Believe it or not, I still hear chatter about whether or not email is still a viable marketing tool. I still frequently field questions about whether or not email marketing is still relevant, effective, useful, dead, etc.
Is email still a viable marketing tool? Unequivocally, the answer is yes. It is still relevant, effective, and useful.
And, no, it’s not dead. Seriously, it’s difficult for a communication channel to be dead when virtually every living soul involved in business has an email.
This is especially true when you consider that every account, subscription and software platform requires an email address. People use email like crazy. More than 200 million emails are sent out every minute of every day.
So we know people have and use email addresses. Does that mean it’s effective for marketing?
72% of U.S. adults say they prefer companies to communicate with them via email. Furthermore, 91% of those consumers say they’d like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with.
Email marketing is a powerful vehicle for delivering messages directly to your target audience. It is and will continue to be one of the most important channels any business can use to keep an audience engaged, generate leads and grow business.
It’s consistent, targeted, effective and inexpensive.
With that baseline fact in place, let me try to destroy — one-by-one — the common objections I hear regarding email marketing.
Have you heard these objections? Have you thought these yourself?
Read and heed.
1. “I don’t need email marketing. We’re already active on social media.”
This is one of the most frequently-cited objections – that email marketing isn’t necessary because social media provides better engagement, or that social media is killing email marketing.
While social may be an extremely effective engagement tool, and in some regards is more effective than email marketing, you can’t expect one marketing channel to do it all for you.
Here are few things to consider when you’re comparing email to social.
The numbers don’t lie.
Email has roughly 3 times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined – I’m talking in the billions.
Think of it like grains of rice. If a bowl full of rice represented the number of emails sent every day, then all the daily posts to Facebook would be a dozen or so grains scattered next to the bowl.
Twitter? About 4 grains.
Smart marketers consider email to be an essential part of their engagement efforts, and foundational to their marketing and lead generation for sales.
That’s because email absolutely crushes social media in the quality of traffic, not just quantity.
You won’t find a more personal medium,
While the concept of social media and direct interaction might make you feel like it’s the most personal form of engagement, it’s simply not.
The closest you can get to a written letter, the better you are when it comes to direct, good ol’ fashioned, personal engagement. In the majority of cases many people will bounce emails back and forth even when private 1-on-1 conversations are needed.
When smart marketers want to make a customer feel valued, and provided a targeted offer, they turn to email. The data we’re able to collect from consumer social and search activities is being turned into highly targeted, personalized emails that make a consumer feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Because quite honestly, you are speaking directly to them. Sure, it might be a system-generated email, but it’s filled with what we know that specific customer wants. And with personalization, such emails are even more effective.
Customers love it! That’s why consumers who receive targeted emails spend more when shopping.
Email gets you more attention per customer than anything.
You’re going to get more face time with your audience with email.
It’s not because they spend more time in email than social media. It’s because email lets you make invasive contact. It’s within their electronic sanctum.
That’s way different than sending out tweets or Facebook posts that become just one more flash of data in a non-stop stream of information.
Email is a transactional medium.
Your customers are primed to receive offers via email. They expect it. We’ve trained our audiences for years to expect offers through email. Not only that, we’ve trained them to desire such offers!
Compare this to social media where your audience is there to chat, to catch up with what’s new, to see videos. Even if they’re following you, it’s a lousy and distraction-riddled environment to try to convert someone.
Their attention is captured by a thousand different things streaming by in real time. With email marketing, the list is yours. You have their attention. You are infinitely more likely to catch them at a time when they’re ready to convert.
What’s even better is that when you bring in other elements like video to tell a compelling story or make a more emotional connection, you greatly increase the odds of a conversion.
2. “Customers get enough email. They don’t want more spam!”
Targeted email offers and engagement through email marketing is never spam, especially if a customer willingly signed up. It’s not unwanted. They are askingyou for it.
They have given you their contact information and they’re waiting patiently in hopes of receiving a personalized offer.
I overstate my case (slightly), but I do so to make a point.
Thinking your customers don’t want to hear from you is liking having an attractive person you’ve been talking to hand you a phone number at a party, specifically telling you to call.
But then you don’t. Why not? Because you think they get enough phone calls, and wouldn’t want more.
They want that personalized interaction with you. Specifically with you. They’ll even pay more to get it!
Source: Business Insider
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers tested the effects that mints had against a control group (where no mints were given) in order to measure their effectiveness in increasing tips.
The results were pretty amazing.
- The first group had waiters providing mints with the check, but made no mention of the mints. The tips increased by 3% vs the control group.
- The second group had waiters bring out two mints by hand (separate from the check) and mentioned them as they put them on the table. This method saw tips increase by 14% vs. the control group.
- The last group had waiters bring out the check along with a few mints. Shortly after, the waiters returned with more mints and let the customers know they brought more just for them in case they wanted another. The last group saw a 21% increase in tips vs. the control group.
The last group was still bringing out the same amount of mints. They just split them up. There was another factor that created the results: Perceived personalization. Such perceived personalization made all the difference to customers.
It had nothing to do with the mints. It was the personalized experience that was created. Much in the same way email marketing allows you to really personalize the experience that a customer has already asked for.
They know you’re going to send offers. They signed up for them. But that personalization still blows them away. It builds memorable customer experiences that generate more businesses.
That’s why 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies, the companies that create the best personalized experiences.
3. “We don’t really need email. Customers come to us already.”
While it’s true that email marketing is 40 times better than other online channels for acquiring customers, sometimes a business doesn’t feel like it needs email marketing to gain new business.
I get that. For some businesses with terrific word-of-mouth benefits and a strong social presence that might be 100% true.
But email marketing isn’t just about building new business or nurturing brand new leads. It’s also one of the most effective ways to keep your current customers informed.
This goes way beyond coupons.
Nielsen reported that 28% of US online shoppers subscribe to store and product emails in order to stay informed. A study from Loyalty360 states that 59% of US moms sign up for email updates from brands just to get rewards.
There is significant value in staying connected to customers. They may very well already be your existing customer but maintaining contact with them keeps you at the front of their mind. Especially with how well it works for a mobile strategy.
It’s an effective way to reach mobile customers without investing in new technology or costly SMS campaigns.
According to Pew Research Center, 52% of US cellphone owners access their mail from their phone. With push notifications for email, a customer can get a visible notification in their pocket when you send out a follow up email, thank you message, receipt for sale, special offers and more.
Forrester Research showed us that 42% of retailers’ email messages are opened by consumers on their smartphones, with 17% opened on tablets. So nearly 3 out of 5 email marketing messages are hitting a mobile audience, making it more viable than SMS to stay engaged with your audience.
That’s a terrific way to get someone back into a retail location or restaurant when they’re out and about.
It’s not always about new business. In many cases it’s about retaining existing business, while building customer relationships.
So can a business survive without email marketing?
But ultimately you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Why would you even try? By neglecting email, you’re ignoring opportunities to directly engage your customers.
Email marketing may be old hat, but it’s a vital tactic that is a key part of an overall digital marketing strategy. Don’t disregard something that your customers want, that is proven to be effective, and is guaranteed to grow your business when executed correctly.
How has email marketing helped you grow your business?