All business owners and managers seek to exploit marketing channels that increase sales and build brand. But which method gives the best return? Email, my friend, email.
Social media still gets a lot of column inches even though its ‘shiny new object’ dazzle has faded. Google sucks in £££ billions but many managers aren’t convinced—or don’t truly understand—whether they’re getting a good return. SMS campaigns had their moment in the sun, annoyed a lot of people, and went away. But email has consistently delivered strong ROI because of its unique range of benefits to marketers and customers.
Now of course it’s unlikely that one marketing tactic, such as email, can ever being isolated and measured independently of other overlapping tactics. We’d all agree that joined-up campaigns with consistent messages across channels and platforms is a good thing. But for me a well-planned and executed email strategy outperforms all other tactics, pound for pound it’s more cost effective than paid search, direct mail, social media or a telesales operation. Why is that?
Email marketing is dead simple
You’ve got the email addresses and a simple-to-use email system. Pick a template and adapt it a little with your branding and you are good to go. There are many email services out there but arguably MailChimp is the No.1 entry point for many marketers with its lovely templates and brilliant UI. Everyone understands email. You opt in to comms that prick your interest; you opt out if the message is no longer relevant.
Email marketing is personal
Your database contains email addresses and whole host of other rich information about customers and prospects. As subscribers they’ve granted you the right to contact them so make it personal and meaningful or they’ll hit the Unsubscribe button. Good email platforms allow for personalisation way beyond name and company. Paid-for enterprise level platform slike MessageFocus mean you can tailor deep and complex personalisation without losing sleep about it.
Automation saves time and money
The ability to automate certain processes and communications is a big step forward for busy marketers. Many email services are now ‘intelligent’ and can deliver sophisticated email programs based on logic and rules, for example to manage standard customer lifecycle comms. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. Automation programs can be built and applied to new business goals too. Done right, automation programs can deliver highly qualified leads. Yes, email automation can work at all stages of the buying cycle.
Email is easy to measure and report
Email campaign results are presented nice and clearly in graphs, tables and numbers. All the commonly-used email platforms do this well, usually focusing in on Open rates, Clicks, and Shares. It’s possible to follow the click journey onward through your website with some simple code. More advanced platforms such as Adestra’s MessageFocus report in incredibly granular detail, providing heat-maps that show what people like in your campaign, really useful info on where recipients are located. Such platforms make data management easy, too, and allow managers to build special interest lists; or update and enrich records automatically.
Squeeze that content ‘til the pips come out
Delivering your valuable content by email is a no-brainer. Assuming you’ve got a clear idea of who your best prospect are, have developed a range of content that chimes with their needs, and already have this growing library of material on your blog or web pages, then email is brilliant at driving traffic to it. It’s possible to generate email campaigns automatically when new content is published, though you might want to tweak the recipients list dependent on the subject in hand.
Email is low cost, high return
You can get started with Mailchimp for free if your database is no bigger than 2,000 subscribers. If you outgrow the constraints of a free plan—whether in terms of volume of subscribes or campaigns sent—or if you need more advanced features and reporting, there will likely be a monthly cost.
Farewell email. Or maybe not
The death knell has sounded for email several times over the last decade and yet it’s still very much alive and kicking. Because people still value inbound emails that offer them something useful, be that products, services, ideas or inspiration. If you haven’t sorted out your email marketing then check out a few suppliers, find a platform that feels right for you and have a go. Decide your objectives and goals. Segment your audience. Set up a content plan and get writing for each defined segment. Let us know if you need a hand.