Over two-thirds of today’s consumers prefer brands communicate with them via email, according to Bluecore, which means it’s more important than ever for marketers to revisit their email strategy and ensure it meets consumers’ ever-changing expectations. However, as marketers continue their pursuit of shiny new channels, it’s easy for them to go on email autopilot and send the same content in the same template week after week.
This lack of focus on email means that marketers are missing out on the kind of returns possible from marketing’s most effective channel. After all, email marketing generates a 3800% ROI on average, according to DMA – more than double that of any other digital channel. Rather than allow email to run on autopilot, marketers should fully embrace email marketing and experiment, learn and grow their strategy over time.
The following article will show marketers how to solve the most common challenges they face using strategic email marketing, plus walk them through ways email can support their other digital marketing efforts and help build long-term customer relationships.
Email Communication is the Key to a Strong Relationship
Email is the core to all customer relationships. Consider this: to successfully communicate with an audience about products or services, marketers must find a way to put their message in front of those individuals. Marketers commit considerable budgets to blog posts, social media and banner ads to do just that, yet each of these channels offers varying reach. With email marketing, however, you can guarantee that your message at least gets to your subscribers, whether they choose to engage with it or not.
With that sort of reliable reach, it’s a mistake to let the power of email fade into the background of marketing efforts. Plus, we know email works and marketers can confirm it. According to Emma’s 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report, 47 percent of marketers stated that email generates more ROI than any other digital channel. Plus, Salesforce’s Fourth Annual State of Marketing report shows a 106% growth in the B2C channel in just two years (2015-2017).
Email Has an Advantage
Email has a unique advantage in that it can greatly support other marketing efforts by providing direct insight into consumer behavior. This includes things like knowing which emails consumers open, what content they click on, which devices they are reading from and what times of day they are engaged, among other things.
When used in tandem with other marketing channels, email can deliver better personalization and customer experience – which, according to Salesforce, leads to things like improved awareness, higher rates of customer engagement and improved customer acquisition.
But, to gain audience trust, it’s critical that companies are willing to take the first step in the relationship, which means providing quality content through channels like email marketing. Companies in any industry should consider offering content for free, which provides useful information that establishes long-term trust and kinship between the brand and customers.
How This Leads to Relationship Building
Successful email marketing translates to successful relationship building. As much as marketers understand their customers, marketers are not mind readers. In any good partnership, marketers have the opportunity and responsibility to get to know their audience better through things like content, timing and recognition.
That’s why it’s critical to continually test every element of your email strategy. Done right, email marketing can act as a laboratory for marketers to test which messages best resonate with their audience. For instance, testing email subject lines can help marketers discover what piques customers’ initial interest. Consider tracking which images, wording and link placements lead to the most engagement, and make sure calls-to-action are simple and easy to see.
Timing also is critical. It’s important to review email analytics to see if certain times of day or days of the week perform better for different audience segments, or if the audience would benefit from appropriately spaced reminders. Finally, take advantage of social media presence. This is a good way to test creative and messaging, and it can be an untapped source of potential new email content.
Put the Spotlight on Email for Lasting Results
With limited resources and growing consumer demand, it’s critical that we prioritize the one tactic that is efficient, trackable and plays remarkably well with all the other channels: email. Email is a key marketing channel, and when used correctly as part of a marketers’ strategy, it can help to build long-lasting customer relationships.
About the Author: Colby Cavanaugh is the senior vice president of marketing at Emma, a digital marketing platform that makes it easy to create beautifully designed emails that drive results.