Email marketing was cool in the 90s, back in the days when every second email subject line didn't offer a free online diploma, cheap remote control cars, or lifestyle enhancing pharmaceuticals. Even back then - when simply increasing hits on your website was all the rage - you'd send out a well written email newsletter and experience the joy of seeing your website traffic logs spike for the next 24 hours.
Like Cher, can email marketing stay cool for decades? Is it possible that email marketing can become even cooler over ten years?
Any email marketing system worth its salt these days will not only give you a good way to create beautiful, personalised emails and send them to great big recipient lists, it'll give you some fancy measurements too.
You can easily track the most useful stuff like:
- how many people sign up and sign off your email lists, and how often;
- how many people your email was sent to, how many opened it just once, and how many people opened it more than once;
- how many people clicked on links in your email, which were the most popular links;
- how much website traffic was generated by your email, and where the traffic went;
- which of your email campaigns were the most popular;
- and plenty more too...
The latest version of cm3 Acora CMS does this kind of stuff automatically. Another version on its way later this year will do even more.
More advanced reporting options include A/B splitting (testing effectiveness of emails by delivering minor changes in an email campaign to different segments of your audience and measuring the results), direct tracking of campaign codes back to transactions on your website, and management of bounced emails from your mailing list.
It's Well Understood
Email marketing has been around for a while now. It's not prone to the hassles involved with emerging technology or evolving communications strategies any more. There are plenty of good guidelines and good advisers around to help you along if you're not sure about the process.
Your web development agency can give you the top tips for creating an email that doesn't look like spam, sending it through a system that ensures maximum delivery effectiveness, making sure it works in everyone's email package, and tracking the results of your hard work.
Well, I should say the basics are easy. I'm not so sure that running a really, really good email campaign is that easy - it certainly takes some learning and preparation! If you want your email campaign to be really successful, you'll have to offer great supporting content on the website you're running beyond the email campaign.
But with the previous point in mind (email marketing is well understood), the ability to run a good email campaign is available to just about anyone these days. The software to collect email addresses and send emails is readily available and usually pleasantly priced. Most packages will give you a good set of email templates, or an easy way to create an email yourself using a visual design tool. And writing an email that appeals to the audience should be straightforward enough for anyone with a bit of marketing experience.
There are different ways of setting up your email campaign delivery mechanisms. Some people outsource the whole job to a qualified web development agency or an email marketing specialist. Easy, eh? Some people integrate systems like cm3 Acora CMS directly into their own websites and bring the ability to deliver email campaigns in house. Also easy! Or there are easy-to-deploy hosted email systems like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor that sit outside your website, offering advanced tools for a (usually very reasonable) rental and/or "per email" cost.
It's Really Affordable with a Great ROI
Sure, it's not free. Running a good email campaign is going to cost you something. But the results are so obviously worth the cost that the value is impossible to deny.
In today's world where active Internet advertising can cost upwards of $25 per click, email marketing typically costs a few cents per email and can result in percentage click-through rates of anywhere between a few percent and 40% on highly targeted lists!
Furthermore, if you're tracking your website traffic using any half decent statistical reporting package, it should be quite easy to directly trace the results of your email campaign back to specific business metrics such as customer enquiries or sales revenue.
It Supports Your Brand
The adoption of HTML based email is so wide these days that you can expect to deliver rich, beautifully designed email messages that accurately communicate your brand image. That doesn't happen as easily in a lot of the other places that you're connecting to your customers over the Internet today (like search engines and social networking sites). Your email communication is supported by your logo, written in the language and tone that you speak, and includes just the content you choose. And your customers like receiving it (assuming they'll just unsubscribe if they don't).
And of course, whenever design is a factor, you have the opportunity to make your message really stand out from the others. Email communication still enthuses designers to do a great job, and keeps smiles on the faces of brand managers.
More than just, "Hi Jane", most email marketing packages will let you personalise your emails to suit the varying needs of your different audiences. Send a "thank you" message to everyone who bought something from you last month. Offer an events calendar or news list that shows info from each recipient's state or local area. Invite known customers back to your website with automatic login links or information about the services they employ you for.
The way people treat email helps with the personalisation of messages too. Email is often written and read as something like a mix between a letter and a conversation. It's easy to adopt an open, communicative style of language that people are likely to feel comfortable about and find easy to respond to.
What's Your Favourite Thing?
My favourite thing about email marketing is the measurable result. Seeing the stats and the business the effort generates is great, but I particularly enjoy it when we (regularly) receive personal messages back from our email subscribers after sending an email campaign. It's a thrill! What do you like about email marketing?
I cordially invite you to sign up for the DDSN email newsletter. I think it's pretty cool.
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