I’ll continue the series on how the creative and integrated marketing agency services at Fusionfarm can help small businesses. I'd like to continue with examples of how being an active participant in the digital space can help your business be more successful with a review of the strengths, weaknesses and key benefits of email marketing.
My colleague, Joe Matar, has written extensively on the benefits of email marketing. While he has focused on specific benefits of email marketing, I’ll review the general strengths and weaknesses and leave you with the two benefits.
Strengths of email marketing
Direct Response Marketing - One of email marketing’s principal strengths is that it is a form of direct response marketing. Direct response marketing is any form of marketing intended to drive an immediate response from the consumer where the response action can be measured and tracked. I’m not going to go all John Wanamaker on you but direct response advertising dollars are the best spent dollars because you can track what works and what doesn’t. Simply put, email marketing is as effective of a direct marketing tool as there is on the web today.
- Key takeaway – Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of direct response digital advertising on the web today.
Personalized marketing messages
Email marketing allows you to use the information you already have on your customers or potential customers. You can take information and craft a personally tailored message to every member of your email list. Experience tells us that customers or potential customers will have a positive reaction to a message that is tailored directly to them.
In a digital world the more tailored the message the more it resonates with the customer. An important note I’ll make here is to make sure you don’t cross the line from insightful to creepy. For example, if a larger corporation, say Target, emails an expecting mother with a message saying “Congratulations on your first child” and the expecting mother hasn't told Target that she’s expecting, let alone that it’s her first child, that is creepy.
- Key takeaway – Email marketing gives marketers the ability to tackle one of the most challenging points in marketing today: delivering relevant content.
Split testing - Another advantage of email marketing is split testing. Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is an experiment where you test different advertising to similar groups to determine which execution works the best. By using split testing you’ll gain even more insights from you’re already targeted message. This allows you to take the standard digital marketing metrics of click through rate and conversion rate combined with email specific metrics such as open rate, response rate and revenue per email to improve your marketing efforts.
- Key takeaway – Split testing allows you to test the effectiveness of different marketing messages and is one of the best ways for continuous improvement.
Perceived weaknesses of email marketing
The weaknesses of email marketing are primarily associated with poor practices by marketers. Below are two perceived weaknesses of email marketing that will be mitigated by following Joe’s tips for engaging your audience using email marketing.
Open rates – People just don’t read emails like they used to. You can deliver a tailored message with a relevant offer at the right time of day but there is no way to make sure every email you send gets opened by the end user. That is true. Also true is that people are highly likely to open an email with relevant valuable content. Like other forms of digital advertising, there’s no way to ensure a certain number of impressions before you send out your email.
- Key takeaway – Use relevant and timely content to increase the open rate to reach as many customers or potential customers as possible.
Email marketing sustainability – Email marketing is not a sustainable marketing effort. In general, email marketing is an extremely versatile form of online advertising. Whether email marketing is a sustainable form of digital advertising depends entirely on implementation. You can use email marketing to prospect new business, generate large spikes in revenue and develop relationships with customers or prospective customers. Used individually, no one email marketing strategy will sustain success. However, by implementing an integrated approach consisting of all three strategies you’ll be creating a source of revenue growth for years to come.
- Key takeaway – Use a combination of email marketing strategies to achieve sustained success and drive revenue growth from new and existing customers.
Benefits of email marketing
- Email marketing allows you to build relationships with that will enable you to grow your revenue from existing customers. By using emails from your existing subscriber base you’ll be able to nurture your relationship with your current customer base. You’ll be able to present appropriate messages to them throughout their entire relationship with your company. The truth is that your customers will expect to be treated differently as your relationship continues to grow. Email marketing allows you to meet their expectations by providing valuable content.
- Email marketing allows you to expand your existing customer base by creating relationships with prospective customers. By using email list generating tactics you can easily gather an email list of prospective customers and current customers alike. Email marketing allows you to create a relationship where one might not currently exist and enables you to generate new sources of revenue.