Email — a 1970s invention! — is the best channel for lead generation, conversion, engagement, and retention. But how can that still be true today? The reason is surprisingly simple: because email ‘speaks’ to a customer in a way that other methods don’t, or can’t.
“Getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited to their home for dinner. If they ask you to take your shoes off, you respectfully do so. It’s the same with email marketing. Be on your best behavior at all times and remember: you’re in their house.” — Nathan Hangen, creator of IgnitionDeck
Wake Up and Check Your Email
Findings from Statista indicate that there are nearly four billion email users in the world. This gives email a significant advantage over any other sales and marketing method. But what about timing? Email rules there as well. A staggering 58% of people open their email first thing in the morning, before checking social media and notifications.
People who check their email before any other digital communication method are more goal-oriented than their social counterparts. They also tend to do their research to find the best deals available. Those are the people that both B2B and B2C companies should be laser-focused on targeting.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Email continues to be one of the most effective tools to reach both prospects and consumers on a personal level. There are several powerful reasons for its success:
- It’s measurable, lending itself to testing and iteration
- It can be personalized to build strong and authentic brand affinity
- Email can be tailored to every stage of the buyer’s journey
- It can be automated, freeing up marketers’ time for more personalized tweaking and tactics
- It’s cost-effective, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget
Let’s dive into more detail to explore the advantages of email marketing as it pertains to the customer buying journey.
Advance lead nurturing. The average ecommerce conversion rate is a dismal 1-2%. This is where nurturing is vital, especially for B2B companies where the sales cycle is a bit longer. Keep your customers’ interests top-of-mind with drip campaigns designed to encourage and engage. It’s a delicate balance: if you hit a customer right away with hard-sell messages, they’re likely to back off. But if you leave reaching out for too long, they may forget all about you. So use your email tactics respectfully with an introduction and the slow sell. After all, it’s the long game that leads to long-term benefits:
Ability to personalize. Cut through the noise with a personalized message that will resonate with your target customer, rather than annoy them. Gone are the days of mass marketing messages — people want to be communicated with on an authentic and human level. That means going beyond just stuffing a first name in an email and sending it off. The numbers are astonishing: marketers have experienced a 760% jump in sales when using segmented information to target potential customers.
By employing an email marketing platform such as Dyspatch, you can make serious personalization leaps that engage. Reference a recent purchase, send a roundup of similar products, and tailor emails to specific buyer journey milestones. Customers are more likely to value messages customized to their preferences and past interactions with your brand.
More conversions. OK, you’ve attracted interest in your product or service by personalizing your message based on customer behavior. All of this leads to — ta da! — a paying customer. Here are some powerful stats from the DMA that show email’s clear advantage:
- Sixty-six percent of online consumers made a purchase as a result of a marketing email
- Fifty-nine percent of marketers say email is best for retention
- Fifty-two percent say email is ideal for conversion over other stages in the life cycle
This shows the longevity of email’s value — and that value extends far beyond acquisition.
Increased engagement. Once the honeymoon phase of courting and converting is over, don’t drop the ball! Keep your hard-won customer’s interest top-of-mind with engagement tactics to increase the chance of creating a repeat customer. After thanking them for their purchase, follow up with messages that:
- Recommend similar products or services that complement their recent buying decision
- Target a need based on their interests and suggest a premium upgrade
- Request that they fill out a (simple!) survey of their recent purchase — a great opportunity to use AMP for email
- Ask to review the purchased product or signed-up service — a valuable tactic to boost your reputation and interest from prospects
Customer loyalty and trust. Speaking of reviews, a customer recommendation of your product or service can lead to — you guessed it — loyalty. Loyalty translates into trust, and trust into retention. Putting all that work into personalizing emails can certainly pay off: segmented emails are considered trustworthy by 77% of consumers. This compares to a whopping 37% of U.S. consumers who don’t trust social media companies with their data.
Automating tasks. Do yourself a favor and employ automation. You can execute an effective email campaign without having to spend time on the fiddly — albeit crucial — tasks. Marketing automation tools such as Marketo or Hubspot allow you to cut down on the mundane while optimizing your tactics. Automation can help:
- Sort through email list segments
- Capture leads
- Analyze lead behavior
- Monitor campaign performance
Remember that stat about email being the first thing most people check when they get up? By scheduling emails according to time zones, your message can be in someone’s inbox when they’re sipping their morning coffee. That’s the power of automation.
Another smart way to help automate processes is to turn to your customers. Get them to manage their email preferences by customizing their content preferences. Recipients can eliminate emails that don’t apply (or appeal), and you can focus on what they do want to see. Plus, there’s the fact that people are less likely to unsubscribe if they are getting the communications they actually want. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Email vs. Paid Advertising & Social Media
According to LinkedIn, consumers don’t even notice 92% of online ads! That alone should stop you in your tracks when considering online advertising channels. And even if Facebook and Google ads do bring in new leads, that’s typically where it ends. How do you follow up with users to convert them into buyers? And turn buyers into satisfied customers? What about upselling? Referrals? The list goes on.
Email shines when the key objective is to create and nurture long-lasting customer relationships. According to Campaign Monitor, 72% of people would rather receive marketing materials from brands through email. This is opposed to 17% who prefer marketing via social. Because it allows audience engagement on a higher level, email outperforms social in terms of reach, personalization, and content value.
All in on #TeamEmail or a Mix-and-Match Approach?
At this point you may be wondering why you should even bother with non-email marketing channels. The reality is that a mix of email, paid advertising, and social is still a good idea for most companies. However, the stats show that email deserves much more focus. Email marketing alone can solve time and budget issues while creating authentic connections between customers and your brand. And ultimately it can help you increase your company’s sales and profitability. That makes email hands-down the best marketing channel. Just remember to take your shoes off when you’re invited in.