marketing was one of their most successful customer acquisition strategies. (Forrester Research)
The stats keep pouring in, but the message is clear. When it comes to engagement and personalization, email marketing works. In addition to the numbers, there are a variety of reasons why companies are benefiting from this marketing strategy.
The benefits of email marketing
A total list of all the advantages email marketing offers would be a book of knowledge, but there are some tried-and-true standards that every industry has taken note of. Here are just a few of the ways in which this simple marketing tactic can benefit your company:
Increases brand awareness
Your branding starts the second a prospect is interested enough to offer up their contact information, such as an email address. Email marketing allows you to nurture that interest into brand awareness through targeted campaigns. It can foster loyalty by offering customers direct links to information that creates value for them. Not everything has to be a sell, and email marketing can turn your branding into more of a conversation, than a push for commitment.
Additionally, links to your content in an email campaign mean you are driving traffic right back to your site—the place you want everyone to congregate. This action creates brand continuity. From the time the consumer leaves their inbox to when they’re flipping through your site, it’s a journey with your brand. The less you think about selling and the more you think about personality, the greater the return on investment.
The concept of carrying your own mini-computer is an everyday occurrence. It’s even an expectation. So, it should come as no surprise that as of 2017, 54% of emails were opened on a mobile device. People are waiting for appointments, sitting on the train, eating lunch, etc… Consumer behavior calls for a mobile lifestyle, and email marketing fills that niche.
Mobile devices also allow you to stay with consumers throughout their day. Mobility gives people constant access to their email. If they have notifications, people typically know the second something hits their inbox. Now all you have to figure out is the times of day and week when your audience is the most active. Then sit back and let marketing automation do the rest.
Have you ever heard anyone complain about how expensive it is to send an email? Of course not! It’s probably the cheapest form of communication there is: free. Effective, inexpensive, and easy, email marketing allows a company to reach a large array of people with a single communication. And as stated above, the ROI for email is 28.5% compared to just 7% for direct mail. That’s four times as much money for half the effort.
Traditional means of marketing called for costly sales collateral like brochures, mailers, catalogs, etc. Then you had to calculate all of the postage. Email skips all of this and goes straight to a virtual “inbox.” Email tracking also allows you to have the follow-up data instantly available. A company can begin nurturing the relationship from the second the first message is sent.
Easy to measure
Email marketing is also effective because it’s easily measurable. You don’t have to be a master of analytics to understand what’s going on. With marketing automation, there are a variety of metrics that you can track during an email marketing campaign, such as:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Delivery rate
- Bounce rate
- Unsubscribe rate
All of these numbers can give you a better understanding of which campaigns are working and those that may need to be changed. Email marketing is an ideal candidate for A/B testing because it’s easy to separate your audience into random groups, send them a slightly different campaign, and compare the data.
One thing you should never do, however, is flood your audience. Make sure every campaign is sending just the right amount of information so that you’re not overwhelming your customer base. Email marketing is about understanding consumer needs first, then providing people with the convenience of valuable content.
Customer analytics can also be determined by an email service provider (ESP). Organizations and businesses that send a high volume of emails can gather insight into consumer behavior through their ESP. A customer’s response to email marketing can provide insight like no other marketing strategy on your dashboard. Ultimately, it can help a business make more informed decisions and predict future outcomes.
Email lead marketing is the pinnacle of tasks for the strategy. Understanding where your potential customers are located in the buying cycle will help you to craft campaigns that convert. Segmenting these potential consumers into email marketing lists depends on the stage of their journey. Targeted marketing to this degree is successful because it makes people feel special.
Think about email marketing as a way to deliver the right information that pertains directly to a customer’s stage in the buying cycle. An email that answers all the questions someone has before they even know they have them is creating a “genie effect.” People feel like you are reading their minds and that cements trust like nothing else. It’s about moving prospects down the funnel in an efficient and patient way, making it an essential tool for lead nurturing.
How to get started
After understanding the advantages of running an email marketing campaign, a business should know the different ways in which to do so. Just like content and social media marketing, email marketing can involve a multitude of tactics and tasks. Here are just a few:
The drip campaign
One of the most popular tactics is known as an email drip campaign, which involves a set of pre-drafted emails that are sent based on predetermined triggers. One example of a drip campaign can be a “Welcome” series that is triggered whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter or blog. This type of email marketing is more about “set it and forget it” and is convenient for companies that are super busy, but still want to nurture their leads.
The mobile matter
You must leverage mobility in your email marketing, or your campaign may prove fruitless. If you’re a tad unsure of how to get your emails easily read across devices, you may need to start using mobile-responsive email templates. Rather than worry if your design is responsive to everyone’s device, you can use a template that will ensure people can read your emails. If you’re going to include mobility in your plan, you must also leave room for responsive design. A template is an easy way around the labor of checking on each campaign.
Companies like Amazon and Netflix have made the personalized user experience almost an expectation. People crave the custom experience. According to a recent survey by Statista, personalized emails are opened on average 18.8% of the time compared to just 13.1% for those without personalization.
As long as you have a smart CRM and marketing automation solution in place, personalization is an easy task. Any contact information you store can be utilized to effectively execute a personalized email campaign. A contact’s name, industry, role, etc. can all be used to create a unique experience that fosters brand loyalty.
Perhaps the smartest form of email marketing is using video in your campaigns. People are instantly drawn to video, and it can be slightly unexpected in an email—especially if it’s embedded. The value of video emails is often underestimated, but that gives any company using them a competitive edge.
Of course, the proof is always in the data. According to a survey by Campaign Monitor, including a video in your email marketing can lead to a 19% increase in your open rates and up to a 50% increase in click-through rates. Now pair that with personalization, and the chances of conversion are two-fold.
The bottom line
Email marketing has seen an unexpected surge, but it all makes sense. It’s about convenience and privacy. If social media is the busy street, then email is the library. It’s quiet, there’s a lot of data, and you don’t have to go far to get it. With platforms like Gmail and other solutions—such as CRMs—that include email, we’ll see the popularity continue to rise.
Email is enmeshed in our culture. It started with lonely engineers reaching out digitally, but the concept hasn’t changed. It’s still a very personal form of communication. If social media marketing is about shouting to the world, then email marketing is about writing a special note. The buyer journey is nurtured through personalized contact. Email marketing works because it not only allows you to better understand your audience, it also helps the customer to easily define themselves.