These days, email marketing seems to be everywhere. For instance, if you’ve bought something online lately then chances are they gave you a chance to sign up for emails. This is one of the older forms of email marketing, since it seeks to turn first-time customers into regulars. Yet even before Amazon and other online retail behemoths were cool, email marketing was already emerging as an important way to reach customers.
Of course, many of us are tempted to think of email marketing as less important than it once was. After all, innovations like spam filters and category sorting makes these emails a little less obvious. In addition, we have other options such as social media marketing that have emerged since then. However, this isn’t to say that email marketing has stopped being important. Quite the contrary. Let’s look at the reasons behind the continued importance of email marketing.
What is email marketing?
If we are to understand the importance of email marketing, it’s critical that we define this term. In a nutshell, email marketing is the use of legitimate emails for marketing purposes. These purposes can include everything from announcing a hot sale to keeping people updated on company news. At the heart of this approach is the email list. This is a list of email users who are interested in your company and its products or services, along with their email address.
Armed with a suite of email marketing tools, marketers will carry out email marketing campaigns. These often include sending out promotions throughout the year, in whatever form those are supposed to take. Such promotions are intended to stimulate buying through incentives. In addition, the email marketing strategy might include discussions about how a company is taking care of its employees. For instance, I know about several retailers that informed its customers that store associates were being paid during the initial COVID-19 shutdowns. These help to drum up business by demonstrating social responsibility.
Why is Email Marketing Important Today?
With that in mind, what factors demonstrate the importance of email marketing? Well, for starters, it works well. Marketers still use email marketing because email marketing statistics show that it’s highly effective. These campaigns can be highly customized using the right tools, and as a result they tend to remain relevant for customers over time. Better, many of the expenses related to email marketing are reasonable and minimally dependent on vendors. All of this means that email marketing is convenient to marketers, but there are other reasons why this method remains important.
1. Almost everyone uses email
Do you know an adult who doesn’t use email? Chances are that if you do they live out in the country or are a senior citizen. Sure, there are pockets in the developed world where people choose not to use email or cant for some reason, but these are few and far between. For most of us, email is ubiquitous, as demonstrated by these statistics from Lyfe Marketing:
- Radicati Group reports that over half of the global population was using email as of 2019.
- In the United States, 92% of adults have email, and 61% of them use it daily.
- Among Generation Z, 85% say that their preferred method of communication is email.
Here’s the takeaway: if you want to reach the younger generations, the importance of email marketing can’t be underestimated. Rather than becoming an outdated method of communication, email is indispensable in today’s society.
2. It has a high ROI and is more effective for customer acquisition than social media or direct mail
Here’s the thing: email marketing is cheap. While we do have to pay for content creation, and email marketing tools often cost money, these are the main expenses. With social media marketing, we have to shell out for the number of impressions or clicks. Email marketing, on the other hand, is much more consistent in terms of fees. Better yet, we don’t have to compete for keyword space. Consumer emails are their own space. The numbers bear this out:
- Optinmonster tells us that the conversion rate on email marketing is triple that of social media advertising.
- Studies from the Direct Marketing Association tell us that email marketing generates $40 in sales or other ROI per dollar spent. This is much better than direct mail marketing, where printing and postage add up fast.
In other words, when considering the importance of email marketing, the ROI is not to be ignored. Email has the advantage of being cheap to distribute. And because it’s sent to the place a customer is most likely to check often, they’re more likely to see it. Best of all, email promotions can be followed up on during a work break or when commuting by mass transit.
3. It allows you to keep in touch with your audience more easily.
In the marketing world, it’s well known that you need 10-20 marketing messages to make someone into a customer. Part of the importance of email marketing is that these emails provide the best chance to make marketing touches. When you use email marketing automation, it’s easier still.
Think about it this way: Most people ignore a brand the first few times they encounter it. When your goal is brand awareness, then it’s fine to not convert a customer. Just getting your name out there helps, and over time they might investigate what you have to offer. On the other hand, those Black Friday sales are time sensitive.
Luckily, emails are easy to send. Just write them, add a few awesome graphics, and paste them into your email marketing client. Before you know it, those emails will be in the inboxes of your customers. Especially in the age of smartphones, this means your marketing message will reach your customers wherever they are.
4. You can reach people in real-time or at the right time.
One of the great things about email marketing tools and other email clients is the option to schedule emails. Since most medium to large brands have customers in multiple time zones, it’s often impossible to send emails at just the right time for everyone. After all, London England is five hours ahead of New York during the summer, and seven ahead of Los Angeles. That’s almost an entire workday. You can just imagine how bad it would be for a New York company to try and reach people in India. On the other hand, with an email client you can set and forget your marketing emails, often days ahead.
