There’s a billion guides on Google about email marketing. You build your list; create your campaign & send it. There’s no doubt it can work.
But the bigger question is if email marketing is the most effective way YOU can reach people.
Let’s take a closer look…
Email marketing to your existing customers is never a waste of time. They already know you. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch, to help them get to know, like & trust you more – and get them buying from you more often.
We truly believe every business should be sending interesting, relevant emails to our existing customers, every week. It’s inexpensive & easy to do.
But using email marketing to get new customers is rather different.
What are the downsides of email marketing?
Well – if you’re sending emails to a cold list (people who don’t know you), it’s hard to get people to even open them.
According to Smart Insights 2018 statistics, the average open rates for email marketing sent by UK SMEs was 24.79%.
The average click-through rate is less than 5%.
So for every 1,000 emails you send, less than 1 in 4 people will open them – and less than 1 in 5 of these people will actually click your links & take action.
It’s a tough one.
It means you need a B-I-G list of people, to drive any significant levels of action. And for B2C, it goes without saying that you need their active consent for you to email them at all.
Now – that’s not to say that email marketing is NOT right for your business. Depending on how many customers you need, it may well be an effective way for you to drive people in.
A strong, interesting headline + compelling content is key. But we all know that open rates now aren’t what they were in 2009!
But equally, there may be other, more effective uses of your time & money.
Email Marketing vs Everything Else
The truth is that there are hundreds of ways you can reach people in your market.
Facebook, all Social Media platforms & re-marketing. Blogs, newsletters & video. Direct mail, letters & flyers. Magazine + newspaper ads. Phoning them or calling in person. Going to shows, networking & open days. Billboards, blimps & cinema ads. The list is huge.
So will email marketing work for you, to get more customers? Or is a better way?
It’s back-to-front to start with HOW to reach people.
Instead, it makes more sense to start with WHO.
Who are you targeting? Who are the people that you want to attract, to buy from you?
And the more specific we can get here, the better.
Are you looking for mums in Hereford, with children under 5, who love modern design & Scandinavian style?
Are you looking for businesses in the UK, with 5-15 employees, who are likely to need support with employment contracts & ad-hoc issues – but aren’t big enough to employ an HR professional in-house?
Are you looking for dog owners in Cheltenham, who live within 10 miles of your store, and who spend money regularly on premium dog food & pet care products?
Your ‘market’ isn’t a big, indistinct pool of the population. It’s made of up of individual people.
So the clearer we can get on EXACTLY who these people are – what they care about, their likes & dislikes – the more we can craft marketing messages that will connect with them. And compel them to take the action you want.
Once you’re clear on who, the next thing is your message.
What is your marketing message, to attract these people to your business?
Is it a special offer or discount, to entice them into your store?
Or to tell them about a new service you’ve launched, to drive them to your website?
Do you want to give them value – content they’ll find interesting & useful – and tell your story, to start building a relationship with them?
The chances are your marketing is likely to be a mix of all three – offers + promotions; news about how your business can serve them; and content that adds value to build relationships.
But once you’re super-clear on WHO you’re targeting, and WHAT you want to say to them – THEN you can work out the best media for getting this message in front of them.
Is it email marketing (to a cold list) – given what we know about open rates & the required consent for B2C? (As we say, emailing your existing customers to build your relationships is never a waste of time!)
Or would a Facebook advert, highly targeted to the people you want to talk to, reach people more effectively?
Would a sales letter, carefully-crafted & sent to people in the right postcodes, connect with them better?
Would packing your website with content-rich articles & an interesting, relevant blog be the answer – so people find you, when they search for what you do?
Would filming regular videos – for Facebook, LinkedIn & YouTube – add value, extend your reach & get more people interested in what you do?
The answer probably lies in a mix of these tactics + more. And for many of us, well-written, compelling email marketing absolutely has a place.
But starting with WHO your market is; WHAT you want to say; and then HOW to best get it in front of people, is the very best place to begin.
And then you can decide if email marketing is likely to get the results you want in your business!
Until next time
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