By Jessica Alex
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, it's time to consider adding an email marketing strategy to your overall content marketing strategy. Although it’s been written in the past that email is dead, statistics show that in 2019, email is very much alive.
Before we dive into email marketing, let’s briefly look at content marketing.
What is content marketing? It is using various forms of content (photography, videography, blog posts, e-newsletters, infographics etc.) to a) appeal to your target audience and b) generate sales. You can use various tools to deliver your content, such as social media or your website. However, email is one of the ways to provide content to your target audience as well. Along with offering special deals and promotions, email newsletters can be used to provide useful information to your subscribers. By doing this, you can build trust, which then leads to sales (people want to buy from companies they trust).
Related article: What in the World is Content Marketing, Anyway?
Now that we’ve reviewed content marketing, what exactly is email marketing? It is creating engaging emails that are scheduled out to your email list. (Note: I say, “engaging” because the more engaging your newsletters, the more likely you will have engaged subscribers.) What's an email list? It's the email addresses that you have gathered from your clients, prospects and anyone else who desires to sign-up for your email newsletter (i.e. your subscribers).
Did you know? According to a MarketingSherpa case study 72% of adults (U.S.) “prefer communication with companies to happen through email.”
MailChimp and Constant Contact are just two examples of the email marketing service providers out there (my company uses MailChimp — here's a look at our July edition). Using a software or platform allows you to keep track of analytics such as open rates (how many people on your email list opened your newsletter) and views (for instance, if you also share your newsletter online). You can share your newsletter on various social media platforms or even sync your newsletter (i.e. on Facebook) to gather more interest. You can also segment your lists, and for instance, offer special deals to loyal customers. There are so many possibilities.
But what if people are already bombarded with tons of email? What if they don't want to be bothered with your email? Well, the fact that they signed up for your newsletter shows that they are interested in what you have to offer. Now whether they stay and continue to engage with your newsletter or press the unsubscribe button, is really up to you and what you put forth.
Did you know? According to Marketo “77 percent of consumers reported that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.”
If you're still not convinced that email marketing is the way to go, here are three reasons why you should be adding it to your strategy:
1. You have more control. Here’s the thing, social media marketing is great. I have been able to make a lot of connections thanks to social media — but what if one day, the social media platform you depend on crashes or goes down forever (R.I.P Vine and MySpace)? What happens to all of your contacts then? If you have your own email list you can kept in touch even when a social media platform goes obsolete.
Tip: Keep a back-up of your email list.
But there’s another caveat to consider: social media platforms are ever-changing their algorithms. Chances are you have noticed that your engagement rates have changed on various platforms at some point. That’s in part because social media platforms change the rules from time-to-time on how content gets seen. If you have your own email list then you can increase or maintain your engagement on a consistent basis (no mystery algorithms here) and email marketing engagement rates are generally higher than on social media. For instance on Instagram 2-7% engagement is considered great engagement (and the highest amongst all social media platforms), but a 20.81% open rate on your emails is considered average.
Did you know? Email marketing has 174 percent more conversions than social media.
“If social media is the cocktail party, then email marketing is the ‘meet up for coffee.’ The original 1 to 1 channel.” — Erik Harbison
2. It’s one of the more cost-effective ways to market your business. There are free plans available to start off with your email marketing. Usually there are restrictions such as the amount of subscribers you have and what tools are available to you. But if you are starting out, the free options may have enough of what you need to begin. However, paid plans are affordable, too. You may want to add in eye-catching photographs or videos, and of course, great copy. These are all affordable additions to your newsletter — and content that you can recycle on other platforms such as your blog, or on social media.
Not only is email marketing cost-effective, email also has an average ROI of $44 for each $1 spent. If you ask me, that's a pretty good bang for your buck.
“Email Is The New Email" — Jordie van Rijn
3. You really have an opportunity to connect with your target audience. Email marketing is a great way to build trust and credibility for your brand. For example, you can have the CEO (you) write an anecdote or message directly to your audience, giving your email list a chance to get to know you and your business a bit better. Speaking of your brand, with email marketing you can create brand awareness and customer loyalty. For instance, you can provide special offers to your customers when they are signed up for your email newsletter.
Tip: To help with creating brand awareness make sure you are remaining consistent and use branded content.
“Email has an ability many channels don't: creating valuable, personal touches at scale.”
— David Newman
Now that you are convinced to add email marketing to your strategy 😉, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do not buy email lists, which leads to the next point;
Do follow CASL or whatever anti-spam law is in your region. I see this time and time again; I am added to email lists that I did not consent to, either because I exchanged business cards with them at an event (not consent) or because I sent them an email (also not consent). As you probably have guessed I do not engage with those email newsletters. Please do get people to properly opt-in to your email newsletters, so that you a) don't run the risk of getting fined and b) don't annoy people.
Personalize your emails. When folks sign-up they usually use their first and last name, so your email can easily say, "Hi Sam," or in the "To" field it can say, "John" or "John Smith." You can also, for instance, wish them a happy birthday or send them a special discount on their birthdays, if that information was provided.
Keep your emails consistent, i.e. if they are weekly emails stick to your weekly schedule.
Create an email subject that is creative but also lets your email list know what they are in for. Use emojis where applicable (according to a study by Experian, 56% of brands who use an emoji in their subject line had a higher engagement rate).
Make sure you are giving your email list what they signed up for. If they are expecting discounts, behind-the-scenes or whatever you promised them when they signed up, deliver!
If you would like to discuss an email marketing strategy for your business email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!