Email marketing is not the newest trick in the playbook. There may even be those who believe that email marketing is over and done with. Considering all the other digital marketing methods available, this is somewhat understandable.

But should we abandon email marketing altogether? What do the statistics say? In this post, we’re going to look at the facts. We’ll see how email marketing stacks up against other forms of marketing. We’ll see whether or not it’s worth giving this form of marketing a second chance.

Why Marketers Consider Email Marketing

There are a lot of benefits to email marketing, some of which are as follows:

  • Inexpensive
  • An easy way to reach a wider audience
  • A simple way to get a longer marketing message across
  • Better than social media marketing because you know that your message will get through to the intended recipient
  • Almost everyone has an email address, and most are more willing to hand it over, rather than their phone numbers
  • You can easily measure the success of the campaign.
  • Clickthrough rates of email marketing campaigns typically outperform social media links. 

The downside is that if you’re not careful about the words you use, your mail could end up in the spam folder or just be ignored.  

Is Email Marketing Dead?

It’s certainly not top of the pops anymore, but dead? Not by a long shot. Check out the chart below. It shows that email marketing ties for second place with digital advertising as one of the top marketing tactics used by small businesses in the United States.

graph showing share of marketing business tactics by use

Source: Statista

As you’ll see, in terms of marketing priorities, email marketing ranks above SEO, print ads, direct mailers, and content marketing. Statistically, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter at acquiring new clients. 

Email Marketing Must Change 

So as a marketing technique, email marketing still has a lot of juice. Why then are open rates so abysmal? The answer is, quite simply, that many businesses use a spray and pray approach when it comes to email marketing.

They create one generic email and send it to everyone on their list, without considering who those people are and whether or not they’re even interested. The idea is that the more emails you send out, the more hits you’re likely to get.

The reality, however, tells a different story. If only 30% of the people on your list feel that the email is relevant, then you’ve just wasted the time of the other 70%. Even if that 70% of subscribers open it, would they consider opening the next one? 

It also takes no cognizance of the fact that different people have different goals and needs in life. Let’s say that you’re selling SUVs. A soccer mom who wants a reliable vehicle to drive her kids around in has very different needs to a single guy looking for adventure. 

The soccer mom’s focus is going to be on safety, gas mileage, and space. The single guy looking for adventure will want to know things like range, off-road handling, and so on. Can you write a generic marketing email that will sell the SUV to both groups? Of course not. 

Could you write a targeted email for each of them separately? That would be easy enough to do and wouldn’t actually entail a lot more work. The advantage? With a more targeted message, you can speak directly to the pain points that each group has.

It’s one of the first concepts that you learn in marketing – the more targeted your campaigns, the better the chance of them being a success.

To really drive this home, let’s have a look at another example. Let’s say that you decide to go shooting. You set up a whole bunch of bottles. Then you pull out your shotgun, aim, and fire. You hit a few of the bottles, but none with enough force to break or knock over. That’s like the spray and pray approach to email marketing. 

Later on, you come back with a revolver. Here you’re only shooting one bullet at a time, so you have to aim a lot more carefully. You fire, and a bottle shatters. That’s like using a more targeted approach to marketing.

At the end of the day, the shotgun blasts would have hit more bottles, but the revolver would have had more success at shattering them. A targeted approach means starting off with a smaller group of targets but has better results in terms of sales.

So the first step is ensuring that your clients receive only relevant emails. What other rules should you follow to ensure that your email campaigns are successful? Let’s go through them.

Rules for Composing Winning Emails

Create a Killer Subject Line

This is one of the things that will help the receiver decide whether or not to open the email. Get creative here, but keep it short. You want something that both relates to your email and that will spark interest. 

Don’t Neglect the Preheader Text

This is that little bit that will show in the preview section on the email list. Build on the information in the subject line to further hook your reader. This is where you’ll give people the main point of your email. 

Watch the Sender Name

Which of the following sounds more professional?

  • personal.name@gmail.com
  • personal.name@ExampleCompany.com
  • info@ExampleCompany.com

If you were looking at an email and the first address came up, you’d think that it might be spam. It certainly doesn’t appear to be from a legitimate company, does it? 

The other two email addresses, on the other hand, contain the company name. You recognize the company name, and so you’re less likely to think that these are spam or dodgy emails.

Segmenting Your List

We’ve already spoken about sorting your list into different buying personas to target specific groups of buyers. There are many other ways to decide on this segmentation. SwayChic, an e-commerce store, decided to sort its base according to when its highest levels of engagement were.

It created three campaigns and sent emails to customers at three different times of the day. Just this small step netted the store a 40% increase in opening rates.

Personalization

We’re living in an age where personalization is not only the norm but what clients expect. If you’re sending emails with “Dear Madam/Sir” as the opening line, you might as well delete them now. People want to be treated as individuals.

Personalization goes a lot further than just using the right name, though. It also means matching the right offer to the right client and showing them that you have an idea of who they are.

Finally, we will quote stats that support our main point that emails are ubiquitous when it comes to marketing.

Automation and Triggering

Automating your workflow could result in 53% more conversions overall. Why? Let’s say that you send out an email, and the person clicks through to the offer. She doesn’t take it up. The system could make a note of that and automatically send a follow-up email, containing a little more information about the offer.

You could choose any event you like to set as the trigger event. Say that a client searches your website and signs up for the newsletter. This could trigger a welcome email and an offer based on what she was looking for.

With the incorporation of AI into many CRM programs, it’s now possible to ensure that the right person gets the right message every time.

That said, 41.29% of marketers in the United States agree incorporating AI into email marketing improves revenue. Check out the chart created by Statista for more on this topic below.

graph shows positive effects of AI in email marketing by percentage

Source: Statista 

Pay Attention to Your Call to Action

How clear is the call to action in your message? Do people understand exactly what they must do? If you’re putting in a button, is it clear to them that the button should be clicked? In this respect, we recommend doing some split-level testing to see which CTA button and color is most effective for your market.

For half the emails, for example, choose a red button. For the rest, choose a green button. The only difference between the two is the color. Now analyze which option resulted in more clicks.

You can keep tweaking emails and changing just one aspect at a time. That way, you can eventually work your way through to the best format, CTA, and so on.

Use Images

If you’re sending a longer email, break it up with images. These must be optimized for mobile users as most people will be reading emails on their phones. Do put a caption with each picture. 

Incorporating Videos

Videos are a great selling tool. It makes sense to include them in an email until you realize how much they’ll increase the size of the message. A better way is to include a thumbnail picture of the video. This is then linked to YouTube or Vimeo, for example. When the person hits the “Play” button, the video starts playing, and they’re none the wiser.

Timing

The final element that we’ll be covering today is the timing of the sent email. When is it a good time for your prospects to receive emails? When are they most likely to open and read them? Choose a time that’s convenient for your prospects.

You can also experiment by sending emails at different times and days. Which campaigns got the most hits? That should give you a better idea of the ideal time to send an email. 

Final Notes

Email marketing, when approached correctly, is one of the marketer’s best tools. According to Statista, email open rates between 2016 and 2018 increased by 1.8%. That’s not bad for a so-called “dead” marketing technique, is it?

Email marketing is one of the longest standing digital marketing techniques because it’s simple, inexpensive, and can be highly effective. Isn’t it time that you used the power of your email list to bring in the new business you deserve? 

Hristina Nikolovska

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As the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tina’s daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses. As her first step towards this journey was in the field of content marketing, she’s still using every opportunity she gets to put her thoughts into educational articles.

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Content marketing guru at MailMunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.