It’s cool to dismiss email marketing as a relic. Building a mailing list and sending out emails isn’t as sexy or fun as talking about the latest social media buzz. While the massive open and click rates of the past are long gone, email marketing still offers a great ROI. More importantly, it is a direct channel to some of your most important customers. You’ve already made the investment to acquire them. Don’t neglect this valuable channel.
Don’t Just Read Headlines
Old-school email marketers will wax nostalgic about 90% open rates. In the early days of email, each message was treated like a handwritten letter. Today, most of us have inboxes flooded with tons of stuff we don’t even bother to look at. In light of this, some Internet marketers dismiss using email as a waste of time.
A lot of this is headline reading. Building an email marketing list is more difficult than getting followers on Facebook or Instagram. It takes more time to create effective email pieces than shooting out 140-character tweets. Just because the return on email takes more time, that doesn’t make it less effective. In fact, that difficulty means that those customers in your email database are, overall, more engaged and important than most of your other networks.
You Still Want Their Email Address
If you meet someone new who wants to keep in touch with you, the most valuable thing they can give you is their phone number. Next would be their email address. You can connect with anyone via social, but connecting by email is more personal. By giving you an email address, you’re getting an invitation to keep in touch.
Most people build their email lists as they gain customers. Someone places an order, they get added to the list. Or, maybe they sign up for a special offer or coupon. This means that most people on your list already know something about you. They are an existing customer, or have expressed an interest in becoming one. With all of the time people worry about cost of acquisition of a new customer, here’s a case where you have already acquired them. Not building on that relationship is a lost opportunity.
Each Customer Relationship Is Different
Different types of Internet marketing are effective for connecting with people who are at different points in their relationship with you. Instagram and Twitter are great for discovery, letting people find out about you for the first time. Your website and Facebook page are best targeted to people who have some awareness, but want to learn more and develop that connection. Email marketing is often that last step. We already have a relationship. We’re friends now and let’s keep in touch.
I see “marketing experts” write about how terrible open rates of 10% or 15% are. Compare those numbers to clicks on display ads, or even engagements on your last Twitter post. Email is also still powerful because it’s an asynchronous form of communication. If you post on Instagram, the useful life of that post is still a fairly small window for most of your followers. If I receive an email that I’m interested in, it’s much easier for me to take a look at it two days later, if that’s when I have time to invest.
The Value of Effective Email Marketing
Like any Internet platform, it’s still important to use it correctly. I see too many email marketing pieces that are too long, sloppy and don’t respect the reader’s time. I had an account manager from one email marketing service tell me that people decide in about six seconds if they want to open and read an email. Don’t write a good subject line, or make the email too long, and you’ve lost.
And don’t ever spam. If you’re spamming your customers, you suck.
Building a email marketing list of your valued customers and prospects, and providing them short and useful content on a regular basis is still an extremely effective way of building your brand and developing relationships with your clients. Done well, your email list can become one of your business’ greatest assets. Don’t waste the opportunity.