It is counterintuitive to describe something just shy of turning 21 as ‘old’, but that is how many people describe email marketing. It is ineffective, old-fashioned and out of date, they say. At 21 email marketing is certainly the oldest digital marketing channel, the catalyst that prompted the Internet marketing revolution that changed the way we all do business. But it is by no means old hat. In fact, thanks to continuous modernisation and transformation over the years, email marketing is still the most cost-effective digital marketing channel, and stands at the heart of all serious marketing strategies. Here are the five reasons why email marketing still holds the ‘key to the door’ to marketing success.
1) Extensive Reach
While lots and lots of people have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, everyone has a work based email account that is checked several times a day. Market research predicts a staggering 4.9 billion email addresses by 2017. That is a huge potential reach. If you want to reach marketing directors, operations directors, CEOs etc. every last one of them will have a business email address. It might take a lot of delicate work to connect with someone on LinkedIn, but if you set up a few good landing pages linked to some decent content, you can easily get people coming to you with their email addresses. How’s that for smart working?
Email has a great delivery rate too. Compare this to other marketing methods. On Facebook, only about 2% of your followers will ever see your posts, because of the way Facebook continually updates a user’s feed. On Twitter this figure is even lower. Email, on the other hand, has a delivery rate of 90%. This doesn’t mean that the recipient will click on the email, of course, but they are 88% more likely to do so than they are with Facebook content they might not even see.
2) Good CTR
Contrary to popular misconception, email marketing has an excellent conversion rate. A DoubleClick benchmarking study carried out this year gave an average click through rate across all forms of digital advertising as 0.17%. Admittedly this is a wide field. Actual CTRs vary widely by country, industry, channel and by paid/unpaid links. Nevertheless it does set the background for some useful comparisons.
The average CTR for a Facebook post is around 0.5%, with highly successful posts having a 2% click through. So if you have 1,000 Facebook followers, between five and 20 of them are likely to respond to any given post. For organic tweets the range is 0.11% and 0.55%, according to a report in Adweek.com (although CTR is higher for small follower groups and paid adverts). Compared with this, Smart Insights estimates for SME email marketing campaigns in the UK gave a 22.87% open rate and a 3.26% average click through rate. An email list of 1,000 subscribers can therefore yield an average of 33 clicks for each message.
Email is eminently shareable. At the click of a button a recipient can forward an email onto a colleague or share it on social media. People are far more comfortable about doing this than they are with sharing Facebook posts. Links to landing pages in marketing emails can also be copied and pasted into social media content and shared on other channels.
An important factor is that people expect to receive marketing communication through their work emails. (This is not the case for marketing email sent to personal email addresses, which are frequently met with hostility.) Compared to social media approaches, people are more open-minded to promotional content. They are therefore happy to share email content, and to archive useful emails for future reference. The key is keeping your content relevant and valuable.
4) Great Value Content
When you share content on Facebook, LinkedIn and especially Twitter, you don’t have much room to get your message across. You have to keep your content really short and often rely on images to get people’s attention. There is more scope to go into detail on email, as people expect to take time reading them. You can therefore create blog style article content specific for emails, linked to landing pages, promotions or simply to free incentives.
If you time these emails correctly – i.e. at a time when people are most likely to have time to read them – you will get a good readership, especially if you send your messages regularly.
5) High ROI
There are many, many good reasons why businesses use email marketing, but at the end of the day the figures speak for themselves. Return on investment from email marketing has remained consistently high ever since it was pioneered in the 1990s. Let’s do a notebook calculation based on extremely conservative figures.
- You send a monthly email marketing campaign to 10,000 subscribers.
- Your monthly costs are £400 in CRM, licence fees, staff resources etc.
- You have a below-average open rate of 22%.
- Your click through rate is also below-average, at 3%.
- Only 2% of the people who click through actually convert to become paying customers.
- The average value of each conversion is £1,000.
Even in this scenario you should expect to 2200 opens, 66 clicks and one conversion. This gives you an ROI of 230%. Not bad at all if you did this consistently over a matter of months and years. And don’t forget that your open, click and conversion rates can all be tweaked and optimised by measuring the results of your email marketing and learning from them.
Email marketing is a very cost-effective form of generating leads online. For more information about how we can help you, please get in touch with one of our marketing specialists today. We offer a range of affordable monthly plans that include email marketing in conjunction with Social Media, SEO, digital advertising and other channels – all designed to get you the best results.