(Originally published on Tiny Blue Sky, April 2017)

We’ve all been there. You inadvertently end up on an email list and start receiving a barrage of emails. You tolerate it for a bit before finally clicking on that unsubscribe link at the bottom. Phew!

It’s quite natural then, that when you consider email marketing for your own business, you view it as annoying and maybe even ineffective. But the reality is, that email marketing does work. If you don’t have an email marketing plan and aren’t engaging in email marketing, you are throwing away sales opportunities.

4 Reasons Email Marketing Works:

1) CUSTOMERS PURCHASE FROM EMAIL MARKETING

Email MarketingWhen considering where to focus your marketing efforts, if you’re looking for a return on investment, email marketing is by far the way to go. It’s low cost and very effective in selling products.

  • 66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message. DMA
  • ROI for email marketing is 3800%DMA
  • 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something as compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media. Monetate

2) EMAIL MARKETING IS MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE THAN SOCIAL MEDIA

Email marketing is more effective than social media.Many companies focus the bulk of their online marketing efforts on social media. The problem is that social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have complicated algorithms that keep your posts from being seen by the customers that follow you. You are at the mercy of the social medium as to whether your audience ever sees your social media post — even when you pay to boost posts! Email marketing on the other hand is a direct line to your customer.

  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. McKinsey
  • A message is 5 TIMES more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook.  Radicati
  • You are 6 TIMES more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. Campaign Monitor
  • 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. (Forrester Research)

3) CUSTOMERS PREFER EMAIL FOR COMPANY COMMUNICATION

Customers actually prefer email over social media to find out about promotions and product information. A whopping 72% in fact. So why are you still spending so much of your marketing efforts on social media? 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. MarketingSherpa

4) EMAIL IS WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE

The reality is that email is where your customers spend their time. Whether at work or at home, the majority of people check their email on a daily basis. Why not meet your customer where they are spending most of their time? 92% of online adults use email, with 61% using it on an average day. Pew Research

Convinced yet? Following are a few quick pointers on how to use email marketing to increase sales and customer engagement:

Tips for Email Marketing Successful

Make your emails short and to the point.
Think one image, a small paragraph of text and button with call to action.

Make your email marketing content VALUABLE to your customers.
Your customers are busy, so don’t waste their time with emails that offer no value. Put yourself in their shoes. Can’t think of what would bring value? Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Exclusive offers only available via email
  • Timely information – is there a holiday that you can tie into? Perhaps some holiday recipes or a holiday shopping guide.
  • Product sales. You need to walk a fine line here as you don’t want to dilute the value of your product. You also don’t want your customers to always expect sales. If they do, they won’t purchase until they receive a discount.
  • New product releases. Do you have a new or limited edition craft brew you are releasing? Let the customers on your email list be the first to know about it and where and when they can purchase.
  • Upcoming events. Get more foot traffic into your store or restaurants by sharing information about upcoming events.
  • Recipes and pairings. Good recipes with professional photography are a highly effective way to drive traffic to your website and increase sales.

Don’t bombard your customers with too many emails.
Email ONLY when you can offer value. Watch your analytics. If you start getting a lot of unsubscribes, that’s a sign that you are either sending too many emails or your emails are not offering value.

Get organized.
Email marketing should not be happening piece meal, your efforts should be part of an overall marketing plan. Create an editorial calendar and processes for creating and delivering valuable content.

Don’t SPAM!
The rules of email are quite different than that of direct mail. In direct mail, you bought a list to get potential customers. In email, customers MUST opt-in to your email list. You can not add people to your list without their permission. Email services like MailChimp and Constant Contact will shut your account down quickly if you don’t comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. It is critical to play by the rules. Learn more about what you can and can’t do when it comes to email: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Email marketing can be an effective and powerful sales tool. You can drive traffic to your website, engage with your customer and increase sales (both online and at retail). The key is having a well thought out plan, providing value to your customers and executing your plan consistently.

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