Why do email marketing?
People unfamiliar with email marketing often wonder what all the fuss is about. Didn't spam kill email as a marketing vehicle? And if spam didn't kill it, what about blogs, Twitter and all the other clever ways we can communicate online? Isn't email outmoded?
Those wondering about the benefits of email marketing in today's ever-changing online and marketing environment will find the answers below.
Businesses engage in email marketing because it works. And works well. Here are the numbers...
- The DMA puts email marketing's ROI for 2011 at $40.56 for every $1 invested. The figure for 2012 is predicted to "fall" to $39.40, when email will account for $67.8 billion in sales (reference).
- A 2012 survey of consumer channel habits and preferences found 77% preferred to receive permission-based promotions via email: 6% preferred such messages via social media (reference). A similar survey of UK consumers found 69% with a preference for email as the channel for brand communications (reference).
- The 2012 Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey found 63% of respondents cited email as the channel offering the best ROI (reference).
- A survey of online marketing managers at the end of 2011 found 89.2% said email is the same or more important to their overall marketing strategy when compared to two years ago (reference).
- In April 2011, 79% of search marketers said email had grown in importance as a source of leads (reference).
- 72% of respondents to an Econsultancy survey in early 2011 described email's ROI as excellent or good. Only organic SEO scored better (reference).
- A 2011 business survey by Ireland's Marketing Institute saw 84% claiming email marketing was important or very important to their marketing strategy (reference).
- The ForeSee Results 2010 report on the effectiveness of social media found that promotional emails were the second biggest influence on retail website visits. The biggest influence was familiarity with the brand (reference).
The money is following the results...
- Email was the channel most likely to get more investment in 2012, according to a survey of business leaders: 60% planned to increase their email marketing budget. Social media was the next most popular at 55% (reference).
- An April 2012 survey of German marketing executives revealed that email was used for marketing by 82%, second only in popularity to websites. More respondents (53%) planned to increase investment in email than in any other online channel (reference).
- A 2012 social media survey found 87% of social media marketers also use email marketing: 93% plan to maintain or increase their use of email (reference).
- The 2012 Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey found 97% of respondents using email marketing (reference).
- When asked about their 2012 digital marketing budget priorities, only paid search was cited more often by retailers than email (reference).
- A July 2011 survey of marketers discovered that 54% planned to increase their email marketing budget, while 3% planned to lower it (reference).
- 68% of small businesses surveyed in mid-2011 by Pitney Bowes listed email as their preferred marketing channel (reference).
- eCircle surveyed European marketers and found the most popular online marketing channel was email (reference).
- In a 2011 business survey by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, 88% of respondents said they expected their email marketing budget to increase or stay the same over the coming 12 months (reference).
- Forrester's late 2010 survey of US marketers found 88% of B2C firms and 71% of B2B organizations using email marketing (reference).
- A DMA survey of US and Canadian marketers in late 2010 found email was the most widely used web-based direct marketing technique (reference).
- A 2010 survey of 2,500 marketers by AWeber found 82% intending to increase their email marketing efforts over the next 12 months (reference).
Why it works
Email marketing works for a variety of reasons...
- It allows targeting
- It is data driven
- It drives direct sales
- It builds relationships, loyalty and trust
- It supports sales through other channels
Modern email marketing services and solutions support database integration, segmentation and various other tricks and techniques for improving the targeting of outgoing messages. Advanced methods generate on-the-fly emails customized down to an individual recipient basis.
And every email campaign you send out generates a heap of actionable data you can use to refine your approach and messages.
Email promotions and offers generate immediate action: sales, downloads, inquiries, registrations, etc. Informative email newsletters and other emails send people to offline stores and events, prepare the way for catalogs, build awareness, contribute to branding, strengthen relationships, encourage trust and cement loyalty.
All in all, a pretty good way of going about your marketing business. But...
Let's not get carried away
Just like a garden only bears fruit if managed properly, so it is with email marketing. We know it can work, but you have to get the basics right. The basics of building a list of people who want to hear from you, crafting a message, and ensuring the emails get through to those on that list.
And once you have the basics right, there's a whole spectrum of more sophisticated tactics you can employ to drive further success. Because the metrics show us that there's plenty of room for improvement and plenty of rewards waiting for those who do improve.
Convinced? Start the email marketing journey with a look at the basics of email marketing.