What is Dead May Never Die: Email Marketing Endures (Even through the Long Night)
Unlike the hit HBO show with dragons, dire wolves and white walkers, winter is not coming for email marketing. Like the various kings and queens of a well-loved land, there’s no shortage of platforms and providers vying for the marketing throne. Although social media and smartphones have threatened to drown out its effectiveness like a pack of Wildlings, email has risen again harder and stronger than ever before as the preferred marketing channel.
In a world that’s quick to adopt the latest and greatest in technology, why has email marketing prevailed as long as the old gods, despite the rise of countless new marketing channels? In short, because it continues to be the strongest ROI of any marketing medium after paid search. In fact, a study by the Direct Marketing Association found that email has an average ROI of about $49 for each dollar spent, and Convince and Convert revealed that people who buy products marketed through email spend 138 percent more than people who do not receive email offers.
Here are a few of the reasons why email marketing endures as a trusted way to reach customers.
First of His Name, King of the Andals and Protector of the Realm — Email Allows for Personalization, Whatever the Title May Be
Email (not ravens) is still the primary opt-in medium that allows organizations to re-market to existing clients or prospects who they know are interested in their product. Whether the initial interaction occurs through online purchases, blog subscriptions, downloading content from the website, or even simply giving a sales clerk contact information during an in-store purchase, consumers can opt in to receive these emails, making them a more engaged and receptive audience.
From there, organizations are able to segment their lists into audiences based on key demographics, like gender, age and geographical location, and carefully curate messaging targeted toward them. For example, if a retailer is promoting its summer inventory, marketers can send Lady’s offers for gowns and jewels while also sending Lords deals on Armour and the latest Valyrian steel weapons. This way, one campaign can go a long way.
Marketers can collect valuable information about customers through email campaigns — like which queen controls dragons and which prefers wildfire — which allows them to gain a deeper understanding of what people are purchasing and personalize their emails even further. No matter what new marketing channels are born from the flames, the convenience of being able to collect this data will be hard to vanquish.
The Lannisters Can Now Send Their Regards — Again and Again
One of the most effective ways to re-engage consumers — or reconnect with the houses of Westeros after living across the Narrow Sea — is through their inboxes, and that seems to be trending upward with newer generations despite the perception that email is dying. Seventy-three percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email because it’s part of their everyday life, and more than 80 percent said they check email “at random, all day long,” according to an Adestra survey.
A classic example of email re-engagement is shopping cart abandonment. While other marketing tools like social media can run banner ads with the items consumers abandon in their carts, there’s no guarantee that those ads actually capture their attention and drive them back to the website. Email marketers, on the other hand, can track open rates for their re-engagement messages, ensuring they’ve been seen by customers.
Mixing the Brains and the Bronn
Aside from the standalone benefits that email marketing provides, it also serves as a highly integrative and complementary tool for other channels. One of the most effective new mediums on the rise is social media, which has proven its prowess as a modern marketing tool that rivals Varys’ little birds. Social channels are great for communicating with customers quickly, while email allows for organizations to strengthen that connection into a long-term relationship. Luckily, it’s much easier to integrate these approaches to maximize the effectiveness of every marketing campaign than it was for Jon Snow to integrate the Wildling and Northern armies.
Organizations can get the most out of their content by cross-promoting across all channels, including email and social media, to increase followers and subscribers while also growing their brand. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by linking to social profiles within email in order to bridge the gap between the two channels. The ability to share content on social with one click can help a brand’s messaging and promotions spread like Cersei’s wildfire and reach broader audiences. Once marketers determine how to strike the balance between email and social media, they can create an approach that allows the two platforms to complement, not compete with, each other.
So what’s beyond the wall for email marketing? The future of email will be similar to what it has always been, because it’s a conducive channel for the basic, successful marketing principles that are proven. It’s sure to continue to adapt in order to integrate with emerging technologies and platforms, but it ultimately must remain at the heart of any organization’s marketing strategy.