In our post “The Death of the Cookie” we recommend building relationships with your customers as a means of replacing the re-marketing techniques based on tracking cookies with a more direct, personalised relationship that is genuinely two way. We’re going talk about the benefits of Email Marketing in this post as a means of building better relationships.
We are also going to mention in passing, CRM systems that are popular with SMBs. There has been a lot of innovation on this front so we may follow up with a dedicated post.
There are in fact many more than five benefits, but they fall into five categories quite neatly.
Low Cost of Entry
Mailing software typically has a low cost entry point – free. The most popular mailer solutions all have a business model that allows a certain level of use at zero cost. We have worked with four products, Mail Chimp, MailerLite, Klayvio and SendinBlue that offer free entry level accounts and allow you the freedom to experiment with the medium and see if it works for you. Your only investment is Time.
Reach an Engaged Audience
Signing People up
It is not acceptable these days to simply add every email address you can get your hands on to a mailing list. Nor is it advisable to buy mailing lists. The reason should be obvious. We all get far too much email and most of it languishes unread in the trash folder. You can send mail to existing customers and you can send mail to people that sign up through your website. Anything else risks falling foul of the data privacy laws encapsulated in the GDPR.
The GDPR is a Europe wide legislation governing data privacy. It has many aspects but the one that concerns us here is that the GDPR makes it mandatory to build mailing lists using a double opt-in structure.
There is much talk in the UK about having our own data laws with less stringent requirements. Probably best to treat this as hot air – the GDPR legislation protects residents of the EU so if you ignore it and an EU citizen signs up – you are at fault. That’s the beauty of the internet, you have global reach. The downside is you need to respect local law.
What is Double Opt-in?
Double Opt-in is mandatory these days. It refers to the process of signing up to a mailing list. The first stage is typically a form on a website where the user fills in their email address and presses a “Submit” button. That is the first opt-in.
The second Optin arrives in the shape of an email that asks them to confirm that they really want to join the list.
What this means is that your numbers will be smaller because there is an attrition rate on the second opt-in, but they will be receptive to your messages.
Time to Build an Audience
It will take a while to build a large mailing list. So the best advice is to use your social media feeds as well as your website to cultivate new subscribers. It’s worth it because the conversion rate for mailing lists is much higher than it is for advertisements.
Luckily for us, Mailchimp have already done the statistical analysis for opening rates per industry.
|Industry||Average Open Rate||Average Click Rate||Hard Bounce||Soft Bounce||Unsubscribe Rate|
|All non-labeled accounts||22.71%||2.91%||0.40%||0.61%||0.25%|
|Agriculture and Food Services||23.31%||2.94%||0.32%||0.50%||0.28%|
|Architecture and Construction||22.51%||2.51%||0.73%||1.18%||0.32%|
|Arts and Artists||26.27%||2.95%||0.30%||0.51%||0.28%|
|Beauty and Personal Care||16.65%||1.92%||0.26%||0.33%||0.30%|
|Business and Finance||21.56%||2.72%||0.43%||0.55%||0.20%|
|Computers and Electronics||19.29%||2.08%||0.47%||0.79%||0.27%|
|Education and Training||23.42%||2.90%||0.32%||0.51%||0.21%|
|Entertainment and Events||20.51%||2.36%||0.28%||0.43%||0.26%|
|Health and Fitness||21.48%||2.69%||0.30%||0.40%||0.40%|
|Home and Garden||21.60%||3.03%||0.32%||0.52%||0.35%|
|Marketing and Advertising||17.38%||2.04%||0.44%||0.68%||0.27%|
|Media and Publishing||22.15%||4.62%||0.14%||0.27%||0.12%|
|Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||21.72%||2.49%||0.51%||0.63%||0.28%|
|Music and Musicians||21.88%||2.94%||0.28%||0.48%||0.26%|
|Photo and Video||23.24%||3.23%||0.43%||0.65%||0.40%|
|Recruitment and Staffing||21.14%||2.53%||0.45%||0.53%||0.30%|
|Restaurant and Venue||20.39%||1.40%||0.32%||0.45%||0.39%|
|Social Networks and Online Communities||21.06%||3.32%||0.20%||0.34%||0.22%|
|Software and Web App||21.29%||2.45%||0.65%||0.97%||0.37%|
|Travel and Transportation||20.44%||2.25%||0.31%||0.51%||0.24%|
- Opening Rate – percentage of emails opened
- Click Rate – percentage of clicks on links (CTAs) contained in the email
- Hard Bounce – no such email address
- Soft Bounce – Accepted by server (ie. address exists) but cannot be delivered to the inbox (quota may be exceeded)
- Unsubscribe – Please don’t send me anymore of these emails!
