Good old email may seem old hat as new social media sites pop up nearly every day. But consider Gigaom’s June 2014 study of 300 U.S. digital marketers, which called email marketing “the digital workhorse.”
The study’s authors describe email marketing as “the most effective for building awareness, acquisition, retention, and conversion.”
Copyblogger identifies several essential elements of good email communication with your current and prospective customers.
- Get your email opened by choosing a spot-on subject line that speaks to your relationship with your audience.
- Get your messages read by writing in your own unique voice.
- Get your customers to refer you to others by offering high-quality content that speaks to your audience’s needs, wants, and views of the world.
Most importantly, the content of your email should interest your customers. According to Mashable contributor Todd Wasserman, one of the biggest email marketing mistakes you can make is blasting your audience with irrelevant or off-key content. Avoiding this may require segmenting your recipient list into various categories. Or it may simply mean being thoughtful in designing the type of email your audience will appreciate.
It turns out, the most effective approach to email marketing may not be the brief, assertive, to-the-point communication so often recommended for other types of marketing. For example, Hubspot blogger Ginny Soskey identifies Brain Pickings’ long-winded, information-packed “come back to us, and maybe donate” email as a shining example of effective email marketing. The site’s audience is well educated, erudite, and interested in words and ideas. In this case, distributing email content that reflects the audience’s interests, style, and self-perception is much more effective than sending a cursory, sales-style ask.
Email marketing does not have to feel or operate like other marketing. Your email does not have to make a sales pitch to be successful at retaining customers. The goal is to bring customers back to your website or business, whether or not they do so with the intention to buy anything.
Savvy email marketing can achieve great results, but only if you know what results you’re actually looking for. Wasserman warns against starting an email marketing campaign with only a vague idea of what you hope to gain. An important element of this is thinking through not only what you want but why your subscribers will find it beneficial to do what you want. Start by asking yourself a straightforward question: What do you hope to achieve?
Ready to get started with email marketing? Identify your goal, consider what is in it for your audience, and design a thoughtful email that reflects who your customers really are. Most importantly, don’t dismiss the power of email to bring your business success.