If you're running an eCommerce store, or any other type of online business you probably have an email list. You might send out emails every now and then, make announcements, send messages to customers, but do you really utilize email marketing to its fullest potential?
I mean, with all the latest marketing crazes - SEO, social media marketing, content marketing - who even has time for something as old as email? (Fun fact: the first email was sent 40 years ago!)
Well, email might be old, but it definitely is not outdated! Email marketing boasts a high click through rate, conversion rate, and ROI, and though it is behind organic search in terms of conversions, as SEO becomes more and more competitive, email marketing provides an excellent alternative.
In this post we'll explore a few reasons why all eCommerce stores should be using email marketing!
The Preferred Method of Communication
As of today there are over 2.5 billion email users in the world using a whopping 4.1 billion email accounts!
Just to put that into perspective let's compare that with the World's population:
That's right, there are more than half as many email addresses as there are people in the World! Now anything that can be compared to the World's population and not look miniscule is pretty significant, but that's just crazy.
Now to give this information a little eCommerce spin - 91% of consumers use email at least once a day, and U.S. consumers on average interact with 11 brands via email per day (Captera)! That means that your target customer is almost certainly actively using their email and actively engaging with brands already.
Ok, but people don't actually like to get marketing information to their inbox, right?
Wrong! Email is actually the preferred medium for marketing information! According to a study conducted by Exact Target, 77% of people prefer to receive opt-in marketing information via email. This number absolutely crushes the second place choice, direct mail, which received a meager 9%.
Quite clearly email is a fantastic place to be marketing, because so many people use it and so many people like to be marketed to on it.
The next question though is why do people like it so much for marketing?
The King of Customization
There's more than just convenience and familiarity behind consumer's appreciation of email marketing - they love it because it can be customized just for them!
How so? Well, just about every email platform that you would use for your business comes standard with list segmentation and analytics features. By using these features you can send targeted and relevant emails to the people on your mailing list.
Let's say you sell sports gear and you want to send out an email promoting men's (American) football pads, you can go through your segmented lists in order to pick out the right targeting options. In this case you may want to send your email to men living in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 30.
Another thing you could do is to send this email out with even more specific locations and then mention the local football team for each specific location - so people living in Philadelphia would get an email about the Eagles, people in New York would get an email about the Giants and the Jets, and so on.
You can see how by using segmentation your emails can be far more personalized, and would certainly be appreciated much more by your customers.
To take the segmentation example to the next level you can dive into the analytics. By doing this you can see what types of content your customers have interacted with most, or what products they seem to prefer.
You can then create lists based on this information in order to send even more highly targeted emails.
Clearly people who received highly personalized emails would prefer over less relevant advertisements.
Need a little proof? Take a look at these stats from a study done by MailChimp comparing emails sent from segmented lists with general ones:
The targeting and personalization abilities that email provides for you really make it a very powerful tool. And hey, if the people receiving your emails are happy, then you will definitely be happy too.
The Perfect Partner to Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the hot topics in the wide world of marketing these days. Everyone wants in. It provides tremendous opportunities for companies to gain exposure organically and through social media while also helping to establish brands as "authorities in their field." (Check out this post for more on Content Marketing for eCommerce).
All of this contributes to a brands potential for direct and indirect sales. After all, organic search still accounts for the lion's share of all online sales.
The problem is that gaining organic recognition is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more businesses compete for the same space. On top of that, even if your SEO strategies are top notch, and you're sure you will be ranked well (because you found the secret to success by breaking into the Google vault...) it will still take a while for your content to actually rank.
This is where your mailing list can really help you out. By building an opt-in mailing list for your blog you are essentially building a guarantee that your content will in fact be seen, because the people that sign up for your list, actually do want to read your content.
This can give you a huge boost!
Click through rates (CTR) from email is 3% for eCommerce stores (and varies for other industries). That means if you send out an email to 1000 people, 30 people will be clicking through to your content, reading it, and potentially sharing it with their friends on social networks, giving your content an added boost.
Are you ready for those numbers to be blown out of the water?
According to a study which tested the difference in CTR for emails that included social share buttons vs. those that didn't, CTR increases by 158% when share buttons are included! That brings your CTR up from 3% to 7.74%, meaning around 77 people will now see your content!
By utilizing email for your content marketing and combining it with your social networks you can really give your content a boost.
The Most Bang for your Buck
After everything that we have discussed so far, it should come as no surprise that the ROI on email marketing, both in terms of customer acquisition and in terms of sales, is excellent!
Lead Generation: Email is second only to organic search in customer acquisition, accounting for about 7%.
Sales: Email has an impressive ROI of around $44.25 for every $1 spent! (iContact)
Needless to say, your money can go very far with email.
What Should You Do?
You may be finishing this article now and thinking to yourself, if email is so great, why have I been wasting all this time on social media? So let me stop you there and say - don't think that!
Social media is an amazing tool that can help you grow your business in countless ways. It enables you to actively interact with your customers on a personal level, which helps with brand trust, customer support, and brand awareness. It is also very important to maintain multiple marketing channels.
That being said, you should definitely take time out of your schedule to build your email list and to plan out your email marketing strategy.