These figures are only really useful as a guide in the most general sense. There are many factors other than the fact of the email being sent that feed into the click rate. Video for example tends to get watched. Pictures are more engaging than text, Clear CTA’s get more clicks than unclear etc.
We have found these figures useful in setting expectations – we generally aim for 25% or higher opening rate for example. One of the key benefits of email marketing is that the click rates are almost twice those of advertising.
Drive Revenue Directly
E Mail marketing should be focused on delivering value to your customers, not simply as a sales channel. Having said that, things like Subscriber discounts, deliver value to your subscribers and drive revenue directly and quickly.
Care needs to be exercised though, just as social media posts should not be exclusively about the sender, mail shots should not be used exclusively to drive revenue. People don’t generally like to feel they are being sold to.
Our own policy is to offer real value in our mail shots, free, actionable advice every month and to quietly offer our services should they be required. We’re not shouty about it, and that reflects the way we run our business in real time. We believe that over the long term, good value trumps sales tactics.
Of course one of the major benefits of email marketing is the speed with which it makes its presence felt. Where SEO and even PPC can take weeks and months to show a return, a mail shot is read within minutes of being sent and often acted upon fairly quickly after that.
Easy to Measure
As a data driven company, we love the fact that email is easy to measure. It’s not simply that you can see the results quickly, it is also easy to compare different strategies to see what works best.
Say for example that we wanted to test which CTA button is better, a red one or a blue one – it’s simple, I split my list into two segments, send one the red button and the other the blue. This is called A/B Testing and its a brutally effective way of comparing variables in a campaign.
Typically, with a large list we’ll test a mailout on a segment and then make decisions about the final format.
Greatest Benefits of Email Marketing
In terms of brand building and reinforcement Email Marketing is very effective indeed. The factors around ROI, Speed and Engagement are near priceless. No other marketing medium comes close and some are much more expensive.
How Can I Build on Email Marketing?
Email marketing is very effective for small businesses and large. However to build a sophisticated Sales process including Email marketing as another string to your bow requires something other than Excel to use as a repository for the data you will get from your campaigns.
Automated Mail Funnels
Email funnels help bring your subscribers into your world using a series of pre defined emails to nudge them gently towards buying decisions. Much loved by the hordes of coaches inhabiting LinkedIn. Use these carefully as done badly they are a huge turnoff. A level of automation is featured in all of the systems I’ve name checked.
Mail is usually a key part of a CRM Customer relationship management is a process in which a business administers its interactions with customers, typically using data analysis to study large amounts of information. In business data matters and trends if they are observable matter more. CRM systems enable the gathering and analysis of data and provide a repository for all the information you gather about every customer you have.
You can use this data to schedule all of your contacts with your customers, factoring in emails, sales calls, meeting and monitor the whole relationship holistically instead of the individual components.
For the larger SMBs, Salesforce is hard to beat. Downstream a little we find Zoho, a well featured cloud based offering that is affordable and easy to use and DotDigital, not strictly a CRM system but an omnichannel marketing tool that brings CRM type analytics to bear on Email and SMS marketing.
At the smaller end of the SMB sector there are two CRM offerings that are well worth a look. Hubspot is cloud based but can become expensive once you start activating functionality.
The second, FluentCRM is not a cloud offering. It is hosted on WordPress and you have total control of your data and the system that runs it. We like Fluent a lot. It’s not a system for a large company but it boasts excellent integration with a whole range of WordPress technologies such as Lifter LMS, LearnDash, Fluent Forms, WPFusion and more.
Hopefully this post has been useful in outlining some of the benefits of Email marketing. We will follow up with a detailed review of MailerLite which is the software we use, over at Digital Skin in the coming weeks. If you’ve found it useful drop a comment into the form below and sign up to our newsletter in the orange box below to get a taste of how we think a newsletter should be run!
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