With the advent of social media and a host of new ways to market your brand and products online, many businesses forget about the power of email as a marketing channel. But, according to the 2012 Pew Internet Survey, almost 9 in 10 adults go online to check email, more often than they shop online or visit social-media sites. If you’re still on the fence about investing the time and effort into crafting a newsletter, then read on to see just how beneficial email marketing can be for your business.
1. Email newsletters drive sales.
According to Jay Baer at Convince & Convert, 44 percent of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
Over the years at Mad Mimi, I’ve seen amazing examples of customers driving material sales via their email newsletters, like the realtor who wrote me to say how her newsletter landed her a $1 million sale. More commonly, Mad Mimi customers write to me explaining how they rely on sales generated from email marketing to put them in the black each month.
It’s actually quite simple to understand why email marketing is so effective when it comes to selling. When a recipient views your email, you’ve got the opportunity to highlight a product, explain the benefits, and connect them to a point of sale in moments (if you do online sales).
People are impulsive, and including an incentive like a coupon, a special promotion, or even a call to action (“Call us now!”) can be the impetus for your reader to take action. This impulsivity is why 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week, according to research from Blue Kangaroo.
2. You can connect with your customers.
A recent Return Path study found that consumers receive more newsletters than person-to-person emails. While this may not be surprising, Return Path also found that one reason for that is because consumers want to receive commercial email. According to Return Path, "When newsletters deliver great content and follow email best practices, they help marketers measurably strengthen subscriber engagement and stay connected to their audiences.”
Customers want to connect to the businesses and brands they like. Connecting to your customers in person is a matter of being personable, presentable, and professional—and that's easy to do via email as well. Your newsletter can provide great value, beyond sales, by informing your customers with interesting content that resonates with them.
So, how do you provide value, and why does it matter?
People don’t buy because you sell. They buy because they trust you, are loyal to you, and are fans of your business.
There are many ways to build that loyalty and connection via email. It could be a coffee shop’s newsletter about different beans and the best ways to prepare certain roasts. It could be a B2B business sharing trade news of interest to their industry. If you’re informing alongside your selling, you’re building a long-term relationship with your customers. That’s connecting.
3. You can boost your social media following.
According to a recent blog post from Salesforce, emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158 percent higher click-through rate.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are integral to your overall marketing and growth strategies. Growing those channels, however, can be tricky.
Email newsletters are highly effective for building your online community. By starting a conversation in the inbox, where engagement is more focused, and then finishing it in the social media arena, which has more reach, you’ll generate more activity on Facebook feeds and beyond.
This Mashable article recommends sending an email campaign each month in which the goal is to get readers active on your social media sites.
4. You can increase traffic to your website.
According to the Salesforce blog, 82 percent of consumers open emails from companies.
If you want people to visit your website, it’s simply not enough to hope that your customers will gravitate to your site organically. Your email newsletter plays an active role in site traffic and sales.
You wouldn’t throw a dinner party and assume that the right folks show up. If you want people to stop by your website, browse your content, and purchase, you need to invite, encourage and incentivize their presence. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as including a strong call to action and ensuring your email is well targeted. You may also want to read this recent blog post I wrote about how to drive more clicks from email newsletters.
5. Creating an email newsletter is easier than you think.
According to Experian, $1 spent on email marketing typically provides a return of $45 to $50.
The biggest barrier to sending out email newsletters regularly is that many people view it as a chore. Crafting a long, in-depth email newsletter is fine, but in most cases it’s unnecessary.
Selecting a single (and simple) goal for your newsletter means it's easy to build and stay on schedule, and you avoid sinking too much time into it. Single-topic emails are also easy for readers to digest and keep up with, whether your goal is monthly, weekly, or daily sending.
In researching email newsletter statistics and click-through rates, I found that in over 90 percent of emails, the first link gets the most clicks. Every subsequent link sees a sharp drop off from the click-through rate of the link before. This strongly implies that topics after your leading subject in an email are viewed as superfluous. Instead of creating a lengthy, time-consuming newsletter, send less content more regularly. For instance, instead of sending a long monthly newsletter, you may want to try a shorter, semi-monthly (or even weekly) one.
Dean Levitt is Chief of Culture at Mad Mimi Email Marketing. Based in Honolulu, he spends altogether too much time thinking about email, people, music, and customer support.
Photos from top: Thinkstock, Shutterstock