There was a time in the recent past when email was king of the mountain in terms of online marketing. Nowadays, email has to compete with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and RSS feeds to even get noticed, much less to capture attention and direct action in a meaningful way. Even so, the question “Is email dead?” is rather simplistic. Of course it’s not dead. People still use email and they still sign up for e-newsletters and promotional emails. But that’s not really what most people want to know when they ask the question. They want to know whether email marketing is still a good investment for their company.
What’s the right question?
A better way to consider the effectiveness of email marketing is to ask “How have the habits of my target market changed with regard to email and can email still help me accomplish my marketing goals with that market?” Of course, any great question opens up the field to follow-up questions. Some that you should consider include:
- How and where does my audience check email? (mobile phones, work, home)
- What type of email will my audience most likely open and read? (promotional, newsletter, educational)
- How can I build trust with my audience so they will be more likely to interact meaningfully with my emails?
How does today’s market use email?
I have two separate email accounts. One I use primarily for business-related and personal communication. The other I use for promotional emails and newsletters. However, if there’s a particular company whose emails I think I’ll read more than the average e-mail ad, then I’ll switch them over to my personal account. The majority of your target market probably thinks the same way. The goal for your business, then, should be to move from the “check once a month” account to the “daily” account.
An email marketing service provider can help you do this in several ways:
- Build Trust—Send informational, carefully timed emails that offer genuine value to the user in order to avoid the spam list. Also, make sure that you only conduct permission-based email campaigns rather than using purchased or rented lists in order to protect the privacy of recipients.
- Provide Value—Go heavy on education and light on promotion in order to keep people reading. Most newsletters have seen success with an 80/20 ratio, more or less.
- Respect Unsubscribe Requests—Don’t earn a reputation for spamming people who have unsubscribed from your list. Always provide easy mailing list management and honor unsubscribe requests immediately, preferably automating that process.
An ESP can help you take care of the nitty gritty like keeping your subscribers organized and managing your unsubscribes while providing tools to keep your emails professional. This way you can focus on providing relevant content that will keep your readers interested.
Takeaway: By understanding the email habits of your target market and by building an email campaign that respects privacy while providing value, you can achieve success with email marketing. Have questions or want some assistance?