Your jaw will drop if you thought email marketing was no longer relevant

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By Michelle Nieset, Vice President of Customer Success

I get asked this question all the time:  with digital ads, search engine optimization, and mobile-friendly websites – does email marketing still play a role in all this digital marketing?  

Well, my answer is definitely yes.  And I’ll tell you why….

In the buyer’s journey, there are so many different touch points a consumer makes along the way before they actually commit to being a customer.  

And in order to be present wherever your prospects are in the buying cycle, you need to be in front of them.  And a big piece of that overall strategy should definitely include some kind of email marketing campaign.

Consider these statistics when it comes to the importance of email marketing:

So now that you’ve accepted that email marketing needs to be a critical part of your overall marketing strategy, let’s examine two types of email marketing:

Email newsletters

This is when you deploy content to a list that YOUR users have specifically subscribed to, including your prospects and current clients.  It is a list that YOU have curated over time. This would be more content-heavy than a targeted email blast (which we’ll talk about in a minute.)  

You still need to have an element of design and gearing the user toward those calls to action you want them to take, even if it is simply to read an article or download a white paper.  To get them to your website, we need solid imagery to take them to external sites. Click here for a great example of an email newsletter. Notice that it doesn’t SELL you outright. It shares Thought Leadership written by the company, and only at the bottom does it “sell” by offering you a chance to read the company’s testimonials.  

If you are already blogging, you have built-in content to use in your email newsletter, killing two birds with one stone.  

Email newsletters are best used for:  nurturing prospects, engaging with current customers, helping with client retention, and educating them on other products for potential upsell opportunities.

Targeted email blast

A targeted email blast is when you send out an email to a list of people who fit the qualitative criteria of your ideal prospect.  It involves working with a vendor that takes an audience list of consumers who have opted into a list and answered the question “yes, I want to receive content on this topic.”  

Then, you’re able to craft a message to them – and design an email blast that focuses on whatever call to action we’re trying to make.  That can involve awareness of a specific product, specials coming up, and brand education if the recipient is not exposed to your brand already.  It’s a very simple type blast that focuses on call to action and branding. Click here for a great example of a targeted email blast.

Targeted email blasts are best used for:  branding plays, especially for those SMB that perhaps don’t have their own list yet, or want to broaden their reach.  

In both email blasts and email newsletters, it’s important to put yourself in the client’s shoes.  Think through the types of content YOU as a consumer like to digest – that others would be ready for taking some type of action toward your business or your website.

A few pieces of advice for what to include in your email marketing campaigns that will help increase your open rates and calls to action:

  1. Make sure your email marketing pieces are optimized for mobile.  This is critical, since research shows that 55% of email marketing pieces are read on mobile devices first.  
  2. You should spend a good amount of time crafting the best subject line possible, since it’s a huge factor on whether or not people will open your email.  In fact, it’s so important that I might even suggest that you spend almost as much time crafting your subject line as you spend writing the newsletter itself.  A recent report found that subject lines with 6 to 10 words deliver the highest open rate, which means that around 8 words is the optimum number of words for an effective subject line.   
  3. You’ve gathered enough interest to get someone to open your email.  You’ve captured their attention and can’t afford to let them down with poorly written copy.  That’s why investing in a strong content marketing strategy is critical for anyone who’s looking to be successful with email marketing.  
  4. Research has shown that email personalization – using the user’s name –  increases the likelihood that you’re could get up to 20% better open rates with your email marketing project.  

Sometimes, the toughest part of email marketing is just getting started.  At Bell Media, we offer both email newsletter and targeted email blast services, so consider partnering with us to get your email marketing off the ground and off to a strong start.  

Bell Media is a leading digital marketing agency that is focused on delivering desired business outcomes for clients. We are a Google Premier Partner, and a 3X Inc 5000 Company, with offices in Montgomery, Birmingham, Nashville, and Houston. We consult with businesses to determine where they want to go with their businesses, and then recommend the best product mix to help them achieve their goals. Check out more of our thought leadership in the Blog section of our website.