Marketing Sherpa recently released its 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark report. In it they examine email marketing from all angles, including where email fits into marketer’s budget plans for this year. And as you may suspect, Email is still providing marketers a strong ROI.
Personally, I am still a huge fan of email as a foundational component in the marketing mix. Most marketers use it responsibly today allowing the user control over their options. And email continues to deliver the unique benefit of personal communication from your organization directly to the email recipient. So although it may seem like the less exciting tactic in today’s online marketing mix, apparently other marketers agree that email is very effective and they will continue to invest and build the channel.
Top things I like about email as a marketing tactic:
In order to get on the list, the person has to want to your receive emails. Now I agree that there is a precious, short amount of time that you have in order to impress them and keep them wanting to receive your messages but at least at the outset, they agreed that there was value in the relationship.
Email arrives in their inbox when you want it to. Unlike visitors to your web site, searchers on Google, or viewers of your ads, messages can be targeted to a time that allows you to get the right message to the right person at the right time. This gives you a huge lever to push when you have important things that have to get done such as new product launches or meeting sales targets.
Emails allow you to build and nurture a relationship with your readers. You can maintain a long-term bond through email. You can be personal, have a tone of voice, be detailed, and build trust through providing relevant information and communicating it with care. Many companies have recipients who continue to read their emails for years.
You can see what your recipients are responding to, one at a time. With email you can look at the big picture, “How well did this campaign do?” but you can also see what individuals are doing. You’ll know which recipients opened and clicked your message. It’s almost as if you could see over their shoulder and that helps you create programs that are relevant and responsive to them.
There are a wide variety of formats that are effective in email. From newsletters which delivering a wide range of information, to a personal letter, to a flashy sales promotion, to timely alerts & reminders, email offers marketers an array of options for copy, layout and style to meet different marketing objectives.
The available email tools make testing and analysis easy. You need a big list to see statistical differences in results, you can still learn a lot even with small quantities and with the right email platform, executing tests is fast and easy. I am so glad that I don’t have to know ahead of time which subject line is going to win, although taking bets is pretty fun, I am only right about 50% of the time.
I believe that email’s role will continue to change, and dare I say – decline over time. (I can predict this by the slow or no response I get from the youngest generation when communicating with them via email.) And email certainly has weathered a fair share of abuse over the years by spammers and unconscious marketers who do much to make it annoying rather than valuable to the recipient. However email has also continued to maintain its value, and turned over control to the user, and evolved with technology allowing marketers to depend on it as an important tool in the toolbox.
You can download a free excerpt from the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.