Email. To many, this little word conjures images of dial-up Internet and AOL’s catchy “You’ve got mail!” quip from the ‘90s.
Though this useful tool has been available for over a decade, don’t make the mistake of writing it off as an ancient and irrelevant marketing strategy just yet.
Email marketing may be old, but it is not dead. In fact, the results speak for themselves. If you want to run a successful online marketing campaign for your e-commerce website (or any business), check out these 3 reasons email might be your best bet.
Why email is still a good idea
1. Email Provides Targeted Reach
Email is one of the best tools for targeting specific customers (or groups of customers) in your marketing campaign. Unlike social media and print advertising strategies, email marketing can target consumers with greater accuracy and relevancy using analytics and metrics—resulting in higher conversion rates and a healthier bottom line.
Email metrics, which should be included in any quality email software, provide useful data on your email marketing campaign. Information, such as the open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate, can be measured and observed through email metrics data.
This information allows you to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign and tailor your strategy to reflect the most successful approaches.
After analyzing metrics on your subscriber, you can determine what content they engage with most and which topics or products they prefer. Once you have this information, you can then create customized emails for different groups.
For example, if you are an online clothing store, you can send a promotion for a new men’s line to your male subscribers and an announcement for your back-to-school sale to teen subscribers. (Obviously this is a generalized example, but you get the idea).
With such information and capabilities on hand, email marketing becomes a powerful tool for your e-commerce business.
2. Email Supports Content Marketing Campaigns
It is hard to ignore the repeated claims that content is king, these days. And in many ways this is true, but it cannot stand alone. Email marketing supports your content marketing campaigns by bringing in readers and visitors to your website.
Why is this important? Because, though content is one of the most effective means of getting active on social media and boosting search engine rankings, it is also a huge investment of time and money.
Content marketing may involve writing blogs and articles, producing videos and webinars, sharing presentations, and creating infographics and podcasts. You have to decide what content to focus on and then figure out how you will produce it. Whether you outsource the work or have your own in house content team, producing content is expensive and time-consuming.
That is where email marketing comes in. You don’t want you content to be consumed primarily by one-time visits, you want people to engage with your website again and again.
Repeat customers are where most companies make their profit, so it is vital for your bottom line to encourage people to return. Providing a place for them to subscribe to your emails is a great way to ensure those repeat visits.
With a collection of permission-based email addresses, you can keep in touch with your loyal customer market and enjoy increased conversions as a result.
3. Email Has an Excellent ROI
In spite of the popularity of other marketing platforms and strategies, email remains one of the most cost-effective means of marketing out there.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing campaigns have an average ROI of $40 per $1 spent. That is a 4,000 percent return on investment—not a bad deal. Compare that to the strategy with next highest ROI, search engine optimization, at $22.24 per dollar. Obviously, email marketing is worth your time.
What This Means for You
It is pretty clear that email marketing isn’t dead yet—and it shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. However, figuring out how to apply this knowledge isn’t always as clear-cut as one might hope. Below are several ways you can improve your email marketing campaigns and see awesome returns for your ecommerce business.
The future is mobile. According to Leaders West, 43 percent of all emails are accessed through mobile devices. And Forrester Research estimates that 78 percent of all U.S. email users will access their emails via mobile by 2017.
In spite of these overwhelming data confirming the prevalence and importance of mobile email, a shocking number of marketers (50 percent!) are not optimizing their emails for mobile viewing yet.
Considering the fact that 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans will close or delete an email that isn’t modified for mobile, there is a huge market profit to be made in going mobile today.
I probably don’t have to tell you that the world has gone social. These days it seems that everyone and their dog is on a social platform. From Facebook to Twitter, social media plays a powerful role in not only our social lives, but also our businesses.
A GetResponse analysis found that email newsletters that included social sharing buttons had an average click-through-rate (CTR) 115 percent higher than those that did not. There has been a 40 percent increase since last year in the number of emails that included social sharing buttons, and it is unlikely that that number will drop anytime soon.
Based on these statistics, it is clear that social sharing and email marketing are a match made in heaven.
As mentioned earlier, email has the powerful advantage of being able to target specific audiences and markets. Don’t waste that opportunity. Create a list of targeted opted-in recipients. By segmenting your email database, you can increase your CTR as you reach people who are interested in your content.
Keep it Personal
No one likes talking to a robot. Personalize your emails by using your recipient’s name in the subject line or greeting. Also be sure to send messages from an address they can respond to (depending on the nature of the email). Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent (source: Leaders West).
Polish Your Website
Sending the right emails to the right people is important, but it won’t do much good if your website is sub par. Don’t allow your marketing campaign to distract you from other priorities, like content management and web design.
Make sure your site design is attractive, clean, and easy to navigate. For e-commerce sites, it is especially important that check-out procedures and calls to action are simple, clear, and easy to follow. This will lead to better conversion rates on your site and a healthier bottom line for you.
In addition to design and navigation, make sure you use an ecommerce website hosting service you trust. You want a hosting service that is reliable and fast. If you encounter issues on your website, you don’t want to lose customers and money because your hosting service failed to respond quickly or effectively.
Finally, always update and improve your content regularly. Keep track of what content is most successful, and look for ways to replicate that success. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they need, and give them a reason to return. (This is where offering email subscriptions comes in).
By maintaining a quality website and launching an effective email marketing campaign, your business will see improved rates of return and a greater bottom line.
What online marketing strategies have worked well for you?