Emailing is maybe the most common channel used by digital marketers. However it has gained bad reputation during the last years and some marketer even sentenced it to death penalty.
First of all people receive way too many emails with some kind of commercial message. Having a quick look at my mailbox today I can count 10 emails (without counting the spam box) I have deleted before opening.
This is making people a little bit annoyed and, as a consequence, less curious for messages in their mailbox.
From the professional side I can also understand the disillusionment. With an average open rate going around 20-25% and a click through rarely higher that 4% many marketers see their efforts resulting in few conversions.
So, should we consider email marketing dead?
I wouldn’t say so; I actually consider it as one of the best channel to communicate with customers. I think the problem rely more in the way we are doing email marketing.
I list here few advices that might help doing better, and hopefully more productive, email marketing.
Consider you are entering a private space, respect it.
- Avoid buying email database; people don’t like messages from companies they have no relation with. As a matter of truth indicators prove that campaign based on external databases perform poorly. In alternative you can launch a campaign with the aim of collecting email from people willing to know more about you.
- Don’t overload your customer’s inbox with messages. I see companies sending advertising almost everyday. This brings people to click on ‘unsubscribe’ or label you as a spammer.
- Don’t shoot your email if you are not really happy with it. Make sure the content brings value to the receiver.
- Personalize it. If you have the opportunity to do it, segment your database in clusters of people sharing a common element and make a more personalized message for each cluster.
- Don’t leave automatic messages to IT people. Manage every message your customers receive from you and take the chance to engage with them.
Give emailing a place in your strategy and make it a part of it.
- What is the role of emailing in my strategy? Keeping your customer informed, showing your new offer, sending a promotion are all good options but choose one specific role. This will help you being more consistent in the communication with your customers.
- How does it match with my other channels? Emailing is only one of the channels you will use in your strategy; it should be well integrated with your web page, your social media, your display and your offline actions. For example, a well-executed action on social media can help you collecting customer’s emails.
- Emailing is not a must. There is no obligation to do it. If when building your strategy you don’t find a place for email marketing, simply don’t do it.
Think carefully about the frequency
- If you set a specific frequency (let’s say 1 email per month) you should have a reason for it. What happen each month that moves you to send an email to your customers? The risk of setting a higher frequency than necessary is that you will have to make up content to fill the message resulting probably in a low value message.
- Email vs newsletter. When talking about emailing many marketers think ‘newsletter’. For same kind of business setting up a newsletter make sense. For a theatre it makes lot of sense to send newsletter about their new plays. But, for others newsletter may not be a good idea, simply because they have no news to tell. In alternative think in sending email when there is something important to tell like the launch of a new product or significant changes in your website.
There is still lot of opportunities for email marketing for those willing to do it with care.