Is there still a place for email marketing?

How a digital marketing agency can use email marketing effectively…

Many modern marketers turn up their nose at the concept of email marketing. The argument goes that it’s rather old hat: social media is now more popular than email and therefore a more effective advertising medium surely. Also there are concerns that much email marketing ends up either in the spam folder or not being opened: and the sheer volume of unwanted emails – even in these post-GDPR times – can be counter-productive.

But these marketers would be wrong. Email marketing does still have a place: very much so.

Let’s take a look at the evidence for this, and at how to use email marketing effectively.

Believe it or not, email is still the most widely used online channel. It currently has 2.6 billion unique users worldwide and this number is expected to continue to grow – reaching over 2.9 billion by the end of 2019.

But it is not just the number of consumers that is important here. As shown in the image below – courtesy of Exact Target – 58% of online consumers say checking email is their first online activity of the day. This compares with the next highest activity – checking a search engine or portal site (20%) – then in third place Facebook at 11%. Whilst this figure will naturally vary across different demographic groups, it is an indicator of the importance of email.

So it seems that email provides an audience that is ready and waiting. But email marketing also has several other advantages:

  • Cost: Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail and is an inexpensive way to advertise your company and its products and/or services compared to many other types of marketing.
  • Flexibility: You can use email marketing for different purposes at different times. For example, you can use it to send newsletters, brief news updates, details of upcoming events and special offers. All these provide opportunities to remind customers that your business exists.
  • Tracking: It is easy to set up and track an email marketing campaign. For a small business this makes it a very accessible type of marketing. For a larger business with a higher volume of emails to be sent, an email service provider can be used and can gather valuable information about the behaviour of the recipients to inform future email campaigns.

To use email marketing effectively, your emails need to stand out so that they grab attention in full inboxes. This applies to whether you are sending a “transactional email” – relating to the recipient’s recent dealings with your business – or a direct email being sent solely to communicate a promotional message.

Here are three ways that you can improve the effectiveness of your marketing emails:

  • Personalisation: An email that uses the recipient’s name and some other tailored hook is getting off to a good start. It can also help to include interesting and meaningful graphics to enable recipients to quickly understand the main purpose of the email.
  • Responsive design: It is critical that the email will load and display effectively on all devices on which recipients are likely to read their emails, whether this is desktop, tablet or smartphone. Given that an estimated 67% of emails are now read on smartphones or tablets this is increasingly important.
  • Call to action: Every email needs to have a purpose. Remember that of the recipient reads the email you are taking their precious time and it needs to be worth it. So ensure that your email campaign is very focused and that there is a clear – and attractive – CTA to which the reader can easily respond.

So the next time you hear someone bad mouthing email marketing, rest assured that it can still be an incredibly powerful marketing tool for all the reasons outlined above. Used effectively as part of your digital marketing strategy, it can achieve great things for your growing business.