There is no doubt that social media has revolutionized the way we communicate online. However, the power of email marketing (one of the oldest forms of digital marketing) is undeniable. Even with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube dominating the market, email marketing is still as influential as ever, referred to by many as the “King of ecommerce.”
Multiple studies show that email marketing provides the highest ROI of all online marketing techniques, surpassing online ads and social media. On average, promotional emails return around $38 for every $1 spent; a statistic that’s hard to ignore.
Email marketing is a tried and tested marketing tactic, and as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Why email marketing works
Email marketing works for one simple reason: 91% of US customers use email daily. While social media trends come and go and more and more people are limiting the time they spend on popular platforms, almost everybody uses email to communicate on personal and professional levels.
Despite our many advances in online marketing, nothing has replaced email as a means of daily communication. It doesn’t look like this will change anytime soon, either. As a result, businesses will always have a way to connect with customers via email.
The psychology of email marketing, however, runs deeper than logic. While it makes sense to communicate with colleagues and clients over email rather than using social platforms, the checking of emails has become compulsive. This means there are more opportunities than ever to connect with consumers on a personal level.
Email marketing generates revenue, fast
The simple fact is, email marketing drives revenue faster than any other marketing activity. When it comes to making money through a product or service, all you need to do is send out a promotional email. Of course, a certain percentage of people will ignore the email, but a certain percentage will buy your product, resulting in a surge of revenue.
While you can generate sales on social platforms, the results aren’t nearly as significant. Due to the filters on sites like Facebook and Twitter, only a percentage of your audience will see your message, meaning your conversion rates will be lower than with email.
According to a study by Campaign Monitor, an email is six times more likely to get a click-through to your website than a tweet.
Email marketing is tailored to the customer
There are many obvious benefits to email marketing, but one of the reasons it works so well is that businesses can tailor emails to the individual customer. Targeting is achieved by segmenting subscribers into different groups according to demographics. Businesses can also automate emails to include subscribers’ first names, making the message personal, rather than universal.
Think about it: if a customer sees, “Tim, how are you today?” in the subject of an email message, they are more psychologically primed to click “open” than if the email contained a highly promotional message, even if they know that it’s from a brand rather than a personal contact.
Email marketing: what’s in a name?
As it stands, email marketing is the only technology that allows you to address mass consumers by name. You can’t do this with other types of social media. Whatever message you post on Facebook will go out to all users. Whatever you tweet will go to all of your Twitter followers, and whatever blog post you put up is visible to all your subscribers, and so on.
Email marketing provides a way to make business personal, and as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, that is the secret to long-lasting commerce.
Best practices of email segmentation
Segmenting your email list is the most effective way to send targeted emails to maximize revenue. Not only does this practice ensure your message stays relevant to the people you’re trying to reach, but it also engages them on a personal level. Your email segmentation process might look like this:
- Create buyer personas
- Segment your subscribers into groups, e.g., age, gender, etc.
- Collect information using data analytics
- Optimize your emails using keywords for maximum impact
- Use automation tools to track your conversion rates
The goal of email segmentation is to send the right message to the right subscriber at the right time. However, in the new era of GDPR, you also need to make sure you follow the rules.
Email marketing and GDPR
There are three main ways that GDPR affects email marketers. These are:
- Increased territorial scope: If your business is processing personal data of EU citizens, you must comply with GDPR regardless of whether your company is based in the US, UK or elsewhere.
- Penalties: Non-compliance will result in companies facing a penalty, This penalty will likely be 4 percent of their annual turnover or 20 million euros (whichever is greater).
- Consent: GDPR has set a new standard of consent, which all businesses must obtain before harvesting people’s data.
Of these changes, the new standard of consent will have the most significant impact on email marketing.
Here’s how GDPR defines consent:
“Consent of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.”
For email marketers, this means obtaining explicit consent from your subscribers before using their data. Permission must be “unbundled,” meaning it can’t be buried away in your terms and conditions, and it must easy for the individual to withdraw at any time. The way you phrase your opt-ins must also be clear and easy to understand.
All consent must be documented, including:
- What each individual has consented to
- What they were told
- When they gave consented
- How they gave consent
Email marketing is one of the most influential forms of digital marketing there is, and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. Implementing segmentation into your campaign will allow you to tailor your emails to specific groups of customers, which can deliver a high ROI. However, you must ensure your business follows best practices and remains GDPR complaint. Otherwise, your business risks financial penalties.
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