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How to Fine-Tune Your Email Marketing Strategy

Email is still the preferred content delivery method for successful businesses.

Email marketing is alive and well. And, if executed correctly, it is still one of the most effective marketing strategies to attract quality sales leads and learn more about your customers.

Although several other marketing tactics — such as social media — have emerged, don’t rule out email marketing. In 2013, there were nearly 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide and that number is expected to increase grow even further in the future. Email is an inexpensive way to keep your brand in front of your customers, forge relationships, create lasting loyalty for your brand and increase profits.

“Email is like a bridge, social media is like a stream,” says Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content at customer behavior research organization MECLABS Institute. “Customers may open it [email], delete it, click-through, read, or file it away…but it’s a stopping point, and they choose to do something. Social media is often like water going by in that stream. If they look at the right time, they may see something interesting — but it’s curiosity, not reliability.”

Email marketing is still vital for businesses of all sizes and here’s why it should be a part of your marketing strategy:

Customers prefer businesses to communicate with them through email. “If there is a channel that customers want to communicate with you, and you can generate an ROI from it, the question really is — why wouldn’t you engage in email marketing?” asks Burstein. The numbers back him up. Ninety-two percent of email marketers say email marketing is producing an ROI now, or will eventually produce an ROI. Among the 2,057 adults ages 18 and older surveyed by MarketingSherpa, a division of MECLABS, 72 percent U.S. adults say they prefer companies to communicate with them via email.

Online coupons and promotions are a great way to attract new customers, encourage existing customers to make another purchase and reward your customers for their loyalty. Offering attractive discounts can lead to increased sales and profitability for your business.

Email builds community and gives you a direct line to your customers. “As a small business, you can actually have a conversation,” says Burstein. “You can reply to customers whereas many big businesses send emails with ‘do not reply’ as the sender,” he says. “We’re used to dealing with faceless corporate entities. The human element can bring big benefits,” he adds.

Email allows you to target your audience no matter where they are in your sales funnel. If a subscriber clicks one of the links in your email to go to your website, you have an identifying characteristic for that visitor and can build a profile with a marketing automation platform, says Burstein. You can see what types of content they prefer, how they travel to your funnel and where they choose to buy or leave. With this information, you can change what you deliver to them through email to be more relevant.

Email tracking and analytics helps you look beyond the surface data and identify trends over time. With this data you can create targeted, personalized messages based on where your customers are in the buyers’ journey. Once you have a contact list, you can test things out by sending two types of promotions and seeing which works better, also known as split testing.

Burstein cautions against buying email lists and spamming people. Also, avoid sending blanket emails to everyone in your database or use subject lines that don’t resonate with your audience. They will get dumped in the spam folder and you risk having them unsubscribe. Instead, make sure to tailor your message to your customers so they’re getting something they want and something with value.

While Burstein concedes that email has its flaws, he stresses that it’s important to be where your customers are. “Social media is a very valuable communication medium and has its place, but if you’re asking me why businesses shouldn’t give up on email marketing, just look at the social media platforms. They are all major users of email.”

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Related Topics: Marketing , Lead Generation