We all do it—you know, complain about the amount of email we get every day. Most of us in the working age range—meaning not minors and not retired—most of us get a lot more email every day than we’d like to. And much of it is necessary, because it helps us get our work done. As the CEO of a company, I try not to even think about how many work emails land in my inbox every day (and night).
Of course, those of us in the email marketing industry don’t really see a problem with the huge amounts of email consumers get every day, since we are sending a lot of it—and don’t plan on stopping. Why? Because email works. Forget all of the complaining about too much email. If email marketing wasn’t effective, organizations wouldn’t be spending their money on it. Businesses spend money on initiatives that drive ROI, and email is definitely one of them.
Not that spam isn’t a reality, and not to say that some email marketers are less than honorable in their practices, adding people to their lists without permission and essentially spamming by continuing to email someone who never responds. I continue to get emails from a brand 10 years after my one and only contact with that brand, despite repeated requests to be removed from their list and despite the fact that I haven’t opened an email from them in a decade. At this point, it has become my own inside joke, as I chuckle each time I check my spam folder and see that yes, they’re still showing up! But I digress…
Sure, plenty of email is unwanted and unwarranted but still, many of us get our jobs done because of email, and many of us market goods and services for the same reason: email works.
If you or your C-level management are considering a reduction in budget for email marketing in order to pursue a new shiny thing like social ads or app building, let’s take a minute to review why email is such an effective marketing method and what you as the marketer gain from it—and why reducing the budget for it makes little sense.
8 reasons to keep using email as a primary marketing channel:
- People use it. In the U.S., 91% of consumers use it daily.
- And people want it: 72% of consumers chose email when asked, “In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you?” (Source)
- It’s proven more effective than any other channel—even Facebook and Twitter combined. The DMA continues to report on the ROI of email marketing that trumps any other form of marketing every single time they do the study.
- It can be targeted. You might argue that digital advertising can also be targeted, but you’re still relying on eyeballs coming across that ad vs. an email that can be sent to a particular individual’s inbox.
- Speaking of, it gets pushed out to consumers vs. social media or ads that require getting found. I can’t make a tweet, Facebook post or ad show up in the inboxes of the thousands of people on an email list, but I sure as heck can make an email show up there!
- People trust it. Studies show that email influences buying behavior, and that people trust it. That makes sense because a consumer has to have trust in a brand enough to hand over an email address and say, “Yes, I want to hear from you.”
- It’s mobile. Email goes where your audience goes, and can be checked any time day or night (and you can control the day and time it’s sent). And you get to control how your emails render on mobile devices!
- It can be automated, working without you doing anything other than strategically setting up drip campaigns and monitoring them.
- The ROI is easily measured.
- Put simply, it works!
I could argue for more than 10 reasons, but I think you get my point. Now let’s go beyond the surface benefits of email marketing to delve a little deeper into what we as marketers gain when we use email for promoting our products and services.
Not everything is about ROI
Email marketing ROI is a number we can easily wrap our heads around and use as justification for bigger budgets. But there are some other benefits to marketers that don’t show up in the bottom line—at least not directly. Below are 10 ways marketers benefit from using email marketing, some with a direct ROI and some without, but all with a positive impact on the dollars at the end of the day.
- Brand awareness. An email doesn’t have to be opened to make an impression. Even if a consumer deletes an email without opening it first, the From name, subject line and preheader text all had a chance to make an impression before the message disappeared from the inbox. For those emails not deleted, brand awareness is definitely increased. I personally keep emails in my inbox that I don’t have time to open yet but want to at some point. Those emails in my inbox are reminding me of the promise of that brand and what I might get when I do have time to interact with their email.
- A bigger audience. Even in an age of social sharing, emails are still forwarded and those forwards tend to be more targeted, making the impact of those forwards significantly higher than the impact of a social share that goes out to a broad audience. That said, people do share emails to social networks as well, which does help to increase reach!
- Relationship building. Email can strengthen relationships with prospects and customers through strategic and targeted messaging that continues to build upon previous messaging as well as recipient behavior.
- Data. Sure, other forms of marketing generate data, but the data from email marketing tends to be more actionable and a marketer can glean plenty of it, from opens to click throughs to conversions, as well as forwards and social shares. A marketer can also see when emails are not delivered or engaged with, and that data is crucial too. (And when was the last time you could see that an individual did not see your Facebook ad?)
- Better marketing through data. After gathering and analyzing data from email, marketers are then able to improve that email, to be more targeted, more relevant, more timely…more effective.
- Longevity. I know I’m not the only one who leaves emails in my inbox for another time. These might be work emails, and they might be marketing emails. One can’t do that with social. A tweet has a fleeting lifespan of a few seconds and a Facebook post just a little bit longer. And how can one make an ad stick around?
- Customer acquisition. Marketers might use other means to get a lead interested in the first place, but email has a unique way of nurturing leads along into customers when properly used because it can be so targeted and timely.
- Sales. And when it comes to customers, emails generate sales. That’s why the ROI on email is always off the charts compared to other means.
- Customer loyalty. Social media certainly has a role to play in building loyalty with customers, but well done email marketing campaigns can also deepen loyalty, especially when those messages are targeted based on an individual’s behavior. And that customer loyalty leads to…
- …more sales.
I suspect when you’re done reading this post, you’ll check your inbox and marvel at how many new messages showed up in the brief time you spent with my writing. But rest assured many of those emails are there for a reason: because email works. And when you’re a savvy, well-informed email marketer, it works for you too!