Here’s another way of looking at it: at any given time, there’s no guarantee that people will search your brand or check you out on social media. On the other hand, a Litmus survey showed that half of emails are opened within 2 hours of being sent. After this, email starts getting stale. For this reason, part of the importance of email marketing is its timely nature.
5. Allows for targeted, personalized and customizable messaging
Try and think about the last time you got a letter in the mail. Did you open it? Chances are that unless it had your name on it (rather than “resident” or something similar) you ignored it. Same thing goes with random catalogues for places you’d never shop at for whatever reason. Instead, customized and tailored mail is more effective in getting consumer interest.
The same goes with email, where emails that have a recipient’s name in the subject get opened 26% more often. We know that importance of email marketing is that you can customize literally at the push of a button. In addition, email often provides the customer with something they can relate to. For instance, if your reader is worried about what to wear to the next party, then a fashion-related brand can send outfit ideas.
Such suggestions provide readers of emails with something of value. In fact, according to the DMA these targeted emails generate 58% of their member’s revenue every year. Other marketing organizations have found evidence of great results. As one example, Campaign Monitor found that marketers using segmented campaigns have increased revenue by a whopping 760%. This is an astounding statistic, and it underlines the importance of email marketing to even the most modern brands.
6. People still engage with and take action because of emails
How much attention do you pay to your personal inbox? If you’re like most people, quite a bit. And it isn’t just the invitations to special events, either. It’s the transactional emails that also grab people’s attention, whether as an order confirmation or shipping-related notification. In fact, according to Experian, these transaction-related emails enjoy a combined open and click-through rate that’s 8x that of other emails. Even better, those emails generate 6x the revenue that you’d normally see.
There are several reasons for this consumer behavior. For one thing, transaction-based emails are generated when the customer has purchased something already, so customers want to ensure that they placed an accurate order. Later, the focus is on when an item they need will arrive, or on the digital download instructions. Finally, many brands include a future-order coupon in order confirmation emails. This lets a customer get even better value for money when making a repeat purchase.
From this, we can see that the importance of email marketing lies in more than just sale/promotion announcements and newsletters. Rather, customers like to see that they are valued. By sending transactional emails in addition to promotions, you get a valuable chance to say “thanks for your business.” Of course, the email also serves as a receipt, which most clients also love.
7. Email Campaigns are Measurable
Finally, the fact we can measure the success of email campaigns helps demonstrate the importance of email marketing. We marketers are all about those hard numbers, and many email clients will give us the email marketing metrics that we need. Best of all, in many cases this information reporting is automatic and available on demand. This information comes in several forms.
One of the biggest markers of promotional email success is the conversion rate. Typically, we express this number as how many sales we get after sending a certain number of emails. Depending on the size of your email list, you can make this reporting number a hundred, a thousand, or even ten thousand. You can get those numbers as both the total sales against total emails or express it as a percentage.
Using the same reporting quantity as your conversion rate, how many people unsubscribe to your emails? When consumers unsubscribe, they typically do so for a variety of reasons. Some of them, such as moving out of your service area, probably don’t reflect badly on your campaigns. However, if you get an especially large number of unsubscribes then there’s a chance you are failing at brand storytelling. This can be a result of missing the mark on relevance, sending too much email, poor targeting, and more.
Next, there’s the click-through rate. This is the frequency at which customers click through one of the links in an email. Links, of course, can direct customers to several kinds of pages, including coupons, promotions, and order tracking. While order tracking pages represent a completed sale, it’s the coupon or promotions interest that better shows the importance of email marketing. Typically, the customer wouldn’t see the promotion without the email.
With the response rate metric, you’re looking at what percentage of emails gets some kind of response. This can be anything from opening the email, all the way to making a purchase or answering a survey. In the middle there is the click through. Using this number, you can get an overall picture of how effective your latest email campaign has been.
Email marketing lists growth rate
Finally, email clients can give you a growth rate for your lists. In other words, over the course of a reporting period, how many emails are being added to the list? It’s usually given as both absolute numbers and a percentage. A healthy growth rate indicates that your customers like getting emails from you.
From all these factors, it’s easy to see the importance of email marketing these days. Customers look to emails to find out what their favorite brands are doing. In addition, transactional emails provide a convenient method of receipt delivery. Since almost everyone uses email these days, it’s an invaluable tool for your internet presence.
Photo by Maxim Ilyahov on Unsplash