April 25, 2010
In these fiercely competitive times, businesses increasingly compete on the basis of customer relationships. So if you're not talking to your existing and prospective customers on a regular basis, you can guarantee that your rivals are.
When it comes to building and maintaining strong customer relationships, email is king. Checking our inboxes remains the nation's most popular online activity - with almost 30 million of us now sending and receiving messages. And every day, more than a billion emails are exchanged in the UK - that's 11,574 every second.
The annual Email Addiction Survey from AOL Mail found that almost half (46%) of email users now admit to being 'addicted' to their inbox. While 51% say they check their mail four or more times a day. It's not just personal emails, either, with a staggering 66% of users confessing to checking their work email over the weekend.
It's these kinds of figures that have seen marketers embrace email as one of the most powerful and effective customer communication tools at their disposal. Between 2004 and 2008, email's value in the marketing mix increased from £120million to £254million, with 2009's end of year figure showing a further 15% growth.
Experts predict further increases in 2010, with seven out of 10 marketers expecting to 'up' their email marketing spend over the next 12 months. Some of this increase is anticipated to come at the expense of other marketing channels, such as direct mail and press advertising.
A recent survey found that, for more than half (52%) of the marketers launching email campaigns, increasing customer loyalty was the number one aim. Email allows for the use of personalised marketing tactics and unparalleled targeting, which provides an opportunity to engage customers one-to-one.
Customers don't always want the same things and are unlikely to respond to generic one-for-all messages. With email, you have the flexibility and creative resources to tailor different messages to different sections of your client list. It ensures the right message gets to the right customer and, crucially, at the right time. This will strengthen the bonds between your business and the customer, making for a long-lasting and loyal relationship.
With £14billion sales a year, the proof is very much in the pudding. A good email campaign that's targeted to the right people will guide a prospect through the entire sales process, culminating in either an e-commerce transaction or a direct response to the sender.
The reputation and popularity of email marketing has grown, in part, due to its high response rates and the speed at which they arrive. Emails grab people's attention and, with the right content, they hold it too. Email frequently outperforms all other media, with response rates from in-house lists consistently over 10% and often more than 25%.
Typically, 85% of these responses will be within the first 48 hours (compared to four weeks for direct mail). This speed allows for messages to be tailored to market conditions, events or special offers. Plus, it's easy to test multiple messages to adjust content.
Measurability is a vital component of any marketing campaign these days and, unlike direct mail, email can be fully tracked for metrics, including: click-through rate, unsubscribe requests, invalid email addresses, campaign response rate and even open rates.
These metrics not only allow a campaign to be monitored and revised while it’s ongoing, but they also provide solid evidence of return on investment (ROI).
Budgets are tight. And nowadays they need to work harder than ever before. So how do you reach your potential or existing customers with a targeted marketing campaign that doesn't cost the earth?
Email is by far the most cost-effective direct marketing solution. With telemarketing and direct mail you could be looking at individual costs of £2-3 for calls and up to £1.50 per printed mail out. Permission-based email marketing, however, allows you to reach your potential and existing customers for a fraction of a penny.
There are lots of different types of email marketing campaigns that can be launched, from lead generation to news announcements and from surveys to event promotions. However, email newsletters (or e-newsletters, as they're sometimes known) are the most popular email tactic, used by 78% of marketers.
An email newsletter to a customer who has asked to receive it is a great way of building a rewarding relationship between them and your business. Providing it is well-targeted and tailored to the interests of its recipients, the response rates can outperform any other customer communication tool.
Newsletters can be individually personalised, delivered at a fraction of the cost of direct mail and they generate an immediate action. If you can provide subscribers with genuine value, email newsletters can deliver exceptional results.
More information on email newsletters can be found here.
Email marketing has the power to deliver all of the benefits above, but only if it's approached in the right way. Making sure your customers receive personalised emails that help build relationships requires an intimate understanding of the complexities of the medium.
At Extravision we understand how email marketing works and have developed the products and processes to ensure our customers deliver effective campaigns that drive sales. We're here to help make your email marketing campaign run smoothly and successfully.
If you would like more information please email us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)161 817 2929.
Posted by Paul Latham
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