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With the marketing world all abuzz about the growing power of social media and the importance of search engine marketing, the email list and company newsletter quietly gathers dust. Email’s been around for a long time; everyone has an email list that they periodically blast with a mass mailing, without much thought or strategy. Email marketing really isn’t that big of a deal anymore – except that it is. If “get it running and leave it alone” is still your email marketing strategy, you might want to have a look at Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly’s recently released report.
In the first quarter of 2013, email beat out search and social for highest conversion rate for ecommerce-based companies. Email has a conversion rate of over 3% in ecommerce, compared to less than 2% for search and less than 1% for social. What’s more, email is also bringing in page views to the company website, almost equaling search at a referral rate of 9%. This means that, as helpful and effective as SEM and social marketing are to your business, a solid email campaign is still the most effective way to get your product to your target market.
Surprised? Don’t be. The high ROI of email is just as much old news as the medium itself. The Ecommerce Quarterly report is just the latest study in email’s favor. The Email Marketing Industry Census 2012 had similar results, reporting “55% of all company respondents could attribute more than 10% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, with 17% of respondents stating that email marketing attributed for over 30%.” Overall, email came away from the survey with “good” or “excellent” ROI ratings from 70% of company respondents.
Email’s stellar ROI grades have a lot to do with the platform’s extremely wide reach. Nearly every Internet user has at least one email account, and 72% of users check their email more than six times per day. That makes it more far-reaching than social media by a long shot; furthermore, the directness of sending material to a consumer’s inbox lends itself to segmentation and personalization. That gives email extraordinary potential as a medium; however, as with any part of your integrated marketing plan, it takes careful strategy to see the great returns it can produce. Monetate’s vice president of marketing, Blair Lyon, advises that “we need to continue to focus on delivering relevant messaging that is appropriate to the individual person, their behavior and time. . . it really is all about the right content to the right customer at the right time.” Lyon is right, and the numbers back him up—companies employing segmentation in their email marketing were 95% more likely to be satisfied with their ROI.
Despite the data, email is still considered the outcast of marketing tools, not receiving the same kind of media focus or industry buzz as its other counterparts. Part of that is the lack of novelty; the core function of email has not changed much since its inception, and despite the leaps and bounds technology is making in virtually all other fields, email remains unaltered. The smart marketer knows that this does not by any means indicate irrelevance.
“I fear (and see) many companies are running their email programs essentially on autopilot,” says marketer Jay Bael on the recent Monetate study.
“This is a huge missed opportunity, because email is responsible for generating twice as much direct traffic as social media, and fully four times the conversion rate.”
This kind of autopilot blasting strategy is the easiest way to lose ROI on email, and makes the top of our Email Marketing Sins list to boot. A segmented, personalized email strategy, like any well-crafted marketing plan, is well worth the investment.
Need help reevaluating your email strategy? InSegment’s email marketing campaigns are thorough, segmented, and customized for your company’s needs. We can help you to not only avoid the pitfalls, but also to take full advantage of what email has to offer.