email marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you think email marketing is so last year? After all, there are so many other options for reaching out to prospects and customers now. You can use mobile marketing, SMS text messaging, Snapchat, livestreams, Instagram Stories—the list is endless. Given all these bright, shiny toys, the concept of sending customers emails may seem as old-fashioned as writing a letter. . . with a fountain pen . . . and sending it Pony Express.

If you think email marketing is too old hat to bother with, consider these statistics:

  • A whopping 89% of people check their email daily, according to a study by Fluent.
  • Seven in 10 internet users would rather have businesses communicate with them by email than any other method, reports MarketingSherpa.
  • More than half (53%) of consumers have purchased something from a retailer after receiving an email about the product.
  • For every $1 businesses spend on email marketing, they enjoy an average return on investment of $38. No, that’s not a typo. Thirty-eight dollars.

One reason email marketing is so effective is that most people rely on email for workplace communication. Even if an office uses Slack, texting or some other form of interoffice communication, they still use email at some point. Since they don’t want to miss an important message from work, Americans are constantly checking their email. Smartphones haven’t freed us from email—they’ve tied us to it even more closely. The majority of emails are now opened on a mobile device, not on a desktop. That means even more opportunity for your business to make an impression.

Finally, there’s one key reason to stick with email: It’s a marketing channel that you own. What do I mean by that? Well, social media is a great marketing method for many small businesses. In fact, some entrepreneurs don’t even bother to have a website—they do all their marketing on social media.

That’s risky business, because despite all the work you put into gaining and maintaining your business’s social media followers, you don’t own those connections. In fact, you don’t even control them. Social media companies decide how many of your posts your followers can see—or if they even see your posts at all. One change to a social media algorithm can wipe out years of work building a social media following.

With email, however, it’s different. When customers agree to get emails from you, you’ve got a direct, one-to-one connection. No one can stand in between you and your customer, and the success of your email marketing is limited only by your expertise—not by some algorithm.

How can you make your email marketing a success? Here are some tips:

  • Looking good: Mobile email viewing dominates, so your emails need to look good on a mobile device.
  • Keep it short: A couple of photos (at most) and a few short paragraphs are all you need.
  • Action, please: Put your call to action near the top of the email; don’t make readers scroll down to get your message.
  • Easy does it: One or two links or buttons in an email is plenty. Make them eye-catching and easy to click on.
  • Learning curve: Tap into the analytics tools your email marketing service provides. You’d be amazed at what you can find out—from who opened what email when, and what they clicked on, to which emails drove the most sales or generated the most engagement. Based on this information, you can segment your email subscriber lists to tailor information to what specific users want.

Rumors of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated—it’s still alive and kicking, and can breathe new life into your marketing efforts if you use it right.