Of all the brand management and advertising avenues a company can take, email marketing might be the single most misunderstood. There are businesses that put all of their chips on email marketing, thinking that they will be able to simply put forth a bunch of communications that magically yield perfect conversion rates, visibility and engagement, but they are often wrong.
Then there are those who feel as though email marketing is an ancient, antiquated and otherwise useless endeavor that will never yield any results – they too are generally wrong. Rather, the fundamental characteristic of online branding strategies is proper integration, using each type of medium and process together in concert to put forth a desirable and consistent image in the eyes of the audience, be they current customers or yet-to-be-converted prospects.
Should all of the research be correct – which we think it is given how consistent the findings have been – email marketing can be viewed as the sail which all other endeavors are pushed by, as well as the anchor that keeps the ship stable in otherwise choppy waters. This is, of course, only the case when the email marketing strategy is up to snuff and aligned with customer preferences, industry best practices and the like.
Business leaders in retail and restaurants should always consider building a sound email marketing campaign before rolling the dice on other types of investments in digital mediums, including search engine optimization, blogging and otherwise. After all, generating leads and converting prospects are common achievements through email advertising endeavors, and you can take your brand to the next level by truly hitting these opportunities out of the park.
Above and beyond
Entrepreneur Magazine recently listed several ways in which businesses can not only get email marketing right, but propel their efforts to new heights through behavioral-based strategies. Remember, everyone and their mother (quite literally) is beginning to use email marketing campaigns, if they have not already been doing so for more than a decade now, and separating your brand and communications from those of competitors takes a lot of hard work.
According to the news provider, first impressions among newly converted clientele are critical to engaging and sustaining a profitable relationship, and welcome emails that are, for lack of a better word, perfect, can do just that. The source did note that plenty of businesses will send out welcome emails to new subscribers, and getting it done right and in a unique fashion will be a matter of understanding customers’ preferences, then targeting the communications accordingly.
On the flip side of that coin, Entrepreneur Magazine stated that companies will always need to view the dreaded unsubscribe decision as an opportunity to get better, asking those who are no longer interested why they want to leave and what could have been done differently to change the choice. As a note here, though, do not make it difficult for customers to unsubscribe, as this can make an already negative situation far worse, all but solidifying the individual’s decision to never come back again.
This also falls in the line of common sense and perhaps even common decency, as shoddy measures in an email marketing program can quickly spread through social media and other channels, thus snowballing into bigger problems for the brand.
Back to Entrepreneur Magazine’s suggestions, though, email receipts can act as a nice complement to marketing programs, especially when the business takes a unique approach to these communications, and brands should always focus on timeliness in all of these matters.
Since we are on the topic of hitting the ball out of the park, you will certainly need to have a tight means of measurement in place to evaluate the successes and failures of your email marketing campaign. After all, failing to accurately measure performance in this medium will be the equivalent of trying to run through an obstacle course with your eyes closed. Face plant, anyone?
Practical eCommerce explained some of the measures companies can take to ensure that they are getting the right metrics from their email marketing campaign, first asserting that conversion rates should be tracked properly. This is certainly the highest priority for this particular medium, but is far from being the only matter that needs to be covered when developing and managing a measurement strategy.
The source argued that subscriber value and domain metrics need to be reviewed regularly and in as targeted a fashion as possible, which is a bit more difficult through email marketing campaigns than others, such as SEO programs. However, the news provider pointed out that many popular email marketing service providers are now including options to help marketers measure the impact of their campaigns, and software is available to use in supplemental fashion so that the firm gets a 360-degree view of success and failure every step of the way.
Finally, Practical eCommerce noted that mobile traffic and conversion measurement should be integrated into the overall scope of metrics, but should also be benchmarked individually given the already immense and constantly growing popularity of smartphones, tablets and portable computers.
Email marketing feel like an uphill battle?
Next level marketing: advantage of email
Chances are if you do not believe that email marketing campaigns can be profitable, or if you struggle to sell the idea to executives and financial decision-makers in your firm, you will never be able to take your strategies to the next level. As such, consider some of the discussion points Forbes recently listed regarding the reasons behind increasing investments in email marketing, such as the fact that these measures can improve performance in other advertising pursuits.
Additionally, measurement can be a bit more objective and relatively low investments can yield very high returns, the news provider affirmed, meaning that budget allocations toward email marketing simply make good business sense. After all, what right-minded decision-maker is not up for a low-risk and high-reward investment?
Above all else, understand that email marketing is not only a proven, traditional form of digital advertising, but one that will remain effective for years to come.