Email marketing — as far as online marketing methods are concerned — is relentless, inexpensive, and responsive. It’s highly effective, smooth, and can at least be semi-automated. Amidst all the noise on the Internet and the seemingly unwelcome intrusion of an avalanche of incoming marketing messages aimed at customers, email messages manage to sneak into your inbox and grab a mind share while doing it.
In spite of the growing popularity of social media and other methods of online marketing, email marketing holds a special place for marketers and businesses.
Social media is, admittedly, big and unmistakably important. Yet, email marketing still trumps and remains a popular way for marketing businesses. If the results of a poll conducted by IPSOS are anything to go by, email still reigns supreme. In over 24 countries, 85% of Internet users still use the Internet primarily for checking their email.
A study conducted by Pew Research states that 74% of Internet users, aged 64 and older still use email as their primary mode of communication. Email does seem to have lost its sheen with the teens – a whopping 84% of teenagers used email in the year 2004 compared to just 73% today. Email still reigns as a daily activity for millions of people around the world.
Further, the world is steadily going mobile. According to Comscore, a whopping 89.6 million Americans access their email through their phones, be it for work or for personal purposes . About 64% of these users check their email everyday through their smartphones, and that number is growing almost at the rate of 30% every year.
Email, no matter how old-fashioned it might seem now, is still indisputably the primary mode of communication for millions of Internet users around the world.
While Internet marketers today have to focus on social media, SEO, PPC, media buying, content marketing, and many other methods of marketing online, email marketing still takes the lion’s share of an average marketer’s attention.
Apart from the sheer numbers, popularity and the practicality of email as a medium of communication, here are some other reasons why email is a great tool for marketing:
With email, you are right on target: If you go by email best practices, you’d subscribe to the power of “opt-in” or “permission” marketing. In essence, your subscribers willingly exchange their email addresses to hear more from you. By building a list this way, your mailing list is full of subscribers who’ve shown interest in your product, service, or brand. They “opt-in” to receive more information from you – that’s a highly-targeted, super-responsive, action-oriented set of subscribers who are most likely to buy from you, sooner or later. Even if your subscribers choose to unsubscribe, they’d still remember you. As such, they mark your business in their sub-conscious mind.
How powerful is that?
Lead Nurturing: Use email to tap into the biggest open secret in marketing: customers buy when they are ready to buy. What’s a company or brand to do while customers wait for the right time?
Philip Storey, Creative Consultant at eCircle, articulates the importance of email for nurturing relationships, “…Email can and should be used as a relationship channel. … Brands will start to see the value in shifting their mindset from commercial, blanket messaging to a customer-centric email marketing model that truly benefits their prospects and customers.”
Businesses have to develop a relationship with potential customers, invoke a sense of trust in customers, and inform them to help them make a better decision. Traditionally, infomercials and advertisements worked hard to do this but never really managed to do it as well as they should. Thanks to email marketing, nurturing leads is now possible using best practices, drip email campaigns, powerful copy, well-designed emails with calls-to-action, etc. If you had to put out even a half-page advertisement on a leading newspaper (even without knowing who’d end up seeing the ad, leave alone taking action) how much would that cost you each month? How long can you spend money on expensive media-buying strategies when there are almost free alternatives such as the email?
Feasible Long-Term Marketing: Email marketing is clean. Unlike social media communications, which can get drowned in the random social chatter, the emails that your subscribers receive are clearer and more focused. Moreover, your subscribers give you undivided attention when reading your email when compared to what they do on their Facebook Fan Page. Email marketing is an effective brand-building tool simply because subscribers get your emails regularly – that means that your business or brand name is on the top of their minds at all times.
Social media messages get drowned in the deluge of content that’s created everyday, PPC (Pay per click) is expensive, and SEO is subject to the whimsical vagaries of Google updates. Email Marketing, though, remains humble and extremely powerful.
So I ask, are you building your list?