Have you heard that email marketing is “dead” and only used by old school, uncool marketers who are stuck in the 20th century? Is email going (or gone) the way of printed yellow pages, direct mail and radio spots? I frequently speak with small business owners who are anxious to improve their internet marketing presence and overall effectiveness, and I continue to be surprised at how few consider email as a valuable tool. It’s true that it is not as trendy as Facebook or other social media tools, and it is clearly not as cool as SMS (text messaging) and other “newer” mobile marketing components… But there are times when older is still better (disclaimer – I am “old”, so may be a bit biased).
Although the effectiveness of email marketing has diminished slightly over the past few years (while social media and mobile are on the rise), here are some facts you should consider before discounting this often misunderstood marketing ingredient.
Email Subscribers are the True “LIKES”
Although most of us would like to have more Facebook fans, it is fairly easy for someone to “LIKE” your page and forget about you. With the CAN-SPAM Act and double opt-in subscription methods, the people on your email list have more than likely gone through a process of 2 or 3 steps to subscribe to your updates. In other words, they really want to hear from you!
Email Campaigns Reach a High Percentage of Your List
In this day of mobile technology, not only does everyone check email but many of us check it frequently, even when we are out of the office! While an average Facebook Business Page post only reaches 10-15% of that page’s fans (so not many people see your well crafted message), average email open rates range from 30-45%. Not every subscriber will open your email, but you have a chance of reaching a greater percentage of customers or leads.
As an aside, you may have heard that open rates are declining (yeah, gloom & doom!). This is true for a variety of reasons. People are inundated in their inbox, and more frequently hit delete when pressed for time. This declining metric also has to do with how most email services measure it, however. Their measurements are gauged by a very small image (hidden within the email) being opened. When a customer opts to read the email in text only (rather than display images), that email does not count in the open rate.
Email Subscribers Expect to be Sold to
It is always a best practice to deliver quality content and limit your “self-promotion” in your blog, social media posts and email campaigns. In the world of social media, it is recommended to deliver helpful and engaging content 90% of the time; while you “self-promote” only 10%. For some reason, however, the tolerance for special offers and other self promoting communications is much greater with email. In fact, your special offers may be why they signed-up!
Email R.O.I. is Still High
According to statistics from the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment for email campaigns has dropped over the past few years. It was around $39.50 per dollar spent in 2012 (and around $40.50 in 2011). Not a large percentage drop, but a trend that will continue. By comparison, social media returned $13 per dollar spent in 2012. It is on an upward trend for growth, but has a long way to go to out produce revenue from email marketing!
So, do you already have an email list? Do you find your email to be an effective marketing tool?