E-Mail Still The Best Marketing Channel
While social media has gained popularity for marketing over the years, the impact of email marketing cannot be discounted. In fact, email marketing is still one of the most effective, simple and direct ways to reach your customers.
It is therefore extremely important to consistently grow and maintain your subscriber database. A mistake that most marketers make is depending on generic and blast emailing that results in subscribers losing interest and becoming disengaged after a period. It is crucial to develop a sign-up and engagement strategy, to ensure long time subscriber commitment. Not all retailers – especially in the UK – use email to effectively to acquire and engage customers. The Internet Retailing Brand Engagement Performance Dimension estimates that 95% count email among their key engagement channels, as compared to 98% for social media and 96% for the phone. This indicates that they are missing out on an important avenue with a huge potential. Industry data is now indicating that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Email also has the highest conversion rate at 66% compared to social media, according to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA – formerly Direct Marketing Association). The Return on Investment (ROI) from email far surpasses other channels. Email can be a great integrated channel and can be used to deliver one to one messaging.
Some tips for this are:
- Include sign-up above the home-page and even on all pages of the site. This provides an easy way to sign-up even if they have directly accessed a particular page.
- Pop-ups, dropdowns and ribbons are another way to engage subscribers and grow data base lists.
- These should all be in conjunction with social media pages, which should also have email sign up options and if you have physical locations, they should have in-house options to sign up.
- Providing incentives for signing up can be beneficial but these should be creative so that customers do not wait for them before signing up. For example, a gift with the next purchase or partnering with an important cause.
Post sign up engagement
- Intelligent personalisation, even if minor, can have a huge impact to retain subscribers. So, look for areas where you can personalize, for example by analysing email and purchase behaviour. You can still use group emails and automate the system to make things easier.
- Use different cross-channel date points to inform messages.
- An important thing is to ensure that you frame an overall sign up and engagement strategy and not look at each aspect separately. This can happen by showing the customer that the brand cares for them by sending the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. You can use segmentation, personalization, automation and frequency for this purpose.
- Use behavioural triggered emails, with smart real time recommendations, abandoned basket/ browse triggers and repeat purchase campaigns to strengthen relationship with the customer.
Customers want tailored, personalised, cross-channel two-way conversations and email can do this as, if not more, effectively as social media because email and the database is yours and you own it and the messaging you wish to communicate.
A final word of caution is to pay attention to the GDPR legislation but by getting permission to send messages you can be certain of an engaged audience.