We live in an age where users are carrying smartphones, tablets and mobile devices around with them at all times, essentially maintaining a constant connection to the Internet (and therefore the world around them). In an age where technology has become decidedly more intimate than ever before, your marketing efforts have probably become fractured to a certain degree. Marketing is no longer about shouting your message from the highest mountaintop as loud as you could, trying desperately to attract the widest possible audience. It’s become quieter, more intimate and more targeted as a result.
“Intimate” and “targeted” are two words that describe the concept of email marketing to a “T,” but despite this some people still argue that this is a technique from the “good old days” that has lost all of its relevancy and power in the social media age. After all, what could an email marketing message do that you can’t possibly get from a well-crafted tweet in a fraction of the time?
The answer, as it turns out, is “quite a lot.”
Understanding just how effective email marketing can be requires you to take a closer look at some of the leading myths that still prevail about this format. By clearing up some of the misconceptions surrounding these types of campaigns, you can begin to get a better idea of just why they MUST be such an important part of your marketing efforts moving forward.
- Email Marketing Doesn’t Work
One of the oldest myths about email marketing is the idea that in today’s modern environment, it just doesn’t work anymore. This is one myth that needs to be cleared up as quickly as possible, because after all: if you can’t buy into the idea that email marketing is effective, you probably also can’t get behind the idea that it offers benefits that other avenues do not.
According to research conducted by Campaign Monitor, this is false: you are an incredible six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from other channels (other than click-baiting). Furthermore, eMarketer revealed that 81% of online shoppers who receive emails were more likely to make a purchase.
And most importantly, everyone who owns an email account, buys online or possesses a smartphone has an email address. More people are apt to have email accounts than they are social media accounts, and they still trust email messages (albeit somewhat age dependent), more than they do information received via social media.
- Small, Targeted Lists Won’t Get the Job Done
One curious myth about email marketing is the idea that they go against the modern day idea of marketing by their very nature. Modern day marketing is all about personalization – people don’t like to feel like they’re one small cog in a wheel, they want to feel special. They want to feel like you’re talking to them, not beyond them. However, to be effective, you need to have an email list with millions of people on it, right? Small, targeted lists just aren’t enough to get the job done, right?
Small, qualified, targeted lists for your email marketing campaigns bring with them the benefit of personalization, which is some of the single biggest factors that will motivate someone to open your email in the first place and buy from you. Targeted lists allow you to send messages at strategic times, helping to guide your prospective and repeat buyers through your sales funnel (and bring them back if they neglected to checkout, otherwise known as the abandoned cart technique). Emails can also reactive customers who have not engaged with you in a period of time. Offer them a coupon and get them to return to your shopping cart.
In fact, According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, companies that use email list segmentation not only saw 39% higher open rates, but their unsubscribe rates also dropped by an amazing 28%!
- You Have to Be a Fortune 500 Company or Major Brand
One myth about email marketing that just won’t seem to go away is the idea that in order to unlock its full potential, you need to have the type of bank account that only a Fortune 500 company or a major brand really has. In reality, even small businesses that use email as a major part of their marketing efforts not only get 50% more sales-ready leads, but at a 33% lower cost than other avenues. Additionally, Constant Contact estimates the time saved for small business owners who do their own email marketing is worth approximately $274 an hour!
- You Have to Be a Technical Genius
Think about the last email you sent to someone in your personal life. It probably only took you a couple of minutes to get your thoughts down, double-check for spelling errors and hit “send,” right? Email marketing isn’t much more complicated, even though certain people seem to think it is.
Once you’ve properly designed your message, the rest of your campaign will essentially take care of itself. Thanks to the power of email service providers like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaigner, Aweber and various marketing automation plaftorms, you can even send exactly the right message at exactly the right time based on user behaviors without any further input on your behalf, and without any technical expetise.
- Social Media is Better
While social media is undeniably popular, especially with a younger audience, it STILL doesn’t have the type of power that email marketing campaigns possesses. For example, according to McKinsey, , email in general is a whopping 40 times more effective at helping you earn new customers than social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
Some people may claim they can add new and prospective customers at a cheaper cost-per-acquisition (CPA) through social media channels, but generally these are buyers in lower dollar value for your lifetime value calculations, and you are being sucked into a trap that gets your business addicted to one method for customer acquisition—never a good strategy.
- The Return on Investment Just Isn’t There
When you start talking to someone who falls firmly in the “anti-email marketing” camp, you may be able to get them to concede that targeted messages like this are a great way to improve revenue. You may even be able to get them to acknowledge that it’s much easier than you think to create an effective campaign, even if you’re not a technical genius. However, they will still likely fall back on the same basic argument: “the results are there, but for the amount of time and effort required you’re still looking at an ROI that just isn’t high enough to warrant the trouble.
Once again, these people are wrong. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
According to research conducted by Campaign Monitor, email marketing is actually the top dog in terms of ROI. For every $1 the average marketer spends, they can expect to get about $38 in return for an overall ROI of approximately 3800%.
- Users Treat Email Marketing as SPAM
According to ExactTarget, a full 27% of customers said that they were more likely to continue to engage with a company if they invested more in email materials. Additionally, 44% of email recipients said that they made at least one purchase in the previous year based on a promotional email they received. These numbers don’t lie – people actively want you to be sending more emails than you probably are. Users don’t treat email marketing as SPAM – users treat SPAM as SPAM.
If you want to avoid this dilemma, ensure you send relevant and valuable content to your subscribers—know your audience—and cater to them!
- Nobody Uses Email Marketing Anymore
Another prevailing myth in the world of email marketing has to do with the idea that it’s some antiquated technique that may have been popular years ago, but has long since been looked over for bigger and better things. Once again, this is false: according to research conducted by Ascend2, email marketing technology is currently used by an incredible 82% of all B2B and B2C companies. More than that, revenue for email marketing automation systems increased a full 60% to $1.2 billion in 2014 compared to a 50% increase in 2013.
- Email is Too Impersonal
One of the more curious myths about email marketing is the idea that it is too impersonal by its very nature and, as a result, is not effective. Not only is email personalization easier than ever thanks to automation, but the results more than speak for themselves. According to Aberdeen, for example, personalized email messages in general not only improve click-through rates by roughly 14%, but also offer a 10% boost to conversions. Additionally, a full 74% of marketers all agree that targeted, personalized email marketing materials are a really efficient way to increase customer engagement across the board.
- Email Marketing is the ONLY Tool You Need
With stats like these, you may begin to think to yourself “WOW – email marketing is much more effective than I thought. If it can help me unlock a 3800% return on investment, why do I need to do anything else?” This segues directly into perhaps the most dangerous myth about email marketing: the idea that it’s the only tool you need to get the job done.
The key to success in this regard is understanding the simple fact that email marketing is just one part of your marketing strategy and it should be a significant part of your success. By placing the proper emphasis on email marketing in your marketing campaigns and knowing how to leverage its power to your advantage, you will elevate your entire campaign at the same time. After all, a properly designed email campaign will yield the type of results that will pay dividends for a lifetime.