Email Marketing – Still Relevant in a Social Media-Dominated World?

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In today’s economy, when marketing budgets are tight, most people are looking more closely at return on investment (ROI). One tool that has consistently surpassed other channels in terms of ROI is email marketing.

“But hasn’t social media well and truly stolen email’s thunder,” you ask. Not quite. And if you have scaled down or are thinking of abandoning your email marketing efforts, then you should think again. Email marketing is here to stay…

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, the channel remains effective for organisations of all kinds, with an overall average UK open rate of 17.98 per cent and a click-through rate of 3.56 per cent.

Not only is email one of the — if not THE — most cost-effective marketing methods, it also provides unparalleled reporting. This means it’s easy to work out what works and what doesn’t, and makes establishing the most effective tactics for any given offer or audience an effortless task. Which goes a long way in explaining why leading companies around the globe still consider it as a top priority in their marketing plans.

But what if your email marketing isn’t producing the desired results? Here are 10 ways to improve its ROI, starting today:

1. The hype surrounding social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook, etc) doesn’t mean you are faced with an ‘either or’ choice: you should unquestionably be looking at making the two work together.

2. For example, try adding social media subscribe or share (‘follow us’, ‘like’, etc) buttons to your email newsletter.

3. Another method is to list and link to all your social-networking profiles in your ezine.

4. In terms of driving up both email open and click-through rates, use a voucher or a special offer when sending out your next email marketing campaign.

5. Base email campaigns around key events, such as the Winter Olympics. Run mini-promotions; encourage your emails to be forwarded so they go viral.

6. Be selective with your email timings. Don’t just send straight promotional messages every other day. Rather, cut back on the mail-out frequency and give your readers a little bit extra — news they can use, tips and tricks, etc.

7. Also, if you are a restaurant, for example, and your busiest day is a Saturday, then send out email promotions on a Friday.

8. Stop mailing people who have not opened your emails for over a year. You can either send them a quick courtesy email beforehand to see why they haven’t opened/read any of them (they could end up in their spam folder, for instance) and to see if they wish to continue receiving your email updates/newsletters. Or you can drop them into a separate ‘list’ where the frequency and content of the emails will change.

9. Make sure every single one of your emails is targeted and relevant. This means researching and truly understanding your target market or readership (what makes them tick, what words and language would pique their interest, and so on) and delivering products and information they would be interested to hear about.

10. While engaging content is essential, it is still possible to influence an email campaign’s success through the effectiveness of your subject line and ‘from’ address. The latter should be something immediately identifiable and consistent. The former needs to make sense to and interest your readers without sounding or looking like spam. Play around and split-test your subject lines. If you are a retail outlet and are simply sending out an email about a new promotion a subject line like “[Name of Company] Drop by this weekend for a 20% discount” could do the trick. It’s short, to the point and means people don’t even need to open the email. They can take you up on your offer by visiting your store. Look out for an article on subject lines in a future issue of CfS.

Further Reading: Avoiding the ‘Delete’ Key: http://bit.ly/9qj0Wd

By Tracey Dooley, Creative Consultant | PR Guru | Marketing & Alliance Strategist

Not getting results? Let Tracey teach you how to write email copy that impresses the spam filters AND your readers: http://www.mediaminister.co.uk/products.htm#Online. Having trouble with converting visitors into buyers once they get to your website? Check out Website Copywriting Secrets that Convert Web Readers into BUYERS.

(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert help and/or affordable mentoring and have fun attracting new business easily?)

(C) 2010-11 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article (or any article, tip or post on this blog) on your website, blog, a message board or in an ezine? Not a problem! But please give credit where it’s due. You MUST include copyright info above, along with the following:

Tracey Dooley is a freelance copywriter, editor and marketer. She has spent 18 years crafting compelling concepts and copy that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertains. Her expertise runs across many different sectors and her client list includes marketing agencies, a leading supplier of personal computers, semi-conductors and telecommunications equipment and the UK’s largest TV and interactive production company. =====>  www.mediaminister.co.uk.

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