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Shut up, social! Why email marketing still reigns supreme

Posted by David Rekuc on June 16th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Social, social, social. If social media were a Brady, it would be Marsha -- the pretty one who receives all the attention, overshadowing her less appreciated siblings. Every new article, app, and innovation seems to be social-based. Need proof? eCommerce king Amazon recently introduced #AmazonCart, so potential customers can add items to their online shopping carts via Twitter. You don't even have to leave the site.

Sure, social media is an essential tool for digital marketing; it shines in branding, engagement, and service. And although email marketing remains the single best medium for monetizing your customer base, we've somehow all gotten a case of the “Bradys.” Social media receives the lion’s share of our attention, both in terms of organizational resources and in industry news, while email unfairly plays second fiddle.

Savvy marketing experts know email is crucial to reach their audience, but even those who understand its importance don’t always deliver great execution. Read on for five ways to create a more effective campaign and give email the attention it deserves.

Be personal. Does your entire customer base really care about the same product? Of course not. Use previous purchase data and self-reported demographic insights (age, gender, interests) to segment your audience. You can also monitor and respond to site behavior with automation tools from Hubspot, a leading integrated marketing platform. Which segues to timing…

Be timely. I recently became a homeowner and for the first time in my life I needed to learn about home improvement products. As a result, I found myself on lists for several related retailers. But after that initial interest wore off, future offers were dead on arrival or, worse, left me disheartened that I didn’t get a good deal on a previous purchase. Using recent data, like page views or purchases can help you get the timing right on communications.

According to HubSpot inbound marketing consultant Steve Haase, timing is (almost) everything. In fact, one Hubspot client recently increased their email clicks 718% by sending messages about a product the same day a potential customer looked at it on their site.

Haase says, “Reaching people at the moment of consideration, and with the product they're considering, not only increases engagement, it's becoming the new standard. If you're not keeping up and sending relevant messages, you're going to see more and more contacts unsubscribing from your list. "

Be valuable. In fact, your value here can be two-fold. You’ve probably already figured out that emails can highlight a killer sale or great discount – but not every email has to focus on profit. You can also offer value with creative content, including insider tips, recipes, and easy-to-follow how-to articles.

Be considerate. You should always value your customer’s attention. This means the frequency and content of your message should be the first consideration of any email campaign. Above all, don’t waste your customers’ precious time – or be prepared for many of them to disappear.

Be dynamic. Finally, good business owners know their job is never done. Segment, test, measure, and evolve each campaign. Track satisfaction against customer feedback, not just revenue. Ask yourself what you can do better the next time around – and continue reading whatever expert advice you can get your hands on, as eCommerce changes everyday. In fact, there just may come a day when social media sales will outweigh its antiquated email counterpart.

2 Responses to “Shut up, social! Why email marketing still reigns supreme”

  1. The thing I like the most about e-mail marketing is that the list is yours. A Twitter and Facebook following is good, but what happens when/if they die out like Myspace. E-mail will always be there and you won’t lose the list. That’s what I like about it the most. And most importantly, the e-mail list should be targeted and quality, just like you mentioned.

    • David Rekuc says:

      Julie, great points. Acquiring a following on a social network is renting their attention, it may be a long term rental, but you have no power over when that might expire. Email provides a nice, owned alternative to that.

      Not to say acquiring a following on social networks isn't useful or important, but the real value of an email seems to be understated these days.

      Thanks for reading!

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