Long Live Email!


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I know the thought has crossed my mind before, is email still viable? I have often asked if email has become an outdated way to communicate?  Today, it is hard not to become “all-in” with the use of brand new, “shiny” social media technology, and leave everything else behind. I have deleted so many emails, hundreds of them, before even opening them.  Are brands wasting time sending out messages never to be seen? Should email still be used in marketing strategies? 

 email“The infographic places email side-by-side against social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and even demonstrates email’s ubiquity when compared to the number of searches Internet users perform. IN ALL CASES, email reigns supreme.”

Fortunately, after this week’s lecture, and after considering how much I rely on email, the answer is clear. I am now quite aware that, not only is email alive and kicking, it’s actually kicking butt.  15 Statistics that Prove Email Marketing is (Still) Not Dead in 2014, lists 15 staggering statistics that prove that email marketing is still an important, if not the most effective way to communicate with consumers.  Here are a few of the stats: 247 billion emails are sent every day. This equates to one email every 0.00000035 seconds. (Source: Email Marketing Reports); When marketed through email, consumers spend 138% more than people who do not receive email offers. (Source: Convince and Convert); There are 897 million mobile email users worldwide, including both business and consumer users. (Source: The Radicati Group); 91% of consumers use email at least once a day. (Source: ExactTarget); On a daily basis, US consumers interact with about 11 brands through email, compared to ~nine brands via Facebook, and ~eight brands via Twitter. (Source: EmailStatCenter.com); A recent study concluded that email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. (Source: McKinsey & Company); When asked which medium consumers would like to receive updates from, 90% preferred an email newsletter while only 10% chose Facebook. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group); Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion. (Source: McKinsey & Company); and 48% of consumers say that they prefer to communicate with brands via email. (Source: Direct Marketing News).

That is a lot of statistics, I know, but they all clearly illustrate that email is ahead in the game. Its importance going well beyond just marketing. It is the most valuable commodity we can own. (Read More.) As marketers, it is vital to understand these numbers and learn how to utilize email effectively in marketing campaigns.  Can Email Marketing Still Engage Your Customers, claims, “64 percent of marketers indicated that their organizations’ spends on email marketing were set to increase.” Email is a low-cost method to reach and influence large audiences but it also needs to give consumers what they want.  It is critical that email messages stay consistent with brand image, provide relevant material, offer value, have call to actions, include social sharing, are mobile optimized, and reach the consumer at the right time. Easily, condensed to: “send timely, targeted, relevant emails to subscribers who have asked for them!”

Beyond that, marketers need to make sure that emails are being sent to the target audience. Can Email Marketing Still Engage Your Customers, goes on to say an email list, “is like a carefully nurtured garden that would fall into ruin and end up choked with weeds without constant care.” With analytics, it is possible to monitor how many emails are opened, bounced, sent to spam, and what actions are taken once read.  Tracking this information provides valuable insights into what is and is not working, and can save significant amounts of advertising dollars.

The following section of the article explains how marketers can help keep email viable in the ever-growing saturation of the market, reminding us, “the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” A well-thought out email campaign consists of great content, but focus needs to be on the subject line.  The subject of an email will determine, in most cases, whether or not the email is ever even opened.  Beyond that, marketers should,

“…make sure that the offers and communications you send are relevant. That doesn’t mean you should plunge straight into the hard sell. Sometimes a direct offer for something the customer wants will yield results, but the important thing is to base your emails on what the customer wants, not what you want them to do. Try to create a conversation rather than an advertisement, listening, adapting, and sending messages that flow one to the next. Coordinate your emails with your social media and other channels and you have far more chance of engaging each individual customer. Effective email marketing isn’t about making a sale or even getting a click on every message you send. It’s about building a relationship with the customer that lasts.”

 email_girl_lead

Building relationships is key.  We have learned that over and over throughout our careers in marketing. If email can aid in the building and strengthening of relationships, it is crucial to add it to the marketing mix.  7 Ways to Create a Successful Integrated Marketing Campaign, expands on why it is important to include email in integrated marketing communications.  Simply put, “many businesses have learned the hard way, what works in, say, traditional print marketing, does not work as well (or at all) on the Web or social media sites — and vice versa.” Each channel works and achieves different results, but all the results are beneficial to your brand. Integrated marketing, using multiple channels for their strengths to achieve your overall goal, is hands-down the best strategy for any business.

9 Ways to Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing, describes why adding social to email marketing is important.  First, it extends the reach of your emails, “the more people share your email, the more potential you have for opens, click, and conversions.” Secondly, it allows you to identify key influencers,“ Most email service providers (ESPs) include metrics on who has shared your emails the most often, as well as the effect their sharing has had on other key stats (opens, clicks, conversions, etc.). Armed with this data, you—the marketer—can be better informed as to who your key influencers are. If appropriate, you can then send dedicated campaigns to your biggest supporters. Also, it is an opportunity for list growth, “the more eyeballs on your emails, the better chance you have of gaining new subscribers. It provides another platform for connection, “each platform—email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a blog, etc.—enables you to communicate and interact with people in different ways.” It gives subscribers more options, “subscribers may prefer to engage with your company or brand on different channels. While email is great, it’s not the only option. Give ‘em a choice!”

It is clear that email is still a leader in communication. If more convincing is needed, just watch the following video, which sets email against social media.  While both have strengths, email claims the title.

Although, I am a believer in integrated marketing, I must admit I am overwhelmed at all the channels marketers have to be knowledgeable and proficient in.  With email still leading the way, I am adding that to my list of topics to learn more about.

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