It might sometimes seem that social media is where everything's happening online these days, but email is bigger than ever. Email is huge. According to research conducted by the Radicati Group, more than 210 million emails are sent every day, including those that fall foul of the spam filter. A bit over half of them are sent from businesses to consumers or other businesses. What's more is that the numbers are growing all the time.
Some businesses have been put off email marketing in recent years, due in part to the amount of spam that riddles the medium. However, studies have consistently shown that email remains the preferred form of communication between businesses and their customers. Think about how many people you know, for example, who don't have an email address. Probably not many.
Email offers a personal and meaningful way to reach out to your target audience, and that's why email works better when your newsletters take a personalized approach. No one is saying it's easy to get email just right, but there's no doubt that it should be your number-one marketing priority. If you're still not completely convinced, consider the following benefits:
#1. Email Has the Largest Reach
According to Statista, Facebook had 1.86 billion active monthly users by the fourth quarter of 2016, making it by far the largest social network in the world. However, when you factor in the unknown number of fake accounts and the fact that many people are not nearly as engaged with company pages as business's might like to think they are, the numbers get a lot less impressive.
While no one is saying that social media marketing isn't important, email still enjoys by far the widest reach of all. Radicati Group found that around half of everyone on the planet is currently using email, and that the total number of users will exceed 4.9 billion by the end of 2017. Email is also accessible just about anywhere, making it one of the fastest and most reliable forms of communication there is.
Email allows you to reach the large minority of people who are not on social media and likely don't ever plan to be. In fact, given the increasing privacy and security concerns pertaining to social media, there's a good chance that the number of email-only users will grow in coming years. As such, email will always enjoy the largest reach of any digital medium.
#2. Email Delivers Your Message
At least 90% of all email messages sent end up in the intended recipient's inbox, according to research conducted by Forrester. By contrast, fewer and fewer people see posts on Facebook and other social networks, especially if you're not paying big bucks for advertising. In other words, email gets noticed and, if you have genuinely value-adding content to offer, it also gets read.
Most email users check their accounts daily, usually many times throughout the day thanks partly to the popularity of mobile devices allowing people to keep in touch on the move. Statistically, an email is around 50 times more likely to get seen than a post on social media. Social media marketing, by contrast, is becoming increasingly driven by vanity metrics that don't translate into real results.
With email marketing, your subscribers have (or certainly should have) given you explicit permission to contact them with promotional content. This means they've proactively made the effort to sign up. After all, strict laws and regulations demand that you avoid spam, and you'll want to do so anyway if you want to reap any of the benefits of email marketing.
#3. Email Offers the Best ROI
An oft-cited statistic that really gets businesses excited about email marketing is the fact that, on average, for every dollar spent, email yields 38 dollars in return. That translates into a staggering 3,800% return on investment, which also happens to be by far the highest ROI of any form of marketing either digital or traditional. Its ability to drive conversions is truly unmatched.
Aside from being a very cheap platform to use, email also allows you to deliver more relevant and personalized content that really speaks to the target customer. By investing a modest amount of money subscribing to an email marketing platform, you will also have the tools you need to continually improve your strategy. All such platforms provide detailed analytics to give you the insights you need to improve.
Email marketing platforms also make use of audience segmentation, delivering dynamic content based on the relevant attributes of the recipient, such as past purchases, wish lists and numerous other factors. This helps to ensure that the content you send is as relevant as possible, increasing click-through and conversion rates and, ultimately, your return on investment.
#4. Email Is Forever
Remember Myspace? Between 2005 and 2008, it was the world's most popular social network, and it looked unstoppable. In fact, it still has 1 billion user accounts, although almost all of them are now inactive, since most people have since moved to Facebook. As such, Myspace has become something of a relic; a striking example of how even the most popular platforms are far from invincible.
While Facebook and Twitter aren't likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, email has already stood the test of time like no other in the world of digital technology. It has been around for as long as the Internet, and its convenience and simplicity likely mean that it will be with us for many decades to come. As such, businesses should welcome the stability of the platform.
Email is also an open platform that doesn't really change. Many other platforms, such as the major social networks, are constantly changing to the extent that businesses must make major adjustments to their strategies on a regular basis. Email, by contrast, is just plain and simple old email - it doesn't change, because it's not owned by any specific organization.
#5. Email Strengthens Relationships
While people generally prefer to use instant messengers and social media to keep in touch with family and friends, email remains the preferred way to keep in touch with businesses. As the successor to so-called snail mail, email also offers a more professional channel, particularly in the case of business-to-business marketing and other communication.
Thanks to its consistency, longevity and exceptional reliability, email provides the easiest way for you to keep in touch with your subscribers and build meaningful relationships with them over time. As a personal and thoughtful way to keep in touch, email can also strengthen existing relationships and keep potential or existing customers aware of your business.
The customizability of email makes it possible to easily segment your audience into different lists so that you can send each recipient the content that matters most to them. By contrast, social media marketing typically involves addressing your audience as a whole. A great email newsletter starts with a subject line that's crafted with the goal of forming a relationship or strengthening an existing one.
#6. Email Generates Leads
Most marketing departments are extremely focused on driving conversions which, of course, they should be. After all, whether it's in the form of leads, sales, signups or other metrics, your marketing strategy is all about turning potential customers into paying customers. As such, you need to make every effort to make sure that no lead is unaccounted for.
Email is the perfect platform for lead generation, since it provides such a quick and efficient way to get in touch. For example, if a representative of your business has just attended a trade fair or other event, sending a follow-up email to your attendees can be a great way to get back in touch with them before they forget about you. As a result, you may just generate a promising lead.
Some businesses are afraid of low average click-through rates (CTRs) of email which, according to Smart Insights, is just over 4%, compared to an open-rate of just under 25%. However, these rates are around six to ten times higher than they are for social media posts and a lot higher than CTRs from organic search results. However, email is very measurable, so there's always plenty of space for improvement.
#7. Email Provides Valuable Data
Last, but certainly not least, email provides a wealth of data that gives you invaluable insights into the effectiveness of your strategy. Of course, email has this in common with most other areas of digital marketing, but it cannot be stressed enough just how important this data is. By making sense of the data analytics, you'll be able to test your marketing messages and refine your campaign towards perfection.
Any sustainable marketing strategy involves thorough testing of every element involved. Email marketing platforms provide a wealth of analytical information that you can use to identify both the strong and weak points of your campaign. Best of all, these precise tracking tools don't make mistakes, and the data doesn't lie. In other words, you will no longer need to rely on educated guesswork.
A/B testing is another method you can easily adapt to your email campaigns based on the analytical information collected. With A/B testing, you'll be able to create two or more variations of your campaign, including newsletter content, timing and frequency, to find out which option yields the best results. This way, you'll be able to find the winning strategy easily and watch your campaign continually improve.