So does email marketing still work?

According to Mashable.com in November 2012, 144.8 billion emails were being sent every day. Fast forward to 2015 and this figure reaches 205 billion and is expected to reach over 246 billion by 2019 according to research published by The Radicati Group in March last year.

So does email marketing still work despite all the noise? The answer to that is yes, absolutely. Why? Because it’s personal, it’s mobile, it’s educational and it’s measurable.

So does email marketing still work?

Getting personal

Your email campaigns can only be sent to people who have expressed an interest in your company or in receiving your communications in the last 12 months. This means your subscribers WANT to hear from you and you know who they are.

Any campaign manager worth it’s salt will enable you to segment your list so you can talk directly about what’s of interest to them. A free initial consultation might be great for your prospects, but not for existing customers, so know your audience and get your message right from the start. Include relevant content and references to build an instant rapport and create a connection between their needs and your solutions. Which reminds us of this fantastic quote from Nelson Mandela:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

On the move

Litmus tracked email opens between January and December 2014 and reported 28% of emails were opened on iPhone, with 16% on Gmail, 12% on iPad – with Outlook at a rather lowly 9% – and, while it’s not clear if Gmail webmail was opened via desktop or mobile app, the transition from desktop to mobile is undeniable. This represents a fantastic opportunity to reach your target audience pretty much 24-hours-a-day – in the office, at home or even on holiday.

Anticipating where your audience might be when they open your email means you can target your message when it’s most relevant or likely to be most favourably received. And every email should be designed with mobile responsiveness in mind (small screens mean bitesize messages combined with a strong Call to Action).

Need to know

Think about educating your audience rather than purely selling. What is their pain point and the solution, how can you help them, educate and inspire.

How does it measure up?

Using a cloud-based provider to deliver your email campaign – we like Campaign Monitor – email opens, click-throughs, bounces and unsubscribers are all recorded and reported so you can measure the success of each individual email.

OK, so you’re convinced that email marketing is still a viable method of communication and should be a core element of any marketing mix. But it’s not as simple as knocking out a few paragraphs of sales spiel and a stock shot and pressing ‘send’. As a key part of the marketing mix, your email should reflect your brand personality, your core messages and complement the look, feel and tone of your website and other client-facing communications.

Not just a pretty face

Never underestimate the importance of brand consistency. Unless it’s a specific promotion or campaign, the overall look and feel should still reflect your brand identity and tone of voice. When clicking through from the email to your website it should be a reassuring user experience, not lead visitors to question if they’ve arrived at the right place.

Don’t mislead

Make sure that whatever you promise to deliver in your email, is what they find at the end of the link. There is nothing so frustrating as appearing to have been misled and you’ll find your prospects opting out of future email marketing so it really isn’t worth the risk.

Timing isn’t everything

There was a time when timing was everything; depending which side of the Pond you were on there were good and bad times for sending emailers but, with the shift from desktop/office-bound to mobile, there are no hard-and-fast rules.

ExactTarget’s Mobile Behaviour report found a peak in activity between 9pm to 12am. Emails sent on Mondays had the highest ROI but emails sent on a Friday had a higher click through rate. Saturday and Sunday had the lowest volume rates but the highest open and click through rates so now, more than ever, it makes sense to experiment with sending your emailers at less conventional times to see what works best with your audience. Hubspot A/B tested emails at 8.30am, 1.30pm and 8.30pm local time and found early-morning emails performed best, with evening coming a close second, but it’s worth trialling different days and times to see what performs best for you.

Casual acquaintance

Subject lines are the ‘make or break’ of any email marketing and a trial at Hubspot revealed casual subject lines that sounded as though they were from friends performed best; ‘Take a look at this’ was pretty much twice as effective as ‘Save an additional 15% when you book by…’.

Get the message right

Many email clients have images turned off by default so getting the message right without relying on clever imagery is key. Your email content should be crafted to appeal to your audience and any imagery used should play a supporting role and be relevant, dynamic and engaging.

And that’s where an agency like Avid Creative can help you get more out of your email marketing campaigns. We are specialists at designing great templates that work equally well on desktop, tablet or mobile that maintain consistency with your overarching brand. Our copywriters can work with you to craft your message (think back to Nelson Mandela here) and we’ll test the campaign to make sure it works on all current browsers. Finally we can mail out the campaign on your behalf and provide you with a report on its effectiveness. All you need to do is provide a list of ‘Opted In’ contacts and we can pretty much handle the rest.

So if you’re thinking about starting or improving your email marketing, send us an email or give us a call on 01420 568127.

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