You've Got Mail! It Still Works for Small Business Marketing

Remember when email marketing was headed for a certain, swift demise? Yeah, we’re still waiting too. And we’re not writing email marketing’s obituary just yet either. In spite …

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You've Got Mail! It Still Works for Small Business MarketingRemember when email marketing was headed for a certain, swift demise?

Yeah, we’re still waiting too. And we’re not writing email marketing’s obituary just yet either.

In spite of the growth of advertising via social media, email remains one of the best methods to reach consumers. It enjoys the highest return on investment (ROI) and is a highly measurable marketing tool for small businesses.

Email not only has a high ROI, but shoppers who come to a website via email appeals shop more and spend more according to a recent Forbes article, “Why Email is Still More Effective Than Social Media Marketing.”

Statistics recently published by the Vertical Response Marketing Blog confirms the success of email marketing in new customer acquisition, reporting it as the second leading channel for customer acquisition growth, just behind organic search.

Unlike most social media strategies, email marketing is easily measurable. Marketers can ascertain open rates, bounce rates, click through rates, unsubscribe rates, and conversion rates, which help them determine email marketing success.

The open rate lets marketers know what percentage of people who received an email actually opened it. To get a true picture, of course, advertisers have to subtract the number of “bounced” or non-delivered emails from their lists. High non-delverable rates, of course, suggest that marketer email lists need to be updated.

Open rate research by Marketo shows that average email open rates have increased from about 19 percent in 2012 to 22 percent in 2013. However, opening is one thing. Click-through rates (CTRs) are quite another.

CTRs indicate how many people take the specific actions that you want after they receive and open the email: visiting a web site, going to suggested content, etc. While common conversions include downloading information, completing forms, requesting quotes, and making purchases, they can include any action that marketers want email recipients to take.

Often, methods for tracking conversion include building unique landing pages, implementing call tracking, adding printable coupons, specific calls to action, and integrating those efforts with website analytics. The data collected can show marketers exactly how successful their email marketing campaigns are, as well as suggest areas for improvement.

Mobile email is becoming critical, too. The Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2012 showed that 88 percent of people check their email every day, and that mobile devices are more and more the device of choice for people to get email. More than 50 percent of mobile phone users report reading email via mobile. For marketers, this underscores the importance of subject headers, headlines, value statements, and crisp calls to action.

Email advertising has to make an impression quickly. If the appeal is lackluster, marketers will see it in reduced open rates, click rates, and conversion rates.

The best email marketers have a solid understanding of what their prospective customer want at each stage of the buying cycle. They also regularly clean up and augment email marketing lists.

According to savvy practitioners, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And the first impression an email makes is communicated in the subject line of the email (as well as where it’s coming from). Studies show that when the subject is of interest to an audience, marketers gain an additional few seconds to engage prospects with an offer and/or call to action. Keeping marketing emails brief and easy to digest enhances the likelihood that readers will respond.

Email is definitely not going anywhere right away. People use email daily, it still works, and according to global management consulting firm McKinnsey & Co, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Yes, “you’ve got mail.” And if the marketer sending it is any good at what it’s doing — there’s a good chance you’ll respond.

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