When Facebook added inline advertising as part of its venture into the public stock market in 2012, it seemed like email marketing was soon to be a thing of the past. McKinsey’s iConsumer survey reported a 20% decline in email usage between 2008-2012, as the medium surrendered ground to social networks, IM, and mobile messaging apps. Limited and outdated, email marketing seemed to get lost in the shuffle of spam, and was being under-favored in an increasingly social media-focused market.
However, email marketing has seen a recent surge in use and popularity, despite a lack of innovation in the field. Customer acquisition through email has increased at a dramatically faster rate than acquisition through social media, despite an increase in social media marketing along the same timeline.
This point brings up the obvious question: why, in the age of social media, does email marketing dominate acquisitions, retention, and customer-to-customer sharing?
It’s a simple fact: you as the marketer are dealing with audiences whose attention spans seem to get shorter every day. Direct mail marketing is no longer an effective tool to relay quick information about new product, sales, or other ventures simply because the timeline between direct mail delivery and the actual event (a sale, a program, etc.) being marketed is too long.
Buyers now have the Internet at their fingertips – they expect to be kept up-to-date on a daily basis from an easily accessible location.
Email on the mobile platform provides this service to buyers – you can send emails directly to buyers the day you launch sales, promotions, and company news.
Buyers rely on this instant update format – 28% of US online shoppers subscribe to specific company/product emails to stay informed on-the-go.
3. Personalization improves clickthroughs, conversions, and customer retention
Part of the beauty of email marketing is that it’s an opt-in medium. Buyers who opt into specific product/company emails already have a baseline interest, making interactions more meaningful and conversions more successful.
Delivering content-rich email messages to buyers who already have a vested interest only increases the opportunities for both initial and repeat business.
Email as a platform also makes it easier to personalize campaigns geographically. Where direct mail personalization incurs large costs, email personalization requires only moderate increases in HTML coding and list management. The result is a more intimate outreach to prospective buyers that delivers to them only the information that is most relevant and specific to them.
It’s a good idea to create a preference center if you can, so that buyers who subscribe to your email can regulate how often they receive emails. It’s even better if they can specify what content they would like to see. This sense of control gives buyers the authority over their buying experience, a feeling that has become infinitely more important in the digital age.
With this authority, buyers can trust that the content being delivered to them is more relevant to their interests than a generic direct mail or social media campaign would be. And, the choices they make give you more information so you can make your communications to them more personal.
4. ROI is easier to measure
Social media has unique drawbacks when it comes to measuring ROI. It has long been described as a “soft science,” with difficult-to-measure elements including presence and exposure: a full 45% of brands say that measuring ROI for Twitter campaigns is their number-one challenge with Twitter marketing.
Email, by comparison, provides you with a wealth of information about buyer engagement, for a fraction of the price – email has always been famous for high ROI, and it continues to deliver in the age of social media. Through email, you can track buyers as they experience your campaign – from opens to clickthroughs to conversions, you can see how buyers react to each part of the content delivered. Buyers tell you the story of their buying journey through email interaction, which you can use to further strengthen future email marketing campaigns and respond to your audience effectively.
It’s clear that email marketing continues to be a viable, even preferable option in today’s environment. So how do you start building effective email campaigns? Find out in The Amazingly Effective Email Guide!
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