Email is one of the most powerful and most underutilized marketing channels available on earth. It has been the primary means of electronic communication since the 1970’s. Since then, numerous bulletin board services, instant messaging services, chat services, social networks, and other “email killers” have come and gone. Yet email continues to serve as the core communication platform of the Internet—and it’s only growing.
Between 2018 and 2021, the number of email accounts in existence worldwide is expected to grow from 6.32 billion to 7.71 billion. Currently, more than 3.7 billion people, or nearly half of the world’s population, have access to email, and more than 3 billion non-spam emails are sent and received every hour of every day of the year.
Despite the widespread use of the digital juggernaut that is email, many entrepreneurs have yet to implement an effective email marketing strategy in their business because they don’t know how to do it or haven’t recognized how powerful of a marketing channel email can be. Email Marketing Demystified hopes to change that by providing a step-by-step guide for any business (or nonprofit) to leverage the power of email marketing.
Why Use Email Marketing?
Email provides you the opportunity to send a message to your audience for any purpose on any day of the year at effectively no cost to you. This is an incredibly powerful communication channel. When you do email marketing well and send the right messages to the right people at the right time, you are certain to build an audience of highly-engaged fans that can’t wait for your next message to hit their inboxes. Additionally, they are ready to buy whenever you have a product or service to promote.
There are several compelling reasons that your business should adopt email as a marketing channel:
1. Your Email List Is An Asset You Own
When you build your email list, that is an asset you own. You can send everyone on your email list periodic newsletters to keep them informed, solve their problems, and develop a relationship. People are much more likely to make a purchase from someone they know and trust. You can develop long-term relationships with your contacts through your engaging and informative email newsletters. You are in control.
When you use one of the social media platforms to build your list, on the other hand, they own the list. They can control how often and how much you contact your list. If their terms of service (TOS) change, it can have a major effect on your marketing efforts. We have read how they limit the RSS news feeds so they can push your audience toward their own advertisements and advertisers.
When you build an audience on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram, you are totally at the mercy of the whims of a company whose best interests are not aligned with yours. You could put a lot of time, energy, and money into building an audience on a particular platform only for that platform to change the rules in such a way that kills the profitability of your campaign. That will never be the case with email because no one company has control of the technical specification for email or control over the technology infrastructure that allows email to be delivered to the world’s six billion inboxes.
2. Email Marketing Generates Massive ROI
A study from the Direct Marketing Association found that a business will earn an average of $43.00 for every $1.00 invested in email marketing.
In a study from GigaOm, marketers have consistently ranked email marketing as the single most effective strategy for generating awareness, acquiring leads, generating sales, and customer retention.
3. Email Marketing Generates Long-Term Results
MarketBeat first started collecting opt-ins in late 2010. Nearly a decade later, a good number of our subscribers that signed up during the first year continue to read our content, engage with our advertisers and buy products and services from our business. Your email list is a long-term asset that will generate revenue and social capital for your business for many years to come.
4. Most Customers Want Email from Businesses
A study from MarketingSherpa found that 72% of U.S. consumers say email is their favorite way to communicate with the companies that they do business with. 61% of consumers reported they like to receive weekly promotional emails from their favorite brands, and 28% of consumers want to receive promotional emails more frequently.
Additionally, 70% of consumers say they will always open an email from their favorite companies, and 95% of people who opted in to receive email from brands say that the marketing email they receive is either somewhat useful or very useful.
5. Email Marketing Dramatically Outperforms Social Media Marketing
A study from McKinsey & Company found that businesses are 40 times more likely to create a new customer from email marketing than they are through social media.7 Another study found that 66% of marketers believe email marketing delivers a “good” or “excellent” ROI, while only 41% of them said they feel the same way about social media marketing.
6. Email is Ubiquitous
Nearly 87% of the population in the United States has Internet access in their home, and 95% of consumers use email.10 You just don’t have to worry whether or not any of your potential customers have an email address or not.
7. Email is a Resilient Technology
Email has effectively existed in its current format since the early 1980s. That was 15 years before most homes had a personal computer and Internet access, and 25 years before the first iPhone was released. Despite the world’s massive amount of technological progress and the proliferation of personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, the technical specifications for email have only been updated a handful of times in the last 30 years.
While other communication technologies have come and gone, email continues to withstand the test of time. When you invest in email marketing, you know that the medium won’t be replaced by a bigger and better thing a few years from now.
8. You Can Personalise Your Email Messages
Personalization of your email messages can be a huge factor in your affiliate marketing success. You can segment your audience, and then you can customize your emails to your audience depending on their interests and the actions they’ve taken on your website. Personalization is almost required today if you want someone to listen to your message. People are tired of the constant barrage of advertisements they get all day, so email personalization can help break through the wall many people have built to keep the noise of constant advertisements out.
You can’t personalize your message to your social media followers. You can’t individualize your responses to your social media audience. Everyone gets the same message on social media, so you can’t get the advantages and higher response rates that a personalized message normally gets. You can’t individualize mass communication to all your followers like you can with email.
9. People Have A Higher Trust Level in Emails
Privacy is another benefit of using email for affiliate marketing. Privacy, or even more important, the lack of it, is all over the news today. Surveys show that people today have a much higher trust level in emails than in social media. Facebook was fined $5 billion in 2019 over privacy violations. As a result, they promised to tighten some of the regulations. But didn’t they violate those privacy concerns once before and make promises it wouldn’t happen again? Surveys have shown that people’s trust in emails to maintain their privacy is much higher than people’s trust in social media like Facebook or Twitter. So why not build your own email list from your own website rather than via social media?
Isn’t Email Marketing Dead?
Every now and then, a technology expert or a journalist will come out and declare the demise of email. In 2009, technology columnist John C. Dvorak argued that email is dead because of spam, competing social media platforms, security problems, and a number of other issues.
In January 2014, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz declared that the world had reached “peak email” and said that the business world would quickly move to other platforms. Inc.com Contributing Editor John Brandon wrote in April 2015 that email would be obsolete by 2020.
While claiming that email is dead or dying makes for good click bait, such claims aren’t in line with reality. Email serves as the core communications platform of the Internet, and email usage is only growing. The number of worldwide users is expected to grow from 6.32 billion in 2018 to 7.71 billion by 2018. Radicati expects the number of worldwide email accounts to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2021.
Every major online service in the world, ranging from social media services like Facebook and Twitter to e-commerce stores like Amazon and Walmart, requires you to provide an email address to do business with them. Email is deeply ingrained into the fabric of the Internet and won’t be brushed aside by a competing service anytime soon.
Isn’t Email Marketing Spamming?
Some people who are unfamiliar with email marketing think that all types of commercial emails are spam. “Spamming” is sending the same commercial message indiscriminately to a large number of recipients without their permission. Modern email marketing is based almost entirely on first receiving someone’s permission to email them. When you provide news, updates, and product information to someone that has signed up on your website to receive news, updates, and product information, that’s not spam.
While there are unscrupulous email marketers that use spam as a marketing strategy, most email marketers only send emails to people that have opted in to their mailing lists and have specifically asked to receive email from them. Savvy email marketers know they can generate much better business results by cultivating an audience that wants their content than by indiscriminately spamming their marketing material to strangers.