20 May Why Email Marketing is Worth the Investment
It can sometimes seem like the world of internet marketing is a blur. Things change quickly. It wasn’t that long ago that social media advertising was brand new – and now it’s a staple of most online marketing plans. For that reason, time-tested strategies like email marketing can seem dusty and dated by comparison.
Email marketing has been around far longer than social media marketing. Is there still a place for it in your marketing mix, or should you be focusing on new, shiny things like live video, Instagram stories, and virtual reality?
Email Marketing by the Numbers
Business owners and marketers track a lot of metrics, but in the end, there’s one that matters the most: return on investment. You should know that email marketing has a killer ROI. In fact, as of 2016 the average ROI on email marketing was 4400% — an impressive number that becomes even more so when you realize that was an increase from 3800% just a year earlier.
What about automated emails? It turns out they generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails.
There are lots more statistics I could quote you, but here’s the bottom line. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective, most profitable marketing techniques available. If you’re not making room for email in your marketing mix, the chances are good that you’re spending more than you should and earning less than you deserve.
Tips for Writing Engaging (and Effective) Marketing Emails
I love writing marketing emails. There’s something about it that sparks my creativity. I feel like I’m getting an opportunity to speak directly to my clients’ customers. When I have a clear customer profile or avatar and I truly know the client’s brand, writing emails becomes intuitive and enjoyable. Readers can sense that.
What should your marketing emails be like? Here are a few of the things I’ve learned writing them.
#1: Don’t Sell in Every Email
There are some brands that use email marketing to sell. Think Bed, Bath & Beyond – every email they send is announcing a sale or offering a discount.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sure they get a decent number of clicks and sales from those emails. But are they effective for small businesses?
In my experience, they’re not. When people hand over their email addresses, it’s unlikely that they want to be bombarded with an endless string of aggressive sales pitches. What they want more than anything else is VALUE.
Every email you send should have a call to action at the end. But, the body of the email – the bulk of what you say – should be geared toward helping your customers. Give them the benefit of your know-how and expertise. They’ll appreciate it – and they might buy something too!
#2: Use Email Marketing to Tell a Story
You want people to read your emails, otherwise you wouldn’t bother sending them. One way to engage your readers and make them care about you and your business is to tell them a compelling story.
For example, you may decide to tell people the story of how you created a product or founded your company. Or, you may decide to share a testimonial or explain an experience you had with a customer.
Some of my favorite email-writing experiences have been the ones where I’ve been able to craft a story for a client. I’m a storyteller at heart. Sharing your experiences with your subscribers can help you engage their emotions. Ultimately, it can also help you attract new customers and turn one-time customers into loyal brand advocates.
#3: Leave Your Readers Wanting More
We all love a story that leaves us wanting more. Email marketing is an ideal format for creating a bit of suspense. Back in the day, writers like Charles Dickens published their stories in serial form and each installment was designed to keep readers eager to learn what would happen next.
Your emails can be the same. I’m not suggesting that you need to manufacture drama, but a skilled writer can draw out a story and make it suspenseful. There’s a natural rise and fall to any story. In email marketing, we call a series of emails that tells a tale a soap opera sequence – and they can be hugely effective if used properly.
On a related note, I often like to tease the next email in a postscript at the end of a message. It’s a good way to let people know what to expect – and make them look forward to what’s coming.
#4: Embrace the White Space
One mistake I see repeated in different forms of content is a lack of white space. In case you don’t know, white space is the space between and around words, sentences, and paragraphs.
White space makes content easy to read. It allows your subscribers’ eyes to skim down the page as they read your email, getting the high points without feeling bogged down.
You can increase white space by:
- Keeping most paragraphs to three lines or less
- Using occasional one-line paragraphs
- Adding bullet points and numbered lists
- Including images in your email
At the same time, make sure your emails are optimized for mobile. You don’t want your readers to be forced to scroll horizontally to read your content.
#5: Personalize Your Marketing Emails
Depending on the specific needs and audience of your business, you should consider segmenting your email list to deliver targeted content to the people who are most likely to benefit from it.
Most email automation services allow for easy list segmentation. You can even ask your subscribers to self-segment by getting them to indicate their email preferences when they subscribe. Amazon has been using that approach for years and it’s certainly an effective one.
It’s also smart to include the subscriber’s first name in your email greeting. You can do that by requesting a first name in addition to an email address on your subscription form. (I don’t recommend asking for more than that if you can avoid it. Adding fields to your opt-in form is more likely to increase your bounce rate than it is to help you grow your list.)
It may take a bit of extra work to create email sequences for a segmented list, but your subscribers will appreciate it.
It’s Time to Reap the Rewards of Email Marketing
In the end, your marketing emails will be effective if you cater to your audience’s needs and deliver engaging, entertaining, and useful content.
Need some help crafting your next email marketing sequence? Click here to fill out my contact form and schedule your free, 30-minute consultation!