Don’t be fooled by those saying email is no longer relevant; among digital marketing channels, email still boasts the largest global reach. In fact, Statista forecasts an estimated 4.147 billion email users around the world in 2021. This means there are more than three times the number of email accounts than there are Twitter and Facebook accounts combined.
Email isn’t going away any time soon, and email marketing is as powerful a tool as ever for businesses wanting to build and maintain relationships with their customers.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing describes marketing and advertising that is delivered to potential or existing customers via email. There are plenty of ways to connect with audiences online, but email marketing offers perhaps the most direct approach.
The benefits and advantages of email marketing
Unlike with online display advertising, which requires advertisers to use a third-party service like Facebook Ads to help handle distribution, email is known as an ‘owned’ digital marketing channel. This means that the advertiser has complete control over the content and its distribution, which allows businesses to connect with its desired audience in a more direct, personalised way.
Of course, there are plenty of email marketing tools that can help streamline the process, but the advertiser is always in control of what their ad includes and who it goes to. This is important, because third-party, centralised advertising platforms can sometimes disrupt your distribution goals.
For example, in recent years Facebook’s algorithm has been favouring content from friends on News Feeds over content from brands, while Google’s featured snippets, like answer boxes, have made it harder to achieve strong click-through rates. Simply put, getting your content seen on social media and search results pages comes at an increasing cost.
Direct email marketing is not restricted by the approach or algorithm of a distribution platform, and it can often be achieved at little to no cost at all. Plus, while display ads are everywhere and easy to ignore, email marketing has the advantage of going directly to your targeted audience.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for audience retention and establishing ongoing relationships with your customers. Native and display advertising is a great way to capture the attention of prospective customers, but email marketing is the best way to retain existing customers and encourage further engagement from them. Retaining customers is just as, if not more important than gaining new ones, and email marketing provides an easy space for continuous communication.
However it’s not just retention that email marketing is good for. Direct email marketing is also a key solution for increasing acquisitions too.
Email marketing allows a good amount of versatility – it can include text, videos, imagery, audio, and more. The best email marketing tools will offer a number of tried-and-tested templates designed for success.
Designing an email marketing strategy
It’s important when devising your email marketing strategy to ensure your audience doesn’t feel that their privacy is being violated or that they’re being accosted in any way, which is why you need to ask for permission to continue contacting your audience over time. Your email marketing audience will need to ‘subscribe’ to your emails, and there are a few ways you can encourage them to do so.
If you’re a brand-new brand, you can set up a landing page to build some awareness before you launch, and on this page, you can encourage users to subscribe so they can stay up to date with the launch. Use this page to build hype around your product or service, and then offer an enticing incentive for those who bite – like exclusive launch-day discounts for early subscribers.
If you’ve already got a strong customer base and you use e-commerce to sell your product, you likely already have the email addresses of previous customers and account holders. You can encourage new customers to sign up for accounts upon making their purchase, too.
Chances are, you’ve seen those tick-boxes asking if you’d like to sign up for a brand’s email service. A lot of the time, these boxes are ticked as a default, and it’s up to the customer to actively opt out of the service. You can also include opt-in forms on your website. These can be extremely simple, and can be placed anywhere you see fit on your site.
Ensure you’re offering engaging, interesting content in your emails. You won’t encourage many to opt-in by simply offering a weekly newsletter. Creating exclusive, varied content, deals and offers, and even contests for your email marketing subscribers will be far more effective. Make sure your emails stand out with an eye-catching, branded design and layout. Make sure to include enticing subject lines, and where possible, aim to create a personalised experience by addressing your customer by name and offering bespoke content based on their customer journey.
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