When it comes to building a relationship with your audience, email marketing comes out ahead of social media marketing.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were all knocked offline for several hours earlier this week. Facebook is also facing new scrutiny of it’s practices and algorithm, brought on by a whistle-blower from within it’s ranks. Its been one heck of a week for the social media giant.
One key takeaway from it all is that your business definitely shouldn’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in the social media basket. Therefore, I think it is a good time to take a look at an old friend in the digital marketing world: email marketing.
There’s more than one way to be social
One of the core reasons that businesses use social media marketing is that it is viewed as a great way to build a connection with your followers. Post images, videos and captions that your audience enjoys and you can win their business and loyalty.
Email has the same, or even greater, potential for building relationships. In fact, with a well segmented email list, you can send out highly targeted messages that will feel more personal to the recipients than a social media posts ever could.
A phrase you will often hear when email marketing is being discussed is that you need to send the right email, at the right time, to the right person. Not only is this a good litmus test to review before you hit send (or schedule your email); but it is also a great reminder of exactly how personal and effective email marketing can be.
The numbers don’t lie
The stats related to email marketing are truly astounding. Of course, stats are always subject to tampering and tweaking. But even if these stats are off by quite a bit, they still spell out a great case for getting on the email marketing bandwagon.
There are over 4 billion daily email users.
Email generates $42 for every $1 spent.
The global email marketing market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020
99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day.
74% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to receive communications from brands, followed by 72% of Gen X, 64% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Z.
Pretty impressive, and convincing, numbers, eh? Email marketing can be a highly effective use of your marketing time and money, especially for a small business. If you haven’t been using email marketing yet, or you aren’t not optimizing the emails you do send; do not wait any longer to put this powerful tool to use.
If you’re gonna do it, do it right
There are 4 hurdles to email marketing that you must clear in order to be successful. First, you need to get your email opened. Then you need to get it read. The third hurdle is to getting the reader to click through. And lastly, you want to be able to repeat that all over again. Master these steps and you can see real results from your email campaigns.
1. Get it opened
Sending emails is one thing, getting someone to actually view them is another. Even people who agree to receive email marketing from you won’t necessarily take a look at your emails. Your email’s subject line is the first and best chance to get someone to open your email. The term “subject line” is a pretty uninspired when you think about it. You could be tempted to just drop a boring description of the subject of your email. However, having an uninspired subject line will practically guarantee your email will be ignored.
Your email’s subject line needs to do more than just tell your audience what the email is about. It does the heavy lifting of catching your customer’s eye. It’s the hook. Simply stating that the email is about a new product won’t get your audience hooked. Teasing the new product by hyping up some of it’s features or asking whether your audience is ready for something new is far more likely to get that email opened.
2. Get it read
Your clever subject line gets your email opened. That’s great. But now that hook that you used in the subject line needs to have a pay off for the reader. Not only does is need to pay off, it needs to do so quickly. If your email is a long, eye-straining slog for your reader, even the best open rates ever won’t be able to save it.
Your audience’s attention span is short. Some people will merely scan over the contents of your email, looking for the highlights and the bottom line. Set up your email to work with those tendencies. Keep it as short as you can. Break up any big chunks of text into readable blocks. Pictures and gifs are also clever way to break up sections of text. Say what you need to say and move on.
How you say what you say in your email marketing matters too, of course. This is where the relationship building really begins. Keep the content personal and relevant. Be authentic with your audience. A cold, emotionless sales pitch won’t get a response from your readers. Your voice should be as casual and conversational as it can be, based on your content and your audience. Be sure to call upon your readers motivations and emotions. Establishing this emotional connection will keep the eyes moving down the page towards your call to action.
3. Get that click
If you’re going to work this hard to get your email opened and then read, you really ought to have a final destination for your audience. This is your call to action (CTA). After working to establish a personal connection with your audience, you’re going to want to do something a little more enticing than slapping a BUY IT NOW button at the conclusion of your email. Your audience deserves more than that.
Yes, a lot of the time your CTA will be taking your reader to a sales page, but there are other options that can be added to your emails. Giveaways, polls, landing pages, links to your blog, or even links to relevant content from other sources can all be used to get click through engagement on your emails. Giving your audience something valuable other than just your latest product to buy is a key to keeping them around for your next email. Keeping an eye on whether your audience clicks through on any included links or buttons is a key measurement of the engagement that your email is getting.
Getting a customer to read and react to your email is great. However, keeping them around and active on your email marketing list is more important. Not every email you send is going to hit the mark and trigger a sale. In fact, a lot of them won’t. But if you can keep your email audience from leaving your email unread or unsubscribing, you always have another opportunity to connect with them.
If the only email you ever send to your audience is a sales pitch, why would they stick around and open your emails when they aren’t looking to buy from you? Add some variety to the content of your emails. Share stories from your business. Celebrate milestones you have reached. Introduce yourself or your team. These are all great ways to share a part of you with your readers.
As important as sharing part of yourself can be, your audience would also love to get personalized content. The obvious option here is to send them personal greetings on their birthdays, or on anniversaries of their purchases. A less individualized option would be to share testimonials from other customers, making them feel like they are part of a bigger community of fans. As stated earlier, giveaways, contests and rewards programs can also be valuable keep your audience’s attention. Once you establish that your emails are worth reading, they will gladly stick around and do just that.
But wait, there’s more
There’s more to learn about email marketing, of course. Segmenting your audience by demographics, purchase history, geography, and other factors can make sure that you send the right email to the right person. Automated emails for things like welcoming new customers or following up on abandoned carts can be helpful at maintaining engagement with customers. Each email platform contains multiple options for creating personalized and automated emails. Avoiding being sent to the spam folder or not delivered at all is always a concern. The best way to work through these other factors is to get good at your email marketing basics first.
The more you learn about email marketing, the more you will see that it is probably the most versatile digital marketing asset. When it comes to connecting with your audience and building relationships, email is very hard to beat. Shifting your marketing attention towards email marketing, and out from the shadows of social media marketing, can bring predictable and repeatable results to your digital marketing strategy.