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Is Email Marketing Effective?

Numerous marketers have been seduced by social media advertising because they think it is not only “cooler” but also more reliable than email marketing. It’s undeniable that social media gets much more media attention than email marketing. However, the claim that email marketing is no longer effective is simply not true (see these email marketing statistics that prove it). Any self-respecting marketer will tell you that email is still a cornerstone of their campaigns.

1. Email Newsletters Can Be Great

Let’s face it; most email newsletters are crap. Far a lot of companies see email newsletters as just another way to drive sales, even though many people who sign up for newsletters don’t actively want to make a purchase. This can lead to low sign-up rates, high unsubscribe rates, and “newsletters” that contain little that is new and are heavy on pushy sales tactics.

However, as Southern lifestyle magazine Garden & Gun showed in a case study for email management service Emma, email newsletters can be great when used properly.

Garden & Gun is the nation’s leading Southern lifestyle magazine. With a diverse readership and an equally diverse editorial emphasis, Garden & Gun focuses on whatever from Southern heritage and society to fine dining and patterns in agriculture.

The publication and website have gained a loyal readership thanks to their journalistic quality, which Kim Alexander, Garden & Gun’s electronic media editor, also wanted to represent with the Talk of the South newsletter.

We’re basically a print publication, but we only print six times a year,” Alexander said in an interview on the Emma blog. “So we use email to keep in touch with our readers and drive traffic to our website. Garden & Gun has grown its online audience significantly through Talk of the South. According to the Emma blog, the number of subscribers to the average email newsletter shrinks by 30% each year, but Garden & Gun has managed to enhance its newsletter readership by 40%, considering partnering with Emma three years ago.

Broach the South is also a source of revenue for Garden & Gun. As you can see from the screenshot above, the newsletter contains advertising, just like the print and online editions of the magazine. However, the advertising is not intrusive but very targeted and relevant to Garden & Gun’s readership. I would be very interested in the CTR data on these ads, as I suspect they are high compared to traditional website banners.

A good example of the type of posts that appear in Talk of the South Overall, the high quality of Talk of the South is outstanding. As a reader of Garden & Gun, it’s one of the few newsletters I look forward to reading, and it’s a great example of how email newsletters can make everyone happy when they are produced to a high standard and serve an editorial purpose.

2. Social Media And Email Marketing Are Not Mutually Exclusive.

As the recent midterm elections have shown, virtually everything can be reduced to a zero-sum fight. But it does not have to be that way.

Even if email marketing isn’t as “sexy” as social media, that doesn’t mean the two can’t work in harmony. Integrating email marketing with a strong social media strategy can pay off. The DIY Natural blog for sustainable living was born out of founder Matt Jabs’ passion for self-care and lasting living. Even in the website’s early days, DIY Natural drew a lot of visitors – a fact that prompted Jabs to think seriously about how he could grow his audience through social media and how he could use email marketing to monetize his burgeoning blog site.

In a meeting on the AWeber blog Jabs said combining social media and email marketing allowed him and his wife, Betsy, to transition from a passion project to a full-time business.

While our traffic and email list are growing, our social media lists are growing organically and steadily,” Jabs said. “In the beginning, our Facebook page grew like crazy. We now have about 80,000 likes on Facebook.”

Although he didn’t intentionally set out to combine social media and email marketing