When it comes to digital marketing, social media is great. That’s pretty much agreed, right? The exponential growth of your target market and the promotion of your online content through all the bells and whistles Facebook, Twitter and the like can offer mean that many digital marketers see these platforms as the best way to go, a golden ticket to the promised land of increased customer engagement and leads for your business.
In the rush towards social media use, however, one element of what should be an integrated digital strategy is sometimes overlooked, even forgotten – the email.
McKinsey’s iConsumer survey in 2014 reported a 20% decline in e-mail usage between 2008 and 2012 as a share of time spent on communications, with the medium surrendering ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps. They stated that investments in these new channels are absolutely necessary for marketers to make increasingly sophisticated use of social networks and other channels to engage with consumers and convert interest to sales. However, they also added that marketers shouldn’t be too hasty in shifting budgets away from e-mail.
Similarly, a new report looking at digital marketing trends in Ireland by Wolfgang Digital highlighted the fact that email is still very much the most effective means of communication to nurture and convert leads, and while the stats were interesting, its coverage on The Journal didn’t teach me much (apart from the fact that their headline mention of email as a 40-year-old platform means I am getting old).
The report states that email delivers as much website traffic for Irish online businesses as every social media platform combined, and is the third-biggest driver for online revenue after organic search and direct web traffic.
‘Pretty interesting, tell me more,’ you might say. Well, the report looked at various business websites in Ireland, analysing 87million website sessions over the course of a year, and found that 6% of overall revenue was generated by email, while Facebook generates just 2% and platforms such as Twitter and Instagram were below 1%.
So email, far from being an outdated mode of communication, the equivalent of that weird 40-year-old guy who has stuck around too long at the party, is actually still the one with the most influence.
It’s not just in Ireland either – this is a global trend. A McKinsey report outlined that email marketing works 40 times better at getting customers than social media, and offers a 17% higher conversion rate, while HubSpot says it generates 50% more sales and is the single most effective way to build relationships with customers.
High conversion rates, more sales generated, and building relationships with customers – that’s exactly what you want from social media when using it as part of an integrated mass communication strategy, only better.
So why is email still such an effective tool? We outline a few reasons here, but to put it simply:
Emails are easily accessible on mobile
The importance of mobile-friendly content can’t be overstated, because it has become the most popular and most frequent way in which people view their email, as well as other online content. In fact, 91% of us check our email on our smartphones at least once a day. (If you’ve ever sat on a busy rush-hour bus, you will know the emphasis here is on the ‘at least’)
Though the jury is still out on how many people actually make purchases via their smartphone, the numbers are growing, and stats suggest most prefer to do their research on it before making a purchase via their PC or laptop, which means the content they see that drives them towards that purchase is still vitally important.
Emails are the perfect platform on which to send out special offers, coupons, vouchers and giveaways
Easy to open, save and download, these are great drivers of sales, both online and in-store.
People actually like getting emails
Despite the fact that we are inundated with emails, to the point where we assume most of them are met with a groan and perhaps quickly sent on a one-way trip to the recycle bin, the important thing to remember is that we don’t necessarily hate emails, just those that we don’t want to read. That is, the ones that offer no value to us, and are not relevant to our needs or interests. If you provide useful and relevant information, you can effectively engage with consumers, drive them towards further Calls To Action, and ultimately, to a purchasing decision.
Emails can provide an (almost) unlimited amount of information, while also serving to return valuable information to you
Without the boundaries of Twitter, for example, an email can be as long or short as you need it to be to highlight events or offers, and promote other online content, while also showing you what engagement or interaction it had, if it is integrated with the rest of your digital marketing strategy.
What’s that about an integrated digital marketing strategy?
If you use a CMS or COS, you can integrate all of your mass communications so that you can create automated marketing through workflows - targeted content that is not only useful and relevant to specific, segmented demographics, but is also sent out at the right time in their buyer journey.
Email marketing gives incredible ROI
According to the Direct Marketing Association, it brings an estimated 4,300% return on investment. That is perhaps the biggest stat you, or more likely, your boss, will need to see. The low cost and high return is incredible.
However, if you are going to continue, or start up, an email marketing campaign, you have to do it the right way, and follow certain guidelines to make sure it is part of an effective integrated digital marketing strategy that offers the right content to the right people at the right time.
Creating the great content that will make your emails compelling and will nurture and convert leads into customers involves a few best practices, and we will take a look at these in our next blog, so stay tuned.
Need help creating great content that will generate leads and drive increased sales? Download our free Lead Generation Survival Kit.