Email marketing may seem old hat compared to social media and Pay Per Click, but it’s still highly effective and can deliver a very high return on investment. In fact it’s widely considered to produce one of the highest rates of return of any marketing channel. Which is why for many companies, email is a valuable part of their integrated online marketing strategy.
In this blog we’ll be looking at the advantages email marketing offers; how to get the most out of it; and how it can fit into your integrated marketing strategy.
It goes without saying that we’re not talking in this blog about sending spam; we’re only discussing sending targeted messages to people who’ve already signed up to your website or mailing list and have chosen to receive emails from you.
This isn’t just a moral issue or a legal issue, it’s a commercial one. Sending spam destroys trust in your brand.
Email marketing is cheap (no postage or paper), instant, flexible (it lets you respond to a sudden drop in sales by making cut price offers, for example), and can be easily tailored to suit the person receiving the email.
It’s this last point that’s its greatest asset, and that we’re going to examine now.
Because the people you’re emailing have signed up to your website or mailing list, you already know they have an interest in your brand.
They may well also have filled out a questionnaire or survey, giving you even more detailed information about their interests.
By tailoring your email closely to their personal likes, you ensure that the reader views it as relevant to them rather than as an annoyance. And email which is relevant is more likely to be opened, more likely to be read, and more likely to be acted on.
In short, the more relevant an email is to the reader’s interests, the more likely it will result in a conversion.
Segmenting your database means dividing your customers into different types, based on their interests or marketing personas. There are dozens of segmentation options you can choose – age, income bracket, hobbies, language, gender, employment status, etc.
By segmenting your database, you can write different copy for each category and make a different offer for each category. This ensures everyone gets a message and offer that appeals to them.
You’re probably wondering by now what all this has to do with creating an integrated marketing strategy?
The answer comes back to relevance – the essential factor that supports email marketing’s success.
We’ve seen that the more information you have about your customer’s likes and interests, the more successful your emails will be. But how do you get this information?
Surveys are great for finding out about your customers, but few customers complete them.
What are you going to do about the rest of your visitors? You know they landed on your website and signed up for emails, but often that’s just about all you know about them.
Rather than having a large black hole in the middle of your marketing strategy, full of people you know nothing about, you need to fill in the gaps with other data.
And that’s where keywords come into play. If you knew which keywords people are searching for when they found your website, it would tell you what they’re really looking for. Moz offers free trials and gives access to their SEO keyword search tool to help with your keyword research.
So analyzing your SEO and PPC (pay per click) results to find the keywords your customers are interested in can greatly enhance your understanding of what they’re looking for, and why they came to you.
If you have Google Analytics set up this will help you learn more about your visitors too, as will Google Webmaster. (If you don’t have analytics set up, why not? You’re wasting a whole crop of valuable data. If it’s too complex to set up yourself, it’s worth getting help.)
Slowly, by analyzing all the data you can get your hands on, you can build up an image of who your visitors are, what they’re interested in, and how you can appeal to them.
Which is exactly the information you want to incorporate into your email campaign, to ensure your emails are relevant.
Of course, you’re never going to get as much detailed and specific information this way as you would from a customer survey. But it’s far better than nothing.
Email marketing offers other integration opportunities too. PPC is a fast way to drive relevant traffic to your site to build up your email list. And in return, email can make a great contribution to increasing your social media presence and your website traffic. Just add social media buttons and links to your best landing pages to your email. Getting people to share your offers and spread your brand around for free is a great way to raise your profile and multiply the return from your email campaign. Many companies, for example, email out discount codes specifically to be shared with friends and family, which then ensures more people are driven to visit their website.
As with all integrating marketing, remember to keep the message in your emails consistent with the rest of your marketing messages. Do that, and with email so cheap and fast, you’ve got very little to lose and a lot to gain by integrating it into your wider marketing strategy.
In the next blog, we’ll be looking at how SEM or ‘Pay Per Click’ marketing fits into your integrated marketing strategy.