Email is one of the oldest resources in the technological toolkit, and marketers have been using digital messages to send promotions to customers almost as long as email has been around. With its low cost and high return on investment, email is an obvious choice as a key marketing channel, and many firms find they can't afford to ignore it.
However, because email marketing is such a longstanding and essential tool, companies may often let their strategies go undiscussed and unevaluated, thereby failing to use email effectively and adapt their campaigns based on the results. If you're looking to re-up the energy your promotional messages may be missing and re-engage your email marketing list, it may be time to consider whether you've been taking full advantage of what email can achieve.
Relearning email marketing's strengths
Marketers are well aware of the rise of social media as a channel by which firms can communicate and share directly with customers, and if you're using both social sites and email as marketing platforms, it's important to take a step back and consider what each tool does best. Email is great in certain areas of marketing where social media just can't perform.
Customer education, for instance, is a marketing tactic that calls for the use of email at some level. In an interview with the Next Web, Saptarshi Nath, co-founder of Indian re-sale ecommerce startup Bootstrapp, said that his firm used email to share resources by which customers can learn about the company.
"Email newsletters linked to our blog content provide us this opportunity more clearly than social media," Nath told the news source. "As for offers and deals, we're generally able to reach only about 1 to 5 percent of our target audience via social media, and so we use email to reach customers who aren't regulars on Facebook."
Another noteworthy factor that differentiates email from other channels is the level of privacy it implies, the Next Web pointed out. While social messages are seen by many, recipients still perceive email as being directed expressly to them. As such, marketers should take advantage of the opportunities for targeting and personalization that email presents them.
"Brands should be respectful of this and avoid being too impersonal, too frequent and too irrelevant," William Grobel, manager of marketing and insight at Deloitte, told the Next Web.
Relevance is key
In fact, some field experts are suggesting that relevance is more important than many of the data points email marketers have traditionally relied on to gauge their successes. In a post for Business 2 Community, Monetate Content Marketing Director Rob Yoegel argued that relationships are more important than click-through and open rates when it comes to acquiring and retaining customers. He noted that Email Experience Council Co-chair Luke Glasner talked about the need for engagement in email during a recent webinar.
"The onus is on email marketers to develop good list management and list hygiene practices as well as engaging content," Glasner said, according to Yoegel. Glasner went on to note that historical metrics – open, click-through and conversion rates – have to be combined with real-time behavioral data – what kinds of devices email readers are using, for instance – in order to fully achieve relevance.
In a recent column for ClickZ, Derek Harding, CEO at Innovyx, discussed the need for marketers to improve email quality in order to increase engagement. Noting that about 10 percent of major brands have inoperative links and images in their marketing emails, Harding suggested firms learn a lesson from the publishing and software industries, where having a perfect product by the time of release is paramount.
With more polished emails, the customers on your targeted email lists are likely to hold your brand in higher regard.