As of 2020, most people are using email. Even the most steadfast social media holdouts have at least one email account to stay connected with family, friends, or work contacts. As business and communication grow more and more dependent on the internet, email marketing has emerged as a lucrative means of driving sales and attracting repeat customers for small businesses. Read on for more on using email marketing within your digital marketing strategy in the new decade.
Statistics to Know
According to the United States Census Bureau, “In recent decades, computer usage and Internet access has become increasingly important for gathering information, looking for jobs, and participation in a changing world economy.” Participation in ecommerce markets has become almost essential for some industries in order to compete with the efficiency and fast-shipping times offered by giants like Amazon and Walmart. In 2016, the American Community Survey (ACS) found that 89% of households had a computer, making it “a common feature of everyday life.” Four years later, that number has only increased, and with the ever-growing popularity of smartphones, Americans are connected via the internet almost constantly.
Email is quickly becoming the most popular form of professional communication. It’s faster, more efficient, and makes communicating with anyone anywhere on Earth possible. According to the IRS, “Email is now commonly used in business as an official form of communication, often replacing memorandums, meetings or phone conversations. This technology option is often the most efficient way to handle business communications and responsibilities.” As of 2020, it’s estimated that about 306.4 billion emails are sent each day worldwide. That number is expected to continue to increase in the coming decade.
Adobe’s 2019 email usage study found that people check their work emails for over 3 hours per weekday, and check their personal emails over 2 hours per day. That amounts to a lot of time, and an opportunity to get your materials in front of your customers’ eyes.
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Advantages of Email Marketing
Valuable Content vs. Spam
An important part of email marketing is making sure your emails are personalized, professional, and don’t look like spam. We’ve all seen them: mysterious emails from names we’ve never heard of, asking us to click on a strange link or encouraging us to send someone money. Email scams are a major issue right now, and will continue to be in the future until people start to be able to recognize them as malicious.
The hallmarks of a spammy email are poor grammar and a lot of misspelled words, lack of personal address, and content that the recipient hasn’t requested. A digital marketing agency can generate email content for your business that looks professional and is easily distinguishable from spam. They do this by sending your marketing emails to people who actually want to receive them. Collecting email addresses from your current customers and asking website visitors to voluntarily sign up for your emails creates a database of people who are interested in the products or services you’re providing.
You can include some of the following items in your emails:
- Discount codes
- Information about sales or specials
- eBooks and other downloads
- New releases and product updates
Adobe found that people tend not to open emails from brands when they send too many, get their personal information wrong, are pushing them to buy a product they’ve already bought, or are poorly written. Being targeted and specific in your email marketing strategy is key: if a group of customers have already bought one product, send them a discount for a different, but related one. Put yourself in their shoes: if you received your email, how would you respond to it? What kinds of emails do you like receiving from brands you’ve used or considered using?
Email marketing is a great opportunity to develop a personality for your brand. Think about how you want your business to be perceived. Do you want to use a more friendly tone, or a more professional one? The personality that comes across in your marketing communications needs to be consistent across all channels. If you post a lot of colloquial, casual content on your social media platforms, your email content should reflect that.
When it comes to branding, everything is important, including colors and templates used in your emails. Work with a designer (or a digital marketing agency) towards developing a logo and brand image that reflects your style and values. Incorporating those elements into your emails consistently will create an image for your business. Unique branding will make you more memorable and recognizable to current and potential customers.
Click-through rates (CTR), or the number of clicks on a link in the body of an email, are a great way to determine whether what you’re doing is working or not. Fortunately, email marketing is easily tracked through metrics, and when something isn’t achieving results, it can quickly be adjusted. Putting those links right there in the email makes it easy for customers to see more information about your product with one touch.
Open rate tracks how many subscribers open your email. This provides valuable insight into how successful your subject line copy is. You can compare open and click-through rates between emails to see exactly what didn’t work and use that information to improve. Did the longer subject line generate a better open rate, or the shorter one? How do your customers respond to questions as opposed to statements? Analyzing your email metrics can help hone your email marketing to perfection, and ensure you’re not wasting your money on channels that aren’t working.
Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important metrics for businesses to see how effective their marketing is. A high ROI means that a specific type of advertising is performing well, and like other metrics, helps you determine which channels work best for your business. When you invest in email marketing, you’re likely to see a high ROI.
Email marketing has an average return on investment (ROI) of 4400%, or $44 for every $1 spent. Considering this, email marketing is a fantastic way to make every dollar of your marketing investments count. Studies show that email marketing consistently drives revenue, improving year after year. This suggests that customers are continuing to engage with the brands they’ve developed a relationship with through email marketing.
Email marketing ROI is often high because sending an email with links to your website directly to people’s email inboxes makes it super simple for them to click. People check their email accounts frequently, especially from their smartphones, so placing your content where they’re already looking is likely to encourage them to view it. ROI data can also be valuable in determining what’s working. It’s simple: if your ROI is highest when you send out your quarterly newsletter, consider sending a newsletter more frequently.
Automation & Mobile Optimization
As mentioned before, smartphones have become incredibly popular, with an estimated 3.5 billion users worldwide. Since people are constantly checking their phones, and can read their emails from virtually anywhere, small businesses need to adapt their marketing to this. IBM reports that 49.1% of all emails are read on mobile devices. In many ways, this is a big advantage for businesses with email marketing campaigns in their arsenals. People don’t even need to be at home or in the office in front of their computers anymore to see your advertisements; they’re right in their pockets.
Now that you’ve developed an email database with information from past, current, and potential customers, you can divide those email addresses into categories. Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, and studies have shown that segmented campaigns can deliver a 760% revenue increase.
Through email automation, specific emails can go to each group with information that they might find more valuable than the others. You could send discount codes to potential customers encouraging them to revisit your website, and updates about your business and product offerings to previous ones. You can even segment your database into more specific categories, like age group, geographical location, interests, and browsing history, in order to deliver the most personalized email content possible.
Automation tools are becoming more popular for their time and money-saving effects. It’s easier than ever to collect the necessary data to send the right marketing materials to the right people. Through automated email marketing, you can automatically send emails to prospects and customers on a schedule, taking all of the hassle out of it for you and keeping your advertising materials flowing regularly. Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails, and 55% of companies are currently using marketing automation.
Given the steadily increasing popularity of email usage, it’s safe to say it probably isn’t going anywhere. As more businesses become reliant on the internet, it’s important to embrace the many advantages web-based commerce provides. Email marketing is a great way to maintain relationships with previous customers and get your information to potential ones in a matter of seconds, any time, anywhere.