Odds are you’ve heard Web marketing analysts ringing the death knell of email. The idea would be a much easier sell if the growth and widespread use of email were zero, but it’s not. According to a report by MassTransmit, there are upwards of 3 billion active email accounts worldwide, and that number is rapidly growing. Additionally, email — not Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn — remains the preferred method of communication for business professionals. The truth is we have a long way to go before email is dead — if it ever happens— so companies of all sizes can still get a lot of mileage out of email marketing campaigns if they’re done right.
It’s cheap and immediate. You don’t have to wait for a brochure or mailer to reach your audience before you get a response. Whenever you have an announcement, you can easily add content to your email template and deliver it to your faithful readers in an instant. From there readers choose whether or not they want to interact with your message. Additionally, the overall cost of email marketing — aside from time, energy and the cost of your email marketing platform — is negligible compared to the cost of mailing out postcards and flyers.
It’s personal. In the digital world, email is as personal as it gets, and Web marketers would do well to remember this when sending out emails to their readers. That’s why email users hate junk mail; the inbox is a personal space where they receive notes from loved ones and business associates. They’re not interested in being duped while they’re reading their personal messages.
It’s easily measured. Most email applications come with sophisticated measurement tools. You can measure pretty much anything related to your email campaign, from clicks to open rates to social media shares. You can see exactly how your email campaign is performing.
It’s customizable. You can also customize every aspect of your email marketing campaign. You can add photos, videos and links to important resources for your brand. You can also target specific lists by segmenting them into specific categories. The magic of email marketing is in the customization. It ensures that you get the right message to the right people.
It’s social. Some Web marketers would argue that the email inbox — since it’s personal and immediate — is the best kind of social media. After all, at the core of platforms like Twitter and Facebook is the idea of ongoing conversation.
How to Succeed at email Marketing: don’t be annoying
Even with all these great tools at your fingertips, you can still do email marketing it wrong. You can still annoy your readers and drive them to click the unsubscribe link in your email.
This is where finesse and discernment come in. Data doesn’t lie. Look to your metrics for guidance. Don’t overload your readers with an email every time you have an announcement to make. Send out monthly or bi-monthly updates with special email announcements.
Mind the primary email marketing rule: Don’t be annoying. Respect your readers and they’ll respect you.