23 May What is Email Marketing? (Part 1)
We get this question a lot – not only by new ecommerce marketers and business owners, but by seasoned digital marketing veterans! To start, at the most basic level, email marketing is one marketing / communications channel businesses use to reach consumers directly via email. Hence the name “email marketing” 🙂 Now – let’s dive a little deeper and learn more about email marketing and why it is SO important!
Mainly because email is one of the primary communication methods used online! Think about it, aside from perhaps grandparents – who do you know that does NOT have an email address? It has become one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to market products. Direct email marketing helps to reach audiences interested in your business’ area of expertise. No matter the product or service, email marketing enables you to reach thousands of potential customers directly at a relatively low cost compared to other forms of advertising. Understanding this global connection opens a door into a whole host of strategies and opportunities related to email marketing.
Importance of Email Marketing:
Email provides the capability to contact your database (email list) on a regular basis, which helps your business develop real connections with your customers. In addition to building those customer connections, your marketing emails give you insight into customer behavior, and continually keep your brand, products and services fresh in their minds. Constant (regular) communication is a first step when instituting a proper email strategy. You are creating a baseline conversation where the customer has opted to give you their email, and you are sending them regular messages/updated about your business. In return your business receives sales and insight into your customers.
When we talk about Customer Insights via email marketing – a key component to this are the enhanced tracking and reporting functions included with most Email Service Providers. The reports available provide valuable metrics, which can include but are not limited to:
- Open rates
- Click through rates
- Subscriber preservation
- Engagement with content & social media
- Bounce Rates
The reporting illustrates to you how each email has interacted on an individual basis or when comparing to other sent emails. Furthermore, the insights will help show how the email impacted the performance on a website’s sales or leads generated. Lastly, when reviewing the email reports individually or against each other you will start to see patterns and understand some customer’s manners and interests which you can apply to new emails and/or other forms of marketing!
One of the biggest advantages to email marketing is how cost effective it can be! Emails have no print and postage expenses, no Pay per click costs and no minimum buy in amounts. When you look at costs associated with Email marketing there is really only one cost these days – List size! Emails can be sent for free when just starting out, or as little as 1 penny per contact as your list grows. The cost is typically paid to Email Service providers who not only host your email list(s), but offer email templates (no designer needed!), tracking and reporting, and other tools that help keep your emails compliant and off Spam Watch lists! From a cost perspective you can see why email marketing makes so much (dollars) and sense!
ROI (Return On Investment)
So yes, email marketing is cheap – but what about the ROI (Return On Investment)? When you are starting out every penny matters! Well, to be honest – with a clean qualified email list and a strong email marketing strategy, it will typically FAR out perform other marketing channels. And when you add on the opportunity for deep level insights and reporting, you are able measure in real time the impact email marketing has on your company’s business!
Emails Are Lead Generators
The email addresses you have gathered are individual leads. These leads gave you their information because they are interested in your brand, products and/or services. With their contact information you have opportunity to cultivate relationships and deliver informative content about your business to them. With the right strategy, over time these leads help increase traffic to a business’s websites through sharing of content on social media, word of mouth, and forwarding emails to a friends! Not only does it increase your audience and email list – it will over time have a significant impact increasing your revenue!
Drive Conversions Via Emails
Conversions, Conversions, CONVERSIONS! Driving conversions (buying customers) should be your number one priority as an ecommerce business. Luckily for online businesses this is where email thoroughly trounces other marketing channels. When comparing a marketing campaign over multiple channels – for instance email vs. social media vs. Pay Per Click Ads not only will you be able to track user interaction in more detail for emails (from email open to purchase) – you will also see how much higher conversions numbers are for marketing emails vs. paid ads and social media.
Email Marketing Integration
These days email marketing is so important to online business’ survival that it can be integrated with almost every online system! Businesses are able to integrate email marketing data with systems ranging from: Web Platforms to CRM applications (Customer Relationship Management) to website analytics, social media and much more. This wide ranging integration enables your business to understand customers trends and behaviors across multiple applications and the effect of emails within other marketing channels!
Automating Email Marketing
Email automation is simply sending a predesigned email to a customer when that customer completes an action. Automation can be applied for many different reasons within email marketing. But the primary use is to save time and in essence “automate” parts of a business’s marketing. An example of this is: There is a newsletter sign up form on a website. Without automation it would take a business forever to email each new signup with a welcome email. Furthermore it would require someone to constantly be on the watch for new sign ups. By using automated emails not only does it save the business time but it also frees up people resources for more important work, and ensures the new sign up instantly receives their welcome email. Part of your email strategy should always include identifying which types of emails can be automated vs. those that cannot.
If this seems like a lot to digest – it really is. Email Marketing has evolved considerably over the years and there are a number of tools and strategies that when implemented together, and correctly, can have an absolutely massive positive impact on your business! To help you get a better handle on the concepts we will be breaking down many of the concepts discussed above, as well as other strategies and concepts in future posts. Keep an eye out for our follow up article What is Email Marketing Part 2 – which will cover the rest of the top level concepts around email marketing.