We’re all familiar with email. Before the advent of social media and all the cool tools that kids use nowadays, email was the de facto electronic communication method. And in a way, it still is.
The first ever email was sent in 1971, but it took another 7 years for someone to realise that they can sell stuff through email. In 1978, Gary Thuerk sent an email promoting Digital Equipment Corporation machines to 400 users via Arpanet. He made some sales and got a few complaints, but he contributed to the decline of mail order catalogues everywhere.
Since then, email marketing has evolved tremendously. From pure text messages in bulletin board groups, to modern newsletters that can track your clicks, opens and bounce rates, it has become an invaluable tool that can utilise all sorts of tech while still giving users the personal touch of direct communication.
Here are a few reasons why you should not discount this ‘ancient technology’ in your business’ marketing strategy:
1. Reach efficiency – There’s a higher chance your campaign recipient will read your email compared to one published through social media. According to Mailmunch, having 2,000 email subscribers and 2,000 Facebook fans is not the same thing. Users are now sophisticated enough to scroll through ads & marketing material to focus on what they like: friends, families and other interesting stuff. This selective focus has made online display ads less effective compared to email delivered directly to your inbox.
2. Return On Investment – Email gets a higher ROI, where the click-through rate is 3.57%. Facebook, meanwhile, sits at about 0.07%. It is still the best digital marketing channel ahead of social media, paid search and online display ads. This is due to email marketing’s low cost, where you do not have to pay an advertisement platform such as Facebook or Google to display your marketing ads. You would need a good email campaign system like Mailchimp, a good designer and copywriter and you’re good to go.
3. Privacy – When you’re on social media and an oddly specific advertisement comes up, you can’t help but feel a little bit creeped out. More so in today’s landscape, where the big sites seem to track your every move, tracking what you bought, places you’ve visited, people you like, people you hate. So you do what most tech-savvy people would – install an adblocker, or turn on the Do Not Track feature built in newer desktop & mobile browsers. That’s a big chunk of the intended audience gone. On the other hand, a proper email list would be built from current customers, people interested in your products or services, contacts, usually those who opt in to be included in your marketing activities. You have earned their trust, and it’s up to you to deliver quality material to keep them reading your campaigns and not click the dreaded unsubscribe button. If they do decide to unsubscribe, they would have the peace of mind that they will not be sent any unsolicited marketing materials.
4. Personalisation – Sure, social media can be used to really target your audience based on demographics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, etc, but that brings us back to the point above – privacy. Email campaign systems can also harness your subscribers’ different interests by using carefully crafted segmentation and grouping. This enables you to personalise your campaign based on what they will likely be interested in. Emails can simulate a one-on-one conversation with your subscribers and impart a personalised experience to them. For the casual user, this would make them feel like they are communicating directly with the business, being handed out personal flyers and speaking to a salesperson, instead of the business speaking to the crowd through a megaphone.
5. Email works for every stage of the buyers’ journey – For an e-commerce site, email can be used to guide your current & potential customers through every step of their journey with your business. You can create awareness of your products and services, introducing your business and what you have to offer, your company ethos and where you are located. You can nurture their interest, letting them know that you have new stuff coming out soon. Or that you’ve got surplus stock going for cheap, only for subscribers. You can give recommendations of what products or services to look at and other things that you think they might be interested in. After the deal is done, you can use email marketing to give them after sales support, such as how-to guides on using your products and/or support channels to contact if necessary. And after that, you can continue sending them emails that maintain your brand awareness.
6. Everyone still checks their email – Surely you’ve come across people who have decided to quit or never use social media. You might also know people who aggressively banish any sort of ads on their PCs and phones. But there’s a high probability that these people check their email daily. Some people also make a point to make email the first thing they check in the morning. Social media platforms may come and go but email (it appears) is sticking around.
7. Automation – There are countless ways to automate your email marketing campaigns. From the point of subscriber acquisition, automation can magically sort out your subscribers according to interests. It can send out related product information based on what your customers have purchased. It can keep them engaged with your brand by drip feeding information regularly. It can also work with your e-commerce site to provide analytics about the relation between your subscribers and which products or services they prefer. When you start building the foundation of your email marketing campaign, you can create all sorts of automatic workflows that will keep your campaign running with minimal interaction.
Of course, there are many more reasons why email is still the king of digital marketing, but then this article would be too long. With that said, which marketing channel should you use? While email has the advantage, there’s no reason to dismiss other channels. It all depends on the context of your business and your target audience.
If you’re not sure what to use, why don’t you drop us a line and we can help you determine the best direction for your business.