Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit...there is certainly no shortage of online channels to help you keep in close contact with your customers. But sometimes, having that many platforms can make it tough to keep track of things. To keep your customers coming back, you don't necessarily need to be an expert in all the latest social channels, you just have to find out where your customers congregate online, choose the biggest ones and keep current.
But at the end of the day, all that any of us want is simplicity and results.
With the explosion of social media marketing in recent years, traditional email marketing may seem outdated. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, email marketing is more powerful than ever before. According to McKinsey & Company, email is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media.
A Little History
When Gary Thuerk sent the first marketing email in 1978, he viewed the new tool as a faster, more streamlined way to reach customers with product information when a deadline was looming. And that's exactly what email marketing quickly blossomed into. As time went on and the whole world eventually joined the bandwagon, the way we did business had to change.
Legislation and policies, like the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the Sender Policy Framework meant that businesses who had been relying on passively sending out emails to "cultivate" customers had to up their game. Passively sending out solicitation after solicitation began to sour businesses relationships with their customers. A better plan was needed to nurture those contacts than just sending out email after email.
Why It Still Works
Your customers could be dispersed over any number of social media platforms. But in 2019, approximately 90.9% of the U.S. population uses email, so it is a much safer bet than utilizing a few social media platforms. And in an email, you have complete creative control. No word limits, no platform formatting requirements, nothing else is on the screen. Emails are endlessly adaptable, and your imagination is really your only limit.
Email Marketing Tips
Here are a few things you need to know to execute email marketing to its fullest potential.
- Be Reliable and Consistent - The two biggest reasons people unsubscribe from an e-newsletter are that they're getting too many emails, or they don't remember signing up in the first place. Set up an automated welcome email so that as soon as someone subscribes to get emails from you, they receive a message.
Use this welcome message just like you use a WiFi landing page. Orient them to your business, tell them the community of clientele they're joining, offer them a deal, talk up an upcoming big event. Then, once you've welcomed them, stick to a consistent schedule, once a week, once a month...it almost doesn't matter as long as you stick to it. Most people open their emails first thing in the morning, or just before they go home, so time your emails so they'll be at the top of their inbox.
- Content Is King - If you email your customers ten separate tidbits a week, the reasons for your customers to open the emails are similarly tiny. Craft your message in advance and think about what you want to do for them. Is this email about making their lives more convenient? Is this email about giving them a break from the rat race?
Find your objective and design your email to that end. Also, make sure that your email establishes and maintains a relationship. Today, photos and videos are where it’s at. Videos can triple your click throughs. Likewise, personalized emails have a higher chance of success. Just remember that a bad video or improper personalization equal bad content.
- Simple Designs Work - White space can increase comprehension by as much as 20%. It also gives the air of thoughtfulness, elegance, or intention. About 80% of readers are only going to scan your email, so keep your writing short, simple and clear, with compelling subheadings that summarize your main point. Also, more than half of your customers are opening your email on their smartphones, another reason to keep things simple, short, and elegant.
There is no shortage of online platforms for you to choose from when developing a marketing strategy. Just keep in mind that you don't have to go wild to be effective. Email marketing has been with us for half a century, and for universality, adaptability, and thoughtful communication, it continues to be the best choice for marketers around the globe.