Email marketing is dead! This proclamation has been ringing throughout digital marketing circles. Whether it’s recipients not opening e-commerce email, or the idea that conversion through email is in decline, incorrect use of the email channel and speculation have worked to push the channel out of the forefront of digital strategies. However, such statements are usually taken out of context and are not backed by real data.
With the rise and proliferation of social media, many people like to come and claim that social media is here to replace email as a means of marketing. As is outlined in one of our previous posts, email serves a distinct purpose. Whereas social media and paid media sits at the top of the sales funnel spreading brand awareness and stimulating demand for your products, email sits mid to lower sales funnel and is designed to drive repeated purchases by re-engaging your existing customers. One does not replace the other. If anything, they complement each other.
A social media post in the user’s newsfeed is not the same as an email in the user’s inbox: email is personal 1-1 communication guaranteed to be delivered to the unique recipient behind it, social post is a cry in the crowd, same for everybody, with no delivery guarantees. Just imagine if you did not share your email address with e-commerce businesses. Would you want to rely on Facebook or mobile notifications to deliver your online receipts? Neither is a reliable delivery channel and does not provide the persistent asynchronous communication that email provides. Until we invent an alternative channel, email is here to stay.
The second reason why people like to proclaim the demise of email is the bad reputation it often gets because of its abuse. Email marketing is abused in two ways: unsolicited email often synonymous with spam and excessive frequency and repetitiveness. At Jetlore, we believe that retail marketers should never send unsolicited email. All email communication should be on an opt-in basis and have a transparent subscription and frequency policy. While most retailers realize the harm of unsolicited email, the harm of excessive email frequency is not always so apparent. Increase in email volume almost always results in short-term sales gains which could be immediately proclaimed a marketing success. But in reality, the combination of email repetitiveness and high frequency almost always leads to increased churn which ultimately harms your brand and your long-term sales (churn does not just include unsubscribed users, but also those customers who will set up a filter and stop opening your emails).
The curse of email is that it’s very inexpensive and is easy to automate. As a result, marketers often don’t put much thought into it and treat it as you would direct mail advertising by batching and blasting static banner-like brochures. As marketers increase frequency, consumers end up flooded with junk the same way they are with direct mail. Nobody likes to open their mailbox to discover a bunch of useless brochures. As a result, email providers are trying to protect consumers with easy unsubscribe options and automated promotion filtering.
The problem is not with the email marketing itself but with the way it’s been used. As email becomes more sophisticated, effective email marketing requires new strategies and better technology to achieve efficiency. Exploit the unique nature of email: it’s 1-1 personal communication! Don’t send static brochures that look like junk mail. Surprise your customers with merchandise they’d actually be looking forward to. Treat your email the same way a brick-and-mortar retailer treats their store window. Email is the face of your online retail store. Make it personal, exciting, and non-repetitive. Jetlore lets you take that leap, providing you with the next generation email marketing technology that can surprise your customers with fresh relevant merchandise in their inbox every day.
If you still think that email is an outdated legacy toy, let us give you some hard numbers and facts.
- Email drives 20% of online retail industry, which is a $300 billion business in the United States alone (with massive growth expected) and over $1 trillion worldwide.
- Conversion rate from email is the highest among all channels (industry average ~3%): 3x of the rate from social media and almost 2x of the rate from search.
- For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25.
- Email is the preferred marketing communication channel with 77% of consumers choosing email for promotional messages with no close second place.
- On a daily basis, US consumers interact with about 11 brands through email, compared to ~9 brands via Facebook, and ~8 brands via Twitter.
- The only other marketing channel that drives as much online retail revenue as email is search. However, search engine marketing has significantly higher costs. As a result, what marketers often do is use search and advertising to acquire email subscribers and then use email to convert these subscribers into customers. Without email, these other marketing channels would become significantly less effective. If used properly, email can become your best and strongest revenue driver.
Image courtesy Maria Elena