Is email relevant anymore?
As Facebook releases its initial public offering, over 900 million people use the social network monthly. Twitter has over 140 million active users. LinkedIn has over 160 million members, with two new members joining every second. Pinterest has over 4 million daily unique visitors.
With all this online socializing going on, is anyone even reading email anymore?
Yes, absolutely. Let’s look at the trends over the past two years.
Econsultancy’s 2010 “How We Shop” survey (from Econsultancy’s Email Beginner’s Guide) revealed that in the UK over 60% of consumers rated email as the best way to receive advertisements for sales and special offers. Only 28% felt that way about postal direct mail. The survey claims similar numbers for the USA.
Marketers have responded. According to Econsultancy’s 2011 email marketing census, email marketing represents 18% of advertising budgets and this number continues to grow. 72% of companies rate email marketing as “excellent” (26%) or “good” (46%), higher than for any other marketing channel save SEO (73%).
Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report says that fully 67% of companies expect to increase their email marketing budgets by at least some amount, and nearly 20% of company email marketing budgets will increase by 30% in 2012. Another B2B survey cited by Marketing Sherpa listed email marketing as one of the top three investments in B2B marketing budgets.
Marketers have also learned that it is not enough to simply blast emails out to as many people as possible. These days, email marketing is not a numbers game. It’s a quality game. There’s simply too much competition for recipients’ eyeballs. If an email is not perceived as uniquely relevant to the individual receiving it, that email will be ignored. Worse, the company that sent it may be viewed in a poorer light than before.
So, marketers have to take advantage of the latest database and automation technology to deliver emails that are personalized, relevant and targeted with pinpoint accuracy to each and every individual recipient. When they do so, recipients feel more special, and respond more favorably not only to emails but also to the companies that send them.
Why you need email marketing.
• It’s still the primary way we like to receive information – and this projected to only grow, not decline.
• It will help you build customer relationships by providing informative and emotionally compelling content that people like to receive.
• It will help you drive initial sales, conversions and repeat sales, as well as cross-sell and up-sell.
• It can also help you retain customers, which costs far less than gaining new ones.
• It is a remarkably cost-effective way to reach an audience, with near instantaneous sending, receiving and response. It costs a whole lot less than postal mail.
• Email augments a multichannel campaign’s power to boost brand awareness and customer engagement.
Get ready for mobile.
In 2010, Morgan Stanley forecasted that by 2014 more users will connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs (See the report). They were probably being conservative in their estimates. These days, more than a third of smartphone users (and there are over 130 million of them in the U.S. alone) are checking emails on their phones (according to research conducted by digital agency Steel – see their report). This will only increase. For many people, the mobile device is becoming the primary way to read emails.
This makes it more important than ever to design our emails with:
• Short, simple copy – people typically scan, not read emails
• A clear offer and call action that readers see right away
• Graphics that load FAST
• Links/buttons that can easily be tapped with a thumb
In subsequent posts, we’ll talk more about good design practices for emails, both desktop and mobile. Meanwhile, if email marketing doesn’t yet figure prominently in your marketing strategy and budget, now is the best time to start.
Here’s to the marketing champion in all of us. See you in the next post.