With the exciting and shiny nature of more modern disciplines like SEO and social media marketing, email marketing might look like it’s relatively old-fashioned. However, while more established, email marketing still has amongst the largest potential reach and effectiveness. Email marketing is bread and butter marketing. It allows you to tap into one of the most ubiquitously used methods of communication online. What’s more, it gives you a direct link to your market.
Email marketing is far from irrelevant, with nearly three quarters of marketers preferring it as the single biggest digital channel for ROI. In the UK, 87% of all adults have an active email address, with the remaining 13% largely comprised of those who have never used the internet. Using this tool in the right way, you could be tapping into a much larger market than you might realise. To help you see the right way to use it, we’re going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing.
Every form of online marketing comes with some costs, but compared to other methods like PPC advertising, email is tremendously cheap. Rather than paying to use expensive, competitive marketing channels, most of the costs come from the use of things like auto-responder software. In the UK, the average cost of email marketing for a small business can be as little as £50 a month. The costs scale based on how many people you want to email.
Amongst the fastest forms of online communication
You could argue that most direct kinds of online marketing, such as pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing, are fast. However, email marketing not only uploads and sends within seconds, it sends directly to your audience. As such, it’s highly effective for sending time sensitive information, like a running promotion or special offer tailored to the recipient.
Your audience regularly checks it
According to the latest research by The Relevancy Group, two-thirds of all UK online consumers will check their email account multiple times a day. When it comes to building an ongoing relationship with existing customers or brand awareness with potential clients, there are few things more valuable than keeping in contact. The majority of your recipients are going to see that email sitting in their inbox within a day, if they don’t read it as soon as they get an alert on their phone.
Excellent tracking and reporting ability
The autoresponder and email management software you use to carry out your email marketing campaigns tend to come with tracking and reporting functions. These allow you a much greater insight into your campaign. You can see how many emails sent successfully, how many were opened, how many clicked, led to conversions, and more. You can also use email marketing to gain insight on your market, both what they respond to and the characteristics that define who, exactly, your average customer is. This insight can be used to refine and reshape your brand identity to create effect.
Email marketing campaigns are easy to schedule and organise
Email marketing software allows you a great deal of control over not only what kind of emails you send and to who, but also when they are sent. You can set up an email campaign that is set up to roll out over the course of a few weeks. This also makes it easy to set up an email marketing campaign designed to roll out in time for a product launch, a planned sale, or other time-sensitive events.
The best way to reach those who want to be reached
One of the most effective ways to use email marketing is to create a mailing list specifically of those who have chosen to receive emails from you. When it comes to permission-based marketing, email is one of the most effective, and helps you build the familiarity and loyalty that you need from your customers. It makes them more likely to continue engaging with the brand.
Highly flexible and scalable
Both the emails you send and how you send them are highly flexible. You can send plain text emails, format them in any way you desire, help them stand out with branded graphics, and send attachments directly to the reader. Furthermore, you can alter your market targeting by creating different groups. Some emails may be relevant to all customers who have opted-in, while others might be more suitable to a smaller sub-section of your market. Either way, you can scale the campaign to match.
Personalisation is growing more and more sophisticated in email marketing. It’s no longer just about having the customer’s name in the opening line. You can optimise emails depending on whether the recipient uses mobile or more traditional hardware, make recommendations based on abandoned shopping carts, and more. The potential for engagement and conversion increases significantly with personalised emails.
Could save you a lot of time
With email, you can write a single message or set up a personalised message that sends to thousands of users at once. Furthermore, advanced email marketing can automate a lot of the process for you, such as sending abandoned shopping cart emails soon after a customer leaves your website during the purchasing process. As such, email marketing can save you a considerable amount of time that you might otherwise spend on chasing up your customers personally.
Another great advantage of email marketing is how it sits so nicely with other digital marketing channels. Content marketing for example. Content marketing is the process of creating content that your customers will read and enjoy. It's a great way to maintain contact with a customer base and drive loyalty. Once a customer has signed up to your mailing list you can forward this content directly to them. This allows brand story telling, you can introduce new products or services to your customers, you can get them excited about up coming events or sales by sharing content directly with them.
The spam factor
No marketing method is without its disadvantages, of course. With email, spam is the greatest risk of all. Unsolicited emails can be a gamble, as some recipients will dislike commercial emails, especially if they’re not well targeted. You must also ensure that your emails are up to date with privacy and data protection rules so that customers can open and read them with trust. Even when comes to opt-in emails, you must be careful to avoid sending too many.
Building a mailing list
If you are a new business the advantages of email marketing might not be available to you yet. Why? Because you haven't got a mailing list as yet. Building a list takes time. You have to earn subscribers. But, because you haven't yet got a mailing list or perhaps only a few customers have signed up to receive communications for you doesn't mean that you shouldn't be communicating with them. Make every effort to build your database. Add sign up forms to your blog or website. Encourage customers to sign up with promotions or giveaways. Build your mailing list one email address at a time. It may take some time to build, but do take the time to grow it and you'll feel the advantages and reap the rewards soon enough.
Undelivered emails are considered something of an unavoidable issue within the email marketing world. As time goes on, some of the addresses you’re emailing may be inactive or may have full inboxes. In other cases, you might have a title that is deemed too spammy, which is then filtered out by email software and email service providers. Avoiding spammy content and regularly updating your mailing list to exclude those who have repeatedly caused deliverability issues can help you ensure your message gets through to most, however.
The risk to your website
If you’re not careful in avoiding spammy tactics with your email marketing campaign, some or many of the recipients may end up marking it as spam. Not only does that make sure they don’t see emails from you again in the future, enough reports could end up sending an alert to your web host or mailing service company. If they don’t end up ruling in your favour, your email account or website could be temporarily suspended or even permanently shut down.
If you’re going to use email marketing, use it right
Email marketing can be a fantastic tool for converting new customers, keeping in direct contact with existing customers, and making a serious return on investment at little cost. However, you need to make sure that it’s in the hands of those who know how to use it responsibly.
Deliverability issues can be tracked and tackled over time, but it takes care to ensure that your emails aren’t spammy and, consequently, reported as spam enough times to risk your website’s usability. At Improve Marketing, we offer comprehensive email marketing services to ensure you’re taking advantage of this opportunity and using email the way it’s meant to be used.
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