For all the talk about social media, blogs and mobile as the new frontiers in marketing, email marketing still packs a powerful punch and should play a vital role in any inbound marketing strategy. Put quite simply, email marketing works. It gets the message you need to deliver to your target audience with a significant return on investment.
And yet, many marketers want to shy away from email in exchange for the latest and greatest marketing toy. It’s like the shiny new toys in the store windows that distract from the tried and true wooden blocks in the corner. Yes, the kids like the shiny new toys, but they’ll return to those blocks again and again.
Email Marketing The Numbers Don’t Lie
The first reason email works so well is primarily because everyone has an email account. Everyone. Well, maybe not everyone but 85 percent of the world’s adult population is using email. And, email remains the number one activity users engage in with online.
Email is everywhere, too, not just on a desktop computer anymore. Email has gone mobile and email users can check their accounts from anywhere on a variety of devices.
A personal email in an inbox also represents a more personal relationship with a company. It’s not social media where everyone can participate in the same discussion and it’s not a blog, where information is provided but engagement is less likely.
The ROI on email is pretty impressive, too. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of about 4,300% percent. With numbers like that, any marketer would have a tough time defending the decision not to use email.
The Bad Rap
But email got a bad reputation from somewhere that causes marketers and businesses to look past email as a strategy not worth spending time on. We’ll go ahead and blame perhaps the most hated invention of the Internet age — spam.
Spam, and really any unwanted and unsolicited emails, are the scourge of inboxes everywhere and have made email users wary of Nigerian princes for the rest of history. It’s true that spam has given email a bad name.
But today’s spam filters work better and a more savvy user group knows the difference between emails they have opted in to and unsolicited emails. And again, the data bears out the email works so not all emails in an inbox have the same reputation.
Making Email Work
Email marketing does work, but it still takes some finesse and is a bit of an art form.
First, start with the end goal, which is to have the recipient open the email and answer the call to action in the body of the email. Several factors contribute to whether or not the recipient will open the email in the first place, most specifically the subject line.
Good subject lines:
- Are short and to the point, usually around 40 to 50 characters;
- Avoid words that trigger spam filters like free and sample;
- Include your brand name;
- And say something attention grabbing.
Other important email marketing factors include strong call to action language, information the recipient can put to use quickly, and an easy to read layout.
If you have written off your email marketing strategy of the past, maybe it’s time to take a look at this strategy again.