Part 1: Email Marketing – The Opportunity

It’s now very common to hear that email marketing is dead or at the very least is dying. Many, especially social marketers, claim that email marketing is out dated and unnecessary.

But I want to argue that email marketing is far from dead or out-dated. In fact, it is a communications tool that is as relevant today as ever. Not only this, but the evidence is that it is growing in popularity.

The first and obvious question is: Who doesn’t have an email address? According to OfCom in 2012, 94% of the UK population have email addresses and this percentage is rising. When we include work email addresses many of us have two, three or more.

Mobile mailing

One of the major reasons for the resurgence of email is the increase in the use of mobile devices like smart phones. Checking emails is the third most popular activity (after surfing the net and photos) with 68% checking emails on their phone and over half doing this regularly. Suddenly, many people can check emails, send replies or supply detailed information on their phones wherever they are at the click of a button. And of course, there is the option to send this information to multiple recipients. No other communication medium can do this as effectively.

People appreciate emails

People continue to receive and want to receive information by email. It has many advantages over other communications tools. For example:

  • You can control when you want to reply to the communication
  • An email can provide you with enough information, supporting documents or guide you to a web page to enable you to make an informed decision.
  • Emails can be stored and remain as a recurring source of information.

So why has email marketing got a bad name?

There are various reasons for this. The main reason was the irresponsible use of the tool by marketers. They realised that the ability to send an email to more than one person could be scaled up so that hundreds or thousands of people could receive the same message. Such messages were almost certainly going to be irrelevant to most people receiving it. Unsurprisingly, they became irritated and started to define this scattergun approach as spam. Not only that, but even where someone signs up for a email list, if the messages continue to not to be relevant to them they will quickly decide these messages are spam also.

Doing email marketing right

It probably goes without saying that effective email marketing is not going to be effective if aims to send the same message to lots of different people. For your email to be effective it will need to include these three factors:

  • The emails need to be targeted. You need to carefully consider what customers you are targeting and why. This means having an understanding of your customers and their needs.
  • The message needs to be relevant to them. If it is not, what possible reason is there for them to open the email, much less act on it?
  • The message needs to be personal. It needs to be a conversation. No-one wants to be shouted at or electronic equivalent being stuck with someone who insists on telling you about what they are doing without any concern about what you are interested in or whether what they are telling you is over any interest to you at all. A good conversationalist, is as interested in you and your interests as in telling you about themselves. An effective email process respects the recipient and looks to develop a dialogue.

 

And finally, it is certainly true that the email list that you create yourself is going to be by far the best one. This is for the obvious reason that you are putting it together with your business in mind and with an understanding of the receivers concerns and needs.