Email Still King of Online Marketing

A recent survey by Datran Media shows that good old email is still the number one tactic for producing online marketing results.
email results

Over 80% of the marketers surveyed said email was the most effective online marketing tactic, followed by search at over 57% and display ads at 42%.

(Interestingly the survey didn’t ask how much they spent on improving onsite conversion factors, but that’s a whole other story.)

Email’s dominance is not particularly surprising; it has always been a highly effective online marketing tactic.

However, the results show that, despite many online practitioners pre-occupation with video and interactive ads, email is still where the greatest results lie for any online business owner or marketer.

The survey also found that many marketers planned to spend more on email in the coming year.

What can you learn from this?

Get Your Email Working Fantastically First

It may seem obvious, but fine-tuning your email campaigns should be a one of your main online marketing priorities before you are seduced by some of the many techno candy online marketing alternatives.

The ROI from a properly implemented email campaign will greatly outperform options such as online advertising and SEM.

Crafting a good email, however, relies heavily on all of the traditional elements of direct marketing and advertising.

It needs great copy, not just good copy: Copy that inspires customers to take action; Copy that sells. This means investing in the services of a good copywriter.

The design needs to place the right calls to action, assurance points, and invitations in all the right places.

Contact details need to be clear and crisp.

It is a job for experienced marketers, design and advertising professionals.

Email’s technical performance is also crucial. Simply put: It must work. It must be able to be sent easily to all of your customers without activating spam filters, being bounced or lost.

It must render properly in their email clients so that they all can read it.

It must have proper analytics. Tracking methods that let you see how effective each email is.

So let the technical and analytical staff have their input too.

Unfortunately because email is so easy, and cheap, doing it properly is often ignored, or it is abused as a quick and dirty medium. (This is just basic human nature. More often than not, we simply don’t respect things that are free or cheap.)

Spending good money on expensive copywriters, designers, online technical and analysis staff seems like overkill for something that started being free.

Treating it this way, however, robs many online businesses of many sales, so pay some respect.

Respect and Delight the Customer

If you have a customer’s email address, then most likely at some point they have given it to you and said it’s ok for you to call them, and that they’d like to see you again.

So don’t be an oaf and show up for the second date with preconceived expectations. The customer still needs to be courted.

Receiving and reading an email is, after all, a personal experience.

The recipient is having a one to one relationship with your company via their PC, mobile or laptop. They are alone at the PC, often in their own space and time and at their ease.

Take the opportunity to impress them. This is all too often where many email campaigns fall down. Instead of treating it as a “one to one” highly personal communication, many marketers use it as an old fashioned, “one to many” broadcast medium. Going straight for the sale is a sure fire way to activate the “Delete” button.

It’s an easy trap to fall into, but no customer likes to feel like they are being treated as part of the herd, they like to feel special and that they are individually being looked after. Email is perfect for this with great copy and clever design.

List segmentation and customer relationship management programs also help.

Once you have all of these in place, you still have to take your game on to the field and implement your campaign.

If you have your tracking and analytics in place, then you can see how effective the campaign was, analyse the results and make improvements for the next email campaign.

Over time, you should be able to build highly effective emails. Obviously, you have to work at it over a sustained period, but that is what great relationships are about. If you want the results, that’s what you have to do.

Ultimately, there are no easy shortcuts, there is only doing what works.

About the Survey

In December 2008, Datran Media conducted its third annual marketing and media survey by reaching out to over 3,000 industry executives from Fortune 1000 brands and leading interactive agencies including Sony, Macy’s, Razorfish and RAPP .

Further Reading:

Datran Media 3rd Annual Marketing and Media Survey Results

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