Over the past decade there have been many marketing fads that have come and gone but none have persisted and continued to deliver like email marketing.
Around the world, email usage continues to grow at a steady pace. In a study carried out by The Radicati Group in 2015, the number of email users worldwide was estimated at around 2.6 billion. By 2019 this figure is expected to increase to over 2.9 billion, with over one third of the population utilising an email address and the average user owning more than one email address.
Email marketing has a greater reach than any other online
With over 15 million Australians active on Facebook out of 24 million people nationwide, you would be forgiven for thinking that social marketing is the number one way to reach your audience. There’s no denying that 62.5% of the population is an impressive figure but when you stop to consider that an email address exists behind every Facebook account, let alone Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and every other online account, you can rest assured that email marketing has more reach than any other!
In our changing online landscape, social media platforms have become a central part of users’ online activity. While Facebook would currently be the most prevalent social platform in most of the world, some countries have greater presence on Google+ while others have regional platforms of their own. Usage of social networks services in itself is fleeting, with users moving from one platform to another depending what is popular at any given point in time. It’s safe to assume that no one spends all their time on a single primary platform, with users choosing to spread their time across a range of platforms; YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, and the list goes on.
Each social network serves its own purpose with different goals and ideas, some people have an account on one platform and not on another, but the one thing they all have in common is an email address used to register an account. Whether it’s an account for social media, online banking, online shopping, online games, or even for sending emails itself, an email address is required to register and people must frequently access their emails to check for important notifications. Whether that’s checking on a computer or receiving instantaneous alert on their smartphones throughout the day, access to email tends to be consistent and long lasting, with users maintaining the same address for long periods, far outlasting the use of any given service.
If you were to target each platform, and devise a social media strategy leveraging the nuances of each, there’s no doubt you will be poor of both time and money. Given the expansive presence of email in the online world, it only makes sense to leverage the one consistent platform that everyone is using.
Email marketing is cheap and has a high ROI
For marketing professionals and average Joe's alike, everyone wants to receive the best value for their money. Return on Investment or ROI is pretty common phrase these days and no marketing platform can hold a candle to the returns of email marketing. It’s reported that for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI, with email marketing topping the ranks for marketing over the past decade. In a climate where news travels fast and convenience is king, email marketing offers marketers the best way to connect with their audience quickly and cost-effectively.
Reaching out to your audiences on major advertising platforms like television, radio or billboards requires extensive planning, many people and a lot of funds to get it going. From the development of campaign creative, to the hiring of talent, the ongoing advertising space and management to make it all happen, advertising costs a lot of money and is no quick exercise. Even traditional mail outs which was previously one of the most accessible methods of reaching your audience requires a lot of work to get it out and delivered.
Email marketing is simple to set up; pick an email marketing platform, set up a branded email template, add in your customer email addresses, and add in the latest content to send out instantly. Once you’ve been set up for the first time, you can simply reuse the same branded template over and over again with new content to send to your customers. The reoccurring costs involved with sending out an email marketing campaign varies depending on the platform and how many people you’re sending to but is certainly a fraction of the cost of postage, let alone printing costs.
Not only are email marketing campaigns cheap but are also easily managed by one or two people in your office and can be instantly delivered as soon as it’s finished. When launching a new product or service, you can let your customers know as soon as it happens without delay. On some platforms, you can even set up automated email campaigns tied into your website blog RSS feed, so you can send weekly summaries without having to lifting a finger!
Email marketing is highly measurable and optimisable
One of the greatest benefits of advertising online is measurability and the ability to optimise and tailor campaigns for the individual. If someone has purchased a product from you online or they’ve registered for an account, chances are you already have what you need to make an impression! If you want to get more people on board, add a subscription box on your website and let them know what to expect.
Most leading email marketing platforms will give you valuable statistics and records of your campaign. How many people have opened your email, who opened the email, how many links were clicked, which links were clicked, where they opened the email. Using these statistics you can find out trends of the best days and the best times to deliver to your audience. If some campaigns worked better than others, evaluate what made them successful and optimise your campaigns to utilise the best assets of each.
One great way to optimise your campaign is to run A/B split tests. What this means is that two versions of one campaign are prepared with minor variations, such as the subject line, and delivered to a small portion of subscribers to find out which performs best. Based on the results, the winning version is delivered to the rest of subscribers.
One of the most effective ways to increase interaction is through personalisation, using your users’ information to connect personally. All you really need is their first name (and depending on circumstance, their business name) so you can address them directly and make the user feel engaged. Going one step further, try to segment your subscribers by their purchases or interests so you can make sure they’re receiving content they want to read.
Merging two techniques together, you could run A/B spit testing with personalised and non-personalised versions of the email. For example, you could try different subject lines like “Our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2016” versus “Our Top 5 posts curated for you Bob”
Email marketing is at the top of the ranks when it comes to connecting with the maximum audience possible and continues to offer the greatest returns on investment. The science of optimising email marketing campaigns and making the most of the platform may take some time but is a worthwhile exercise to increase your connection and ongoing presence in their lives. Personalisation and A/B split testing are common techniques that many utilise, but it’s important to see what works for your audience.