Is there an advantage to email over other online marketing channels?
Compared to other online marketing, particularly social media marketing is there really any point to email marketing? How would you use it in conjunction with social media marketing? Hoping to have an interactive presence online, as engaging as possible.
If you are hoping to have an interactive presence online then email marketing is essential.
How you do it comes down to the product and target market you have. However email marketing isn't just for obtaining new customers, in some cases it is better used to stay connected to current/past customers.
Email is a great way to stay in contact and gain repeat business however you can also find yourself added to their junk folder if you just try and sell. You need to find a valid reason to reach out to your customers via email that encourages them to respond. A response doesn't have to be via return email, that would just increase your workload. A response could be in many forms.
I wouldn't be so quick to devalue emails. Many people though fax campaigns are dead, as a result less people use fax to market resulting in higher success rates for those who still fax.
Email is no different, however doing the same as everyone else with most likely yield the same result as everyone else, the junk box!
Email marketing is a great marketing channel. It takes some time to build a list and gain their trust, but when you manage to do this, you're able to have a real, actionable conversation directly with people who are interested in your product or service. After all, they only signed up to your list because you offered something they found valuable!
As with any marketing, though, keeping the balance between offering real value and making sales, is key to making it work.
I think email can be a huge asset to leverage if:
- You have clear goals (gaining new users, a blog digest, sales and discounts, etc).
- Don't use 1 email list to do all of the above make separate lists (this makes it clear for customers and for you on what content to include or avoid)
- Frequency is just as important as content (even great content is ignored when over sent) - strike a balance (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly)
- Include user feedback (you can fairly easily take screenshots or embed static or live mentions from social media).
- Always include ways for recipients to get back in touch with you (email, phone number, social media links)
- Never send email from an address such as (firstname.lastname@example.org) - you are signaling you don't want a conversation. Make the email name it is sent from count (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) - Don't be afraid to have a bit of fun but keep it professional to the tone of your business.
- Always make it clear how a recipient can modify or unsubscribe from your list (this is more of a legal thing) and make sure that unsubscribing is simple and straightforward not something they have to do over and over before finally being removed.
- Clean out your email lists at least 1 to 4 times a year. Notice people who haven't opened the last 5 to 10 emails? Perhaps send that group one more email asking if they are still interested in your newsletter. If no response, delete them. They are just taking up space (and potentially costing you more depending on the email platform you use).
Email marketing is MASSIVELY powerful and in my opinion, perhaps more powerful than other online marketing techniques. Email marketing allows you to tailor messages to different customers based on the actions they take and their stage in the customer lifecycle, making it a much more intimate and effective conversation with your customers.. if you do it right.
I think the main benefit is that the social media feeds cannot ensure that your target clients have seen your message. Even if they have liked your page or followed you on twitter they simply may not get shown your items in the feed or may miss them. Well timed and useful emails will be opened, and you can often use services that will track reciept and opening, so you have a better sense if they have got your message.