E-Mail Marketing Still "Cooler" Than Twitter?

TOPICSEmail Marketing

Twitter, Facebook, Google,  social media – these are the big buzzwords in online marketing.  What does that mean for the decade-old marketing channel otherwise known as email?  Bottom line – email is not going anywhere.  In fact, much research shows that email marketing budgets are still growing.

Here are some statistics to back this up:

– Top online retailers sent 12% more promotional emails in 2009 than they did the year before-and 39% more than they sent in 2007.  (Source: Retail Email Blog)

– Comparing monthly retail email volume year-over-year, increases ranged from 5.2% to 18.3%.  (Source: Retail Email Blog)

– There was not a single week all year when year-over-year retail email volume fell. (Source: Retail Email Blog)

– A survey from email marketing firm Silverpop shows that 41% are planning to boost spending and an additional 47% are looking at making no cuts. (Source: Silverpop Survey 11/09)

There are reasons why email is still a major part of the marketing mix – it works, it allows for one-to-one communication with your customers, and it plays nicely with other channels.  But as the number of possible consumer touchpoints continues to rise and the average number of emails each consumer receives increases, the challenge increasingly becomes how to stay relevant with your email messaging.

The secret to sending a relevant email?  There really is no secret, it’s all about direct marketing – the right message, to the right person, at the right time.  The path to achieving the perfect concert of all 3 requires an investment of time and effort.  You need to try out different offers, creative, segmentation bases, and triggers to determine what elements work the best for your subscriber base.  Email marketing is not a one-size fits all endeavor.  A rewards program might be great if people purchase your products repeatedly and frequently but not necessarily good if what you sell are big-ticket items.

You also need to invest in analyzing your customer data to know what, when, and to whom to message.  Ideally you would look at how subscribers engage with your email as well as what they look at and buy on your website.  Maybe the products you feature in your email look good but what if people overlook them and click elsewhere – revise your template to reflect that.  Perhaps you have a high clickthrough rate but people aren’t purchasing – update your webpage or create a unique landing page to better the shopping experience and convert more people.   Or your data shows that on average people make repeat purchases every 92 days – time your promotion to hit their inbox 90 days after their first purchase.

Email marketing is an iterative process, one that provides valuable lessons each time you send a campaign IF you put some thought into what you want to learn when crafting the message.  Each campaign represents an opportunity to retain your customers, generate repeat business, and to uncover opportunities to improve your results for your next campaign.