The simple answer is, yes. Email marketing should be a part of your digital marketing strategy because it provides you with a direct link between you and your audience - both those that are already in your fan club (aka your customers) and potential new prospects! It really helps build brand awareness.
However, having a poor email marketing strategy can do just the opposite. Just think, how many times have you received an email that’s poorly formatted, not relevant to you, or provides little or no value? More times than you’d care to think about, no doubt.
Pros and cons of email marketing
If you're weighing up whether email marketing should be a part of your digital marketing strategy, here are some yays and nays for you to think about:
- Email marketing has a huge return on investment (ROI). The Marketer email tracker report found that email marketing's ROI is £32.28 for every £1 spent!
- You can test what works! Many email marketing tools make testing easy. You can perform A/B testing on email subject lines, preview text, content and formatting (to name a few) and from here you can continue to fine-tune and adapt your strategy so that you get a higher conversion rate.
- Your audience are used to receiving and sending emails - they feel comfortable with this form of communication. It's much less irritating than an intrusive pop up!
- Email marketing provides you with a direct means of communication between you and a targeted audience. You can even segment your email messages and tailor the content depending on who will be engaging with it. Personalisation = ❤️️.
- Consumers use email more than social media and emails have a longer lifespan than social posts - Facebook updates, Twitter posts... they don't stay on people's feeds for long!
- It’s easy to demonstrate ROI through email marketing - you can tell how many people have engaged with your email (opened it, clicked on a link etc) by looking at the native analytics.
- Automated email marketing will save you heaps of time - once you set up an automated email workflow (a confirmation email after a purchase, for example), you don't have to lift a finger for these kinds of repetitive, time-consuming tasks ever again. Hurrah!
- Emails are common - just take a look at your inbox and see how many messages you have sat there. If you're sending a marketing email to someone, you can guarantee it'll arrive amongst lots of others and get swamped in the inbox! Try these tips to get noticed.
- Building up an email list can be slow work - people have to want to give you their details first! Can you think of ways to incentivise this? Perhaps 10% off their first order or a free consultation? Here's some more suggestions to help you grow your list.
- Average email engagement rates for medium-sized businesses are really varied. If you work in legal services, you can expect a 26% open rate and a click-through rate of 3.47% - these are relatively low compared to non-profits who can expect an open rate of 34%.
- Establishing a brand new email marketing strategy can take a lot of your time to plan, maintain and continue to improve. You need to make sure you set enough time aside to execute it properly.
When email marketing fails
As highlighted in the ‘cons’ above, your email marketing will probably fail to begin with, but that’s no need to be glum. As wonderfully put by Michael Jordan:
Yes, quite #deep considering we’re talking about email marketing strategy, but it rings true!
Want to give it a go?
Sure you do! Email marketing is an inexpensive and effective way of communicating directly with your audience. But I'm sure you're thinking...where do I start?
1. Be SMART with your emails
It is important to note that email is only one tactic which can contribute towards your digital marketing strategy, and each tactic you have needs a clear objective. For instance, at Noisy Little Monkey we employ different digital marketing tactics that contribute towards different SMART goals - targets that are:
Here’s an accurate example from the Noisy Little Monkey website:
“Increase from 2 million visitors requesting bananas per month, to 3 million visitors requesting bananas per month by January 2019 - a 50% increase”
And here’s an example for email:
“Aim to grow from 1,000 to 1,300 email subscribers in 3 months (a 30% increase) by increasing our Facebook advertising budget for email outreach (which historically acquires the most subscribers)”
2. Decide what to send
You can then decide on what type of email you need to send based on what your goals and objectives are. Whatever the marketing email type you choose, make sure you decide what the actual objective is BEFORE you start it. For instance are you trying to:
- Raise awareness of blogs/eBooks?
- Update followers on industry news?
- Build excitement about your new products/events?
- Shout about new offers/deals?
- Incentivise reviews?
Here are some examples of different types of marketing emails you could be sending:
- Welcome email - when someone subscribes to your newsletter or onboards as a client, why not say hello and thank you?
- A monthly newsletter - you can use a monthly newsletter to tell subscribers about product updates, stuff that's been happening in the industry, or share some blogs your team have written.
- Event announcement or invitation - organising a workshop, training session or a conference? Use email to invite people to the event!
- Abandoned cart messages (eCommerce) - did someone leave items in their basket and not complete at checkout? Send them an email to remind them and nurture that purchase through to close.
- Confirmation emails (after a purchase) - does what it says on the tin really...
- Lead-nurturing emails which form part of a workflow - if you work in B2B or Professional Services, you'll know that the path to purchase can be quite long so lead-nurturing emails can help your prospects along their buying journey.
3. How much should you give away?
How much information you provide in an email totally depends on the purpose of the email in question. If the objective of your email is to get people to click through to an eventbrite registration page and buy a ticket to your event, then the email should just cut to the chase. Contrastingly, if you want to update your loyal customers about a change to your service or product and have a lot of detail that needs to be shared then your email will need to be longer and structured well so that it's easy to dissect and read.
If your email has a point to make, make it succinctly - there is nothing more off putting than an email that offers too much information and isn't structured well; it becomes overwhelming for the reader. To reiterate: make sure you choose ONE key objective per email and focus your efforts on this. Here’s one I received from Digital Gaggle as an example:
Not only is it personalised to me, but it is short, specific and uses 2 different types of CTA with action orientated text (e.g. “grab your ticket” and “get my ticket”) - so yes, I think it’s pretty obvious from the offset what this email wants me to do!
4. Recommended best practice
In order to reduce your likelihood of failure (e.g. a high number of unsubscribes, a low open-rate or click-throughs), here are some recommended best practices:
- Grow your email list in compliance with GDPR.
- Segment your audience by lifecycle stage/behaviour - by grouping your subscribers together you can create highly-relevant emails tailored to them.
- Make your emails desktop & mobile friendly.
- Personalise your emails - use the addressee’s name in the opening sentence. You could event test using it in the subject line!
- Make sure you send from an authentic email address - people are a lot more skeptical of “email@example.com”
- Perform A/B testing - think subject lines, CTAs, design, personalisation, what time to send etc.
- Experiment with automated lead nurturing workflows.
- Set email marketing SMART goals and analyse your performance against these - how else will you know if you’re improving?!
Remember the big picture
It’s all too tempting to be lazy with emails and just send them for the sake of it. Yet if you don’t fully understand your audience, create a strategy, have clear objectives, and test and analyse your performance – then you might as well not be doing them!
Make sure you’re proactive with your emails, as they can be a great source for nurturing new leads, but don’t be too reliant on them, they are only part of your digital marketing strategy after all.
If you want to know whether email marketing should be a part of your wider digital marketing strategy, download this Measurement Framework Guide which will help you develop a clear understanding of your organisation's business objectives.