Email Marketing: is it Obsolete?

Posted by Kayla Reaves

February 22, 2016 | 12:43 PM

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Girl_on_cell_phone.jpg“For ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.” – Campaign Monitor 

There is an ongoing debate whether email has become an obsolete marketing platform. Yet, studies show that email has not only stayed strong, but has also become the major medium for personal and work life communication. 

So how can one capitalize on this market? Thankfully it's not too difficult, just keep in mind these four things: Personalization, Relevancy, Optimization, and Analysis. 

Personalization 

Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. – Campaign Monitor 

The readers of your emails like to feel valued. Personalizing emails can include anything from personal subject lines (Hello Sam! rather than Hello Friend!) to content catered to their particular interests (based on analysis of previous purchases or indicated interests). Personalization should simply convey the feeling that you care about your customer as an individual and not as part of a mass email campaign. 

Next, the reader wants to feel engaged; use common language to make them feel at home and avoid using too many words like eligible, receive, and contact that give the emails and overly formal feel. 

To further engagement, ask questions! An engaging, thought provoking, or amusing subject line is likely to increase your open rate and pique a reader’s interest. Include a call to action of some sort (such as click here for the offer or click to read more) within the email body to make it easy for your reader to understand your message and intent and act upon it. 

Optimization 

80.8% of users report reading email on mobile devices. -Hubspot 

 When formatting the body of your email, save long narrative emails for special occasions. Make good use of the space keep your text short and to the point. 

Keep in mind that emails are often read on small screens and large fonts and buttons should be used for optimal legibility. Format your emails to be as interactive as possible and use linked images to draw the eye and motivate reader action. 

While you’re at it, add links for social sharing towards the top and bottom of the email to make it easy for readers to spread the word to their friends and beyond. 

For most companies, it is a good idea to formulate an optimal template for emails so that communication can be uniform across channels. 

Relevancy 

Experts estimate that a target of 6.21 emails a week is ideal for most campaigns Zetta Sphere 

Nothing puts customers off more than unsolicited or irrelevant emailing. This can lead to your emails being flagged as spam, and no company wants that. However, too few emails make for a wasted opportunity and too many lead readers to unsubscribe. Monitor how well your customers respond to your communications and keep the number of emails consistent. 

Be sure to only email people who have given consent to your communications; and make it simple for them to subscribe- there is no need to irk a customer further by making it time intensive to unsubscribe.  

Know your audience! Be sure to give purpose to your emails, avoid sending untargeted, blanket communication that do not benefit your customers. Though an email just to say hi might be beneficial upon signup, sending hellos every week to keep in touch with your base is a bit excessive. 

Analysis 

In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. - Hubspot 

After you outfit your email system with all the bells and whistles, it's crucial to analyze your results. A few important analytics to look into are delivery rate, Click through Rate and conversion rate 

Delivery rate examines the rate at which emails are actually delivered. Having a high delivery rate is crucial to a sustainable email marketing campaign. Without it, email lists will be ineffective and you will be wasting emails on a ghost customer. Be sure to drop hard bounces (invalid or closes email addresses) and track soft bounces (temporary problems associated with an account). Similarly, emails lists decay around 25% per year so it is crucial to continue to build up these lists. 

Click through Rate and conversion rate are similar but have distinctive differences. CTR entails a customer simply clicking on the links within an email and Conversion rate entails a customer completing a desired action after clicking through. They both measure the effectiveness of an email and whether its content intrigued a consumer.  

Keep in mind that there is no set way to do email marketing and its effectiveness varied by customer. Experiment, shake things up, and make small changes. Marketers need to test and change to stay ahead of the crowd. 

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 Image via Sebastiaan ter Burg on flickr under a Creative Commons License 

Topics: Interactive Marketing, Content Marketing

About Kayla Reaves

Kayla currently works as a marketing intern for Briteskies, LLC. She is majoring in Management:Marketing and Accounting at Case Western Reserve University and will graduate in the class of 2018. In her free time, Kayla stays busy by working on the homecoming committee as Co director, orientation executive board as a staff member, and webmasters for her all female a capella group @CWRUSolstice.

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