With the explosion of social media over the past few years, you might suspect that the use of e-mail, that ol’ standby, as a marketing tool would be on the decline. Not even close!
Consider these e-mail-related statistics in the B2B environment:
- In 2013, it is estimated that there will be 691 million corporate e-mail accounts worldwide, up from 657 million in 2012 and 568 million in 2009. (The Radicati Group)
- 71 percent of B2B firms use e-mail marketing. (Forrester, 2011)
- E-mail is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74 percent of all online adults. (Merkel Report, 2011)
Here are 15 reasons why you should include e-mail marketing in your promotional plans.
- There are a number of commercially-available platforms that make creating (branded, HTML versions), executing (create a list and blast) and measuring (built-in analytics) e-mail campaigns easier than ever. Two of the most popular are www.myemma.com and www.constantcontact.com.
- Because businesspeople have their smartphones with them nearly 24/7, your e-mails are literally being delivered into the palms of their hands.
- You deliver your message directly to your audience – they don’t have to go looking for it or stumble across it.
- Look at the statistics above. E-mail is the de facto standard for business communication because people are used to using it and are simply comfortable with it.
- E-mail marketing is very inexpensive, with costs as low as a penny or two per address when you blast.
- The built-in analytics of the available platforms allow you not only to tally how many e-mails were sent, received, opened and how many people linked from your e-mail back to your Web site but these platforms will even tell you who did it so you can follow-up.
- It supports your other marketing and business initiatives. Clients can link from an e-mail to your Web site and your social media sites; it can be used to help launch new products, support your content marketing and so on.
- E-mail can be very targeted. Simply split your list into the relevant groups and send a different e-mail message to each group.
- Ease-of-use and built-in analytics make for easy A/B testing (http://tiny.cc/aawbkw), allowing you create a process of continual improvement. You can learn which kinds of subject lines work best, what type of content is preferred, which layout works best, whether long or short text is preferred, etc.
- E-mail extends your reach into the marketplace. Send out your e-mail and provide valuable content and it will get forwarded on to others not currently on your list.
- Good content in your e-mail (as opposed to self-promotional and sales-focused) helps your firm establish trust and credibility among your target audience.
- Depending on what kind of content you provide, e-mail can also help position your firm in the industry and showcase you as a subject-matter expert.
- E-mail is a connector – it literally links people back to your Web site, blog or any important resource on the Internet.
- E-mail is key component in the lead-nurturing process, helping you to stay in touch with prospective clients.
- Client contacts who opt in to your e-mails want to hear from you, showing a heightened level of interest and making them more qualified prospective clients than those who don’t opt in.
So, are you interested in adding e-mail back into your mix? The following are five key things to do to help ensure success.
- Write about things your audience wants to hear about, not just what you want to write about. Consider articles on research methodologies, applications, new technology, white papers, case studies and so on.
- Be consistent. Once you start, stick to the timetable. If you’re unreliable with something as simple as e-mail, what does that say about the quality of your work as a company?
- Use an opt-in list. Anything else is really spam. Conversely, make it easy for a subscriber to opt out.
- Start with an editorial calendar. That is, plan out, for at least the next six months, what you are going to write about and when you’ll write about it. It’s a lot easier and far less stressful than trying to figure it out each time you need content.
- You can’t manage what you don’t measure so be thorough in your measuring. Look at delivery and bounce rates, open and click-through rates, list growth and sharing numbers and continually conduct A/B testing (see No. 9 above).
So, here we are, entering the fourth quarter of 2012. As you start looking ahead to 2013 and crafting your marketing plan, make sure that e-mail marketing plays an important role in it. You’ll be glad you did. Good luck and good marketing.
This article was first published for Quirk’s.
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