Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Does Email Marketing Still Work?

These days it can sometimes feel as though getting your company noticed is all about social media and viral marketing. Once such a revolutionary concept, it can now seem as though the humble email is already fading into the background when it comes to devising an effective marketing campaign. 

Many of us assume that marketing emails are not even read anymore, but simply dismissed as junk mail and deleted instantly. Consumers have got wise to it, we may think, and so we have to find new ways of reaching them. 

But this is not the case at all: customers will still take notice of email, provided that companies can adapt and learn to use it in new ways. For example, the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Email Tracking Study reported that consumers are still signing up to receive marketing related emails. 

According to the organisation, consumer approval of the content of marketing emails is actually on the increase, with 25 per cent saying that they still find more than half the emails they receive relevant and of interest to them. Put simply, it is not the medium itself that is lacking but simply that some companies are still employing it in fairly obsolete ways that no longer suit today’s consumer. 

So what are the kinds of changes companies need to be making to their email marketing activities? For one thing, it is not good enough to simply send out hundreds or thousands of generic emails to random consumers and hope that a high enough percentage respond. Nowadays people are wise to this, so if you want to achieve an acceptable level of success you need to take a targeted approach. Take the time to build up a detailed database of existing clients and break them down into sub-categories. This way you can send them emails that are relevant to their interests and needs. Anything else is a waste of both yours and the recipient’s time. 

You can personalise emails still further when it comes to emailing previous customers by employing a method known as behavioural targeting. People will be much more inclined to read their emails if they feel the seller has really taken on board their needs. You should, therefore, be looking at how they responded to previous emails, what their website browsing patterns are and what kinds of things they have tended to purchase in the past.

Remember also that mobile marketing has been a real game changer. Nowadays people are relying increasingly on smartphones to read their emails or catch up on the news. This is something that many companies are still failing to take on board when it comes to adapting their marketing emails. Layout is absolutely vital for mobile: responsive design is key as it should be easy for users to take action within seconds of opening the email. The wording should also be extremely concise so they can get the gist of what you are trying to sell them in the first couple of sentences. There is very little room on a mobile screen for long-winded, wordy messages. Consumers don’t like ‘clever’ marketing jargon these days. They want to be told things simply and quickly.

Finally, contrary to what some companies seem to think, you shouldn’t make it difficult for recipients to unsubscribe to your emails. If your marketing department is doing its job properly then your messages should be working with the people who genuinely want your products. If uninterested people unsubscribe then you will not be wasting your efforts on them when you could be concentrating on genuine customers.
It’s really worthwhile taking all these points on board, because if you get it right then email is still one of the lowest cost marketing methods available to you

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