Is Email Your Most Under-Utilised Marketing Channel?

Published on November 28, 2019 by Chris Green

It almost goes without question as to how influential email has been as a medium of communication. Yet, for some reason email marketing is overlooked as a key channel to drive more value into a business.

There are some common misconceptions like “people don’t open marketing emails”, or “everyone’s on social these days”. This may be true for some, but this ignore some inescapable facts about email:

  • There are 3x more email accounts than there are Facebook & Twitter accounts combined (source) – if you are a business whose audience have a good exposure to social media you’re lucky.
  • 90% of all email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox (source), anything from 20%-40% gets opened. Compare this to a 2% of Facebook post getting seen in a news feed, email has better penetration.

Even those who do value email as a marketing channel, are often missing some really straightforward opportunities to maximise on the benefits it can provide.

Are You Aware of the Benefits of Email Marketing?

A list of organised, opted-in email subscribers can be one of the biggest assets for a business. You have permission from them to post content into their inbox – there aren’t many other marketing channels which have this benefit!

An email list has the potential of outlasting websites and social media platforms and is less volatile than Google with an impending threat of algorithm updates. It is an asset that you need to build and nurture, but if you treat it well, you will prosper with it.

If marketing is speaking to the right people at the right time, email is like resuming a conversation in an inexpensive and convenient way; complementing and aiding your marketing activity.

A well segmented list gives you the opportunity to serve personalised content – information, offers, propositions which are relevant to them at that moment. Highly relevant, targeted messages are more successful and lead to a better experience – everyone wins here.

Are you Maximising On Your Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a skilled discipline and there are plenty of guides and other resources online which you can read if you have the time and inclination. In our experience, however, there are still a number of areas where email campaigns often fail, and they are very often the same problems time and again.

If you are worried you’re not using email to the fullest, ensure that you are doing all the following:

  1. Think mobile – In 2019 this statement feels almost over-used, but email ends up being the channel which suffers here. It’s easy to see why, you build & test an email on your desktop – mobile gets forgotten. Nothing is worse than someone opening an email on their phone only to find they have to pinch & zoom, then scroll to read it all. Ensure that your email looks good on mobile, the images need to resize appropriately, the text needs to be visible & the Calls to Action have to be clickable.
  2. Segment your lists – A huge missed opportunity for many businesses is that they keep all their email data on one list which isn’t sorted or segmented. This means that each broadcast has the same message for all users, so will likely delight very few.
  3. Campaign tracking, on everything – If you don’t accurately track your emails, how do you know if it even works? Google Analytics, by default won’t separate emails from other marketing channels meaning that anyone reaching your website from a campaign will be almost invisible to you.
  4. Make all roads lead back to your website – Opening an email is good, clicking back to the site is great. When you see your users landing on your pages from email campaigns you know a) what they’ve looked at b) what they’re likely interested in, AND c) you can build a re-targeting audience around them specifically.
  5. Collect (opted-in) email addresses – Email marketing cannot start without building a list of customers, prospects, partners and peers. It goes without saying, but if you’re not actively collecting this information (i.e. via a sign-up form), your lists are going to grow slowly. Since GDPR, if these people are based in the European union, they have to consciously opted-in to communications – when they do, this means they’re actively interested in hearing what you have to say.
  6. Send regular communications – Set an expectation with your audiences, and try and stick to it. Collecting email addresses and never uses them risks people forgetting who you are. Maintain regular contact with your list members (but don’t batter them with too many!), once or twice a month may be more than enough if you have something to tell them.
  7. Give people a reason to want to hear from you – Provide something of genuine value, make your list members a reason to want to open your email. This isn’t always easy, but if they’re your audience or potential customers you are able to add value – whether it’s a product they need, or a problem they’re trying to solve, ensure their need is central to the information, messaging.

Email marketing is a huge area which differs for each business as their own requirements are unique. If you can do at least half of these elements you are succeeding where many don’t; if you can do all of them your business will feel the benefit.

Getting in the Right Mindset

Within digital marketing it is often very easy to think in terms of marketing silos, rather than starting from the problem and working backwards.

For example, “can SEO help me?” or “social media will be big for our business”, whilst neither of these are wrong, they’re looking at it wrongly.

We find it best to visualise an eco-system around your website, to understand the market – in relation to you – and then establish which channels best to speak with customers at any-given time.

Email, like per per click (PPC) or organic search (SEO) marketing are tools – they all help you meet the goals of your business/website. Whilst there are experts in each area – we should all learn from them – thinking of each channel as operating in a bubble is going to really limit their potential.

For example:

  • Email marketing, paired with social media advertising can ensure the message resonates long after they open the original email.
  • Organic search can generate interest in content which can fuel an email list
  • Display advertising can warm an audience up, so when the email reaches their inbox they are already receptive to the message.

You have a story to tell, although your audience isn’t going to consume the whole thing in one go – you have to be speaking to the customer where they are, not where you want them to be.

Achieve More with Email

Speak to one of the team today if you want to discuss how email can work with your existing marketing to help you achieve more.