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The Case for Email Marketing

Thu, Sep 27th 2012 09:00 am

Email isn't sexy. There's no hip email startup for the media to obsess over. No twenty-something, hoodie-clad CEO of email. No hot new email device that will sell out on pre-order. However, there are approximately 3.1 billion email addresses worldwide, which when compared to the 955 million monthly active users declared by Facebook, is pretty impressive.

Where are we going with this? Well, for starters, we're not picking on Facebook. As a marketing platform, it can be an extremely powerful tool for small businesses (especially when used in conjunction with other resources). Lately, however, it seems that Facebook marketing is all that anyone can talk about. The intent of this article is to serve as a reminder about the value of email marketing, even if it's no longer the shiny new toy.

So, Why Email?

There are several reasons email marketing has become a staple in business marketing plans, for small and large companies, alike:

  • Low Cost - This is probably the main selling point of email marketing for most small businesses. It's very inexpensive to build a mailing list and send an email; the greatest costs associated are generally the time spent crafting your message, and the subscription system you choose to send and manage your emails through.
  • Easily Measured - Using a bulk email service makes tracking the success of your email campaign a breeze. The built-in reporting tools allow you to see various metrics such as delivery rate, open rate, and the number of unique clicks your message received. If your email service doesn't provide these types of reports, it's time to find a new one.
  • Helps Develop Customer Relationships - When used properly (and not overused or abused), regular emails have the ability to improve brand loyalty and help keep your brand top of mind. Keep in mind, however, for this to happen, your emails must be providing something relevant and of value to your customers. Your subscribers' inbox is not the place for you to blow your brand's horn or push for the hard sell - it will almost always do more harm than good.
  • Targeted Audience - Over 90% of email users have opt-in relationships with a consumer brand, as opposed to 15% on Facebook, which means these people want to hear from you - just not too often. Unfortunately, the only way to determine a good schedule for your audience is through trial and error (that's what those metrics are for!) or allowing subscribers to set their own email frequency options.

Tips for Sending Better Email

Once you're using a professional email service like our Fission Blast, there are a few things you can do to enhance the number of opens and clicks your email acquires.

  1. Create Interesting Headlines - This may be the trickiest part, because it's what determines if your email even gets opened. While trying to use 50 characters or less, your goal here is to show the value of opening the email. Avoid using the terms "help," "percent-off," "reminder,"  and exclamation points whenever possible. Also keep in mind that using the same headline for multiple emails will reduce the number of opens each subsequent message receives.
  2. Use Images - It's no secret that people tend to prefer images over big chunks of text, but be sure to provide text descriptions for those that do not, or you could risk your message being lost on them.
  3. Link back to your site or social media - Your entire message doesn't necessarily need to be in the email, especially when you have the opportunity to drive traffic to your site. Again, be sure to provide content that is of value to your customers, and avoid the hard sell. Including subtle links to your social media pages gives your subscribers the option to consume more of your content through their preferred channels.
  4. Always provide a text-only version - Not everyone can view, or chooses to view, images in their email. If you do not provide an HTML/text version of your email, your message will be obsolete to these customers.
  5. Try varying your send times - While 10 a.m. on Tuesdays has been dubbed "the best time to send email," it's possible that you may find greater success sending messages at other times. Think of it this way, if you send an email at 7 p.m. on a Sunday, you're competing for a much larger share of voice than you would be on a weekday morning. Try to measure what works for your brand's audience.
  6. Get social - Add an email sign-up to your Facebook brand page and share some of your email messages, like newsletters across your social media accounts to give non-subscribers a taste of what their missing.
  7. Get feedback - There's still value to be gained from a customers who unsubscribe. While the unsubscribe process should be simple, be sure to ask why they're choosing to opt-out. This will help you to refine your message frequency and content and improve your email marketing efforts.

What is Fission Blast?

As mentioned above, 360 PSG offers our own email service called Fission Blast. Fission Blast helps you to keep customers in the loop by allowing you to send mass emails to an unlimited list of subscribers. Plans vary by the number of emails you plan on sending each month, not by the number of subscribers. If you're interested in learning more about Fission Blast, please contact an Account Manager today at 716.829.7373 or visiting us online at 360psg.com.