In the world of digital marketing, marketers make a habit of separating myth from reality—of in other words distinguishing between realistic assessments grounded in research and data and specious claims made by (typically) vendors whose motives are, to say the least, questionable. It’s just part of the job. And they’ve come to know which sources are credible—and which aren’t.
So, when a source as reputable as Search Engine Journal (SEJ) a few years back proclaimed, “An Increased ROI of 4,300%? It’s True and Possible with Email Marketing,” marketers took notice. And when SEJ raised the stakes further, asserting that getting back $43 for every dollar you spend wasn’t an outlier, but rather average performance, they took even more notice—hard to believe, but there it was, in black and white:
“Being entrenched in the world of organic search and social media can make even the most well-rounded search strategist forget about the value of e-mail marketing. According to an August 2013 report released by the Direct Marketing Association, E-mail marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for business and brands across the United States.”
INTO THE WEEDS: THE DEMONSTRABLE BENEFITS OF EMAIL MARKETING
Of course, some marketers (call them doing their jobs) wanted to know more. In other words, what could a solid email marketing campaign—one with specific, realistic goals and effective execution, do for their marketing programs and their businesses?
Although every business is different (as is every marketing campaign), there’s reasonably wide consensus among marketers that an effectively leveraged email marketing program can be remarkably effective for the following 6 reasons:
- It’s highly targeted: especially when integrated with your CRM, email marketing can target key market segments based on both demographics and online behavior. When you add automation to the mix, email marketing can push out highly personalized and relevant messaging triggered by prospect actions, like downloading content or visiting product pages.
- It builds trust: most consumers actually like receiving promotional emails, and about 60% say those emails influence their purchasing decisions. Said differently, because consumers opt into email marketing, they trust it—and the companies that use it.
- It polishes your brand: digital marketing is the great leveler—it helps small businesses compete effectively with the big guys on the block—and email marketing is one of the most effective strategies to do that. When you send personalized emails to subscribers, you’re directly connecting your brand with the world in which the live every day, making your brand in other words a part of their world.
- It nurtures leads: businesses sometimes become so obsessed with lead generation they forget about lead nurturing. With sales teams often complaining that the leads they get from marketing aren’t “sales ready,” email marketing helps build customer relationships gradually over time, building trust and, in the process, new sales opportunities.
- It increases site traffic: including useful links in your emails is one of the best ways to direct more traffic to your website. Even more important, email marketing enables you to send that traffic precisely where you want it to go, whether that’s a customized landing page, a persuasive blog or a product page.
- It’s cost effective: marketers complain (usually correctly) that they simply don’t have enough money in their marketing budgets. With design and distribution costs minimal, email marketing is arguably the most cost effective of digital strategies.
WHAT’S NEW FOR EMAIL MARKETING IN 2020?
So, there’s a good reason 60% of marketers say email is their top source of ROI and almost half of B2B companies say email is the most critical component of their content marketing strategy—it works. But, like every other part of the digital marketing landscape, email marketing isn’t static. Every year, savvy marketing teams adjust their email marketing strategy based on what they learned the previous year.
1. KEEPING IT SIMPLE
Although opt-in helps to establish credibility and authority, consumers continue to be a bit wary of what shows up in their inbox (once spammed, twice shy, in other words). To bridge this credibility gap, an increasing number of email marketers (including at some of the nation’s retail juggernauts, like Calvin Klein) are opting for minimalist email design.
Emails that follow simple design principles (avoiding glaring colors and distracting graphics) not only convey authenticity and trust—they also keep your emails principal message clear and direct, keeping consumers’ focus where you want it to be. Equally important, minimalist design decreases load time, something you can’t ignore with more and more prospective customers accessing email on their mobile phones.
2. GETTING HYPER
Marketers know of course that when it comes to successful email campaigns, personal is better than generic. This year, however, personalization will shift to hyper-personalization, with more marketing teams pushing out emails that respond to everything from demographic nuance to location, online behavior and stage of the buyer’s journey. This increased email marketing nuance will also expand its utility, subsuming for example things like shopping cart and other forms of consumer abandonment.
3. GOING MOBILE
Think about this: more than 60% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, but only about 20% of email marketing campaigns are optimized for mobile. That’s a costly mistake, because consumers who can’t easily read your promotional emails, whatever their purpose, are more likely to delete them or, worse yet, get frustrated with your business. Given this unsustainable rift between consumer behavior and marketing response, it’s only natural that an increasing number of marketers will focus this year on mobile optimization, increasing click through rates, conversions and sales.
4. VIDEO KILLED THE TEXT-ALONE STAR
Spoiler alert—people like video. They watch more than 500 million hours of it on YouTube—every day. They upload more video content every month than the top U.S. TV markets have created in the past 30 years. So, it’s no surprise that video marketing works, with marketers who use it growing revenues 50% faster than those who don’t.
And it’s also not surprising that, given how well email and video marketing perform on their own, the two would eventually tie the knot, as they’re doing more and more this year. Look especially for an increased use of videos for product reviews, consumer tutorials and product launch announcements.
One of the great things about marketing is that no 2 days on the job are precisely the same. You’re continually finding this emerging technology or that new marketing channel to do your job better, increase marketing performance and get to the end zone faster.
Of course, in the digital marketing landscape, change can be exciting, but it can also make your head spin, not because you don’t know what you’re doing, but rather because you have so much to do—and so much to learn. Fortunately, there are experienced digital marketing agencies who can help you do some of the heavy lifting—and give you the advice and guidance you need to succeed.
To learn more about the ways our PPC, SEO, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, growth driven design and analytics services can make your business more visible—and more profitable— contact us today.