Technically, Email Marketing is the promotional marketing message sent by a company to a recipient who has previously agreed to receive such materials.
But marketers are more likely to refer to it at the “most neglected bit of awesomeness available” for marketing.
If you’re not excited by the high ROI (44:1), or the fact that 47% of professional marketers rank email marketing at the most profitable channel in their marketing mix, maybe you’ll be intrigued to know that over 50% of consumers prefer email as the best channel to receive communication from the brands they care about.
For example, when paying for products at an Old Navy store, the cashier will ask for your email address—a not-so-subtle way of adding you to their mailing list for further email marketing. By providing the email address, the customer has consented to accept marketing communication.
While some businesses may attempt to send unsolicited marketing messages, such emails will be viewed as junk mail, and usually remain unopened. Avoid sending unsolicited email. That’s just lazy marketing and it’s more likely to drive customers away than to win them over.
Let’s dig deeper. Why is email marketing important?
Statista said that in 2017, there were 3.7 billion users of email in the world sending and receiving some 269 million emails every day. Statista estimated that by 2019 in the U.S., email advertising would increase from US$270 million in 2015 to US$350 million.
For small business owners who already have customer permission to send email marketing, it is an excellent opportunity to continue getting your name and message out to a lot people.
The benefits derived from email marketing are:
- Permission-based. We touched on that already, but since people have already okayed the reception of email marketing, there is a good chance it will be opened and looked at. Getting a consumer to look at a product or message is a major component to gaining a sale.
- Return Business. Because a consumer has already opted-in to receive marketing material from a company, it provides an opportunity for the small business to maintain dialogue and to provide an opportunity for that customer to become the all-important repeat customer. This can be achieved with the addition of coupons or codes within the email marketing message to encourage customer redemption online or in-store.
- Cost-effective. Everyone likes a bargain, whether it’s the customer or the small business owner. When it comes to associated costs for email marketing, it is less expensive than most other forms, including print, television, radio and even most digital platforms. There are many companies offering free or relatively inexpensive options for sending email advertising to the small business owner subscriber list. For example, if a small business owner wants to send email messaging to 1 – 2,500 subscribers per month via SendPulse (www.sendpulse.com), the cost is zero. Yes, free. The popular MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) offers a low-cost package for those with up to 2,000 subscribers. While these emailing services are basic in delivery, SendPulse, MailChimp and others also offer more premium email marketing services for associated fees.
- Segmentation. Unlike print, television or radio, the small business owner can control exactly who gets to see the marketing. Beyond just targeting your customers, if you already know more about your customer than just their email – thanks to specific consumer marketing research and buying habits – the email marketing message can be streamlined to be sent to customers based on: location, age or gender or more.
- Return On Investment. Known as ROI, every small business owner wants to ensure they are not wasting money on advertising schemes that don’t work. According to a 2018 report from the Data & Marketing Association in the UK, for every $1.60 spent (we’re converting to Canadian dollars), the expected ROI in 2018 was approximately $52.24, up from $48.60 in 2017. Email marketing provides good bang for your buck.
- Measurement. The biggest complaint from people who advertise via print, television or radio, is that it is essentially impossible to measure how many people have actually received the messaging. While it is easy enough to note that 200,000 people watched a Toronto Raptors basketball game on television, it is difficult to state with certainty just how many of those viewers stuck around to watch the commercial advertisements. Viewers often use the commercial breaks to grab snacks, visit the bathroom or to flip the channel to see what else is on.
With email advertising, a small business owner can track the effectiveness of the email campaign via metrics and analytics. You can determine the number of “sends” versus “opens”, and even determine if there was a click-thru to your website, and the amount of time spent online. With multiple email marketing messages sent, you can even plot out the best time of day or day of the week to send the messaging to get the most “opens”. Having a thorough understanding of the data analysis can help the small business owner modify their marketing.
We should point out that in the case of email marketing, too much is not necessarily a good thing.
Look at it from your point of view. Do you like being inundated with messages every day from a company seeking your return business? No. While it smacks of desperation, for the recipient it can become akin to harassment.
Know your market, and determine the appropriate frequency of your email marketing.
Located in the Toronto area, the Strider team helps local business across North America initiate and maintain all of the above marketing strategies. Check out Strider’s Easy Email Newsletter tool, or contact us for a personalized recommendation.