Is Email Marketing the Missing Ingredient in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Email tactics continue to dominate the digital marketing landscape.

According to statistics released recently by the Melbourne arm of the major global information services company Experian, both the volume and open rates of email marketing during the 2014 holiday season went up substantially compared to last year.

In Q4 of 2014, business products and services marketers sent over 20% more emails to potential customers. Perhaps even more importantly, email opens and revenues were both up during the 2014 holidays: the average email open rate went up 4.5% across all industries, and overall email revenue was up 7.4% over revenue in 2013.

Email Marketing: More than Just Frequency

These recent increases in the popularity of email marketing are not just restricted to the holiday season. According to Digital Journal, by the year 2018 the email marketing industry is expected to reach over $8 billion, a huge increase when you consider that in 2010 its valuation was less than $1.9 billion.

What marketers must understand about the rise of email marketing is that it has also brought with it a much higher standard of quality. In Canada, for example, anti-spam laws went into effect this year that prevent marketers from sending emails to Canadians unless they obtain consent from the recipient. Content marketing thought leader Jay Baer at Convince & Convert reported that greater than one in five email recipients would report an email as spam even if they know it isn’t.

Taken together, these statistics and developments depict one broad message: people want to get new emails to find out about things that they are interested in, but they really don’t want to receive marketing emails regarding things they do not care about.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

The big question, of course, is what digital marketers should do about these new developments in the world of email. In light of the exponential growth of the volume of email marketing messages, as well as the higher standards that most people today have for their email marketing messages, there are a few key things that inbound marketers must remember in order to find success in the modern field of email marketing:

  • Obtain consent: while there’s always a chance that a random stranger will be interested in what your organisation has to offer, it’s more likely that an unsolicited email message will simply annoy its recipient and destroy any chance you had of winning their business. Instead of blasting your marketing emails to every address you can find, use the inbound approach: create content that is designed to attract and then engage your prospects.
  • Think about your timing: some of the biggest year-over-year increases in email marketing revenues and unique opens took place during hot periods for email marketing and eCommerce: the days leading up to Christmas, Boxing Day, Cyber Monday, and so on. Remember that you don’t have to always tie your email marketing campaigns to holidays: there are many different times of the year when you may be able to take advantage of current events to give your email marketing campaign more traction with prospects.
  • Improve your overall web presence: it’s great to have strong email collateral that gets opened frequently and helps build your base of prospects. However, the most successful email marketers are those who also have high quality web sites that add value for those prospects and make it easy for them to search for even more information. This is because most email marketing messages have a link to a blog, special offer, press release, or other content that page visitors would be interested in. Linking to strong content in your email marketing messages adds value to your brand in the eyes of prospects and makes them more likely to become a paying customer.
  • Make it easy for people to opt out: one of the most important principles of inbound marketing is transparency. Noted sales and communications consultant Marcus Sheridan writes that the traditional sales techniques are going extinct. Sheridan argues that today’s business professionals have a duty to be honest and open about their offerings. In keeping with the spirit of this idea, you should be transparent about letting your email recipients opt out of receiving correspondence from your company: otherwise, you run the risk of earning a reputation as an annoyance and hurting the credibility of your brand.

Email marketing is now one of the biggest methods of communication the world over: by 2018, some estimates project that there will be more than 5 billion email accounts.

If your business is not tapping into the vast potential that email marketing brings with it, you’re losing out on a serious base of potential customers. By embodying the principles of inbound marketing and targeting your email pieces towards the people who actually want to receive them, you’ll be well on your way to success with your email marketing campaign.

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