Is email still important?

You may hear Millennials and younger generations don’t like email. Is the death of email upon us? Social media platforms continue to grow as a preferred method of communication. Despite this fact, email remains a powerful and universal digital marketing tool in your toolbox.

I believe the era of email is over when social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter stop sending email to keep in touch with their members. It is true younger generations prefer social communication with their friends. However, when they enter the workforce, an email is required. According to Hubspot, a respected marketing resource, 86 percent of professionals prefer email when communicating for business.

Email is the most universal form of online business communication available. Other forms of communication are too segmented. Not everyone has a Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat account. Yet, I’m sure you are hard-pressed to find a business professional without an email account or two. It’s expected that email will continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Gmail has passed 1 billion users worldwide, which is one-third of the number of people expected to have an email account by 2020.

Why Email For Marketing?
One of the most important reasons email works well for marketing is it’s an opt-in system. Most emails you receive are from people you know or companies which you have a relationship. You can find yourself on a random list, however, in most cases, it’s easy to opt-out.

The best email list is homegrown from your customer base. These are the people who already know and trust you. People who give your company their email voluntarily are your best future prospects. This means it’s important to start collecting emails before you need them. According to the online statistics and marketing research company Statista, 86 percent of consumers like to receive monthly promotional emails from companies they do business with.

It’s worth noting that only 15 percent of consumers like to receive daily emails. Obviously, it depends on the industry. However, if you can send something of high value every day or weekly, your customers are likely to appreciate the emails. Emails which focus on the company have lower success rates compared to emails which focus on the needs and interests of the customer. Unless you’re Apple, Google or Tesla, chances are most people don’t care about the company internal newsletter and press release information.

Collecting Emails
While it’s possible to purchase an email list, most lists you have access to are tired and worn out. Collect your own emails. One of the best methods is to create a valuable download for your target market. For example, an ebook, white paper, a statistics chart, infographic or video. I’ve had many clients and associates earn new business by setting themselves up as a topic expert. Give people the option to receive your company blog via email. Creativity is important. Think about your customer, the questions they ask and the type of information they seek. Quality information can go viral resulting in a robust email list.

Sending Emails
One of the most important things you can do is segment your email list. This means to create multiple lists. Each list should relate to a specific topic, message or customer demographic. In other words, send the right message to the best prospect.

I keep my email lists segmented based on how I earn the email. For example, my blog email list is separate from my download promotions and YouTube community email lists. If relevant, I’ll use multiple lists for a specific campaign. Yet, I want to make sure I only send emails to people who care about the topic. This improves open and reduces unsubscribe rates.

If you achieve a 25 percent open rate, the number of people who open your email, you are in good shape. Your email campaign is most likely trending above average for your industry. If you find your open rates below 15 percent you should consider the quality of your list, your message or both.

Click-through rates, when someone clicks on a link within the email, vary widely depending on the type of offer. You can improve all your email engagement by A/B testing of your emails. Take a sample of your email list, split the list and send a different version of the email to each group. Most marketing email providers offer this option.

It’s important to only change one item in each email test. The reason is if you test more than one element, you don’t know which adjustment improved your open or click through rate. Try testing headlines with words such as Thank You, or the name of the recipient, for better open rates. Test headlines and photographs inside your email copy. Even changing the color of the call to action button can affect results.

Everyone hates unsubscribes. If your unsubscribe rate is under half a percent, don’t worry about it. It’s normal, and people unsubscribe for many reasons such as a change of interest, industry or email. If you find your unsubscribe rate is regularly above 2 percent, it’s important to figure out why. It often has to do with the receiver not finding value or what they expect from your emails.

More Data
There are many good reasons to use email as part of your marketing. Econsultancy states that 75 percent of companies earn good to excellent ROI (return on investment) from their email campaigns.

When you create a campaign, don’t forget about the importance of mobile. According to 2015 statistics, 48 percent of emails are opened via smartphone. Recent indications are it’s over 50 percent today. The percentage jumps to 75 percent when you single out Gmail users, as reported by TechCrunch.

Email is still strong. It’s a powerful way to gain loyalty, engagement, and retention of your customers. If you consider the development of an email campaign, start gathering emails now. If you are creative and think about the customer first, email will impact your bottom line with positive results.

Rosh Sillars is a digital marketing consultant, author and speaker. You can find daily business and marketing advice on his YouTube channel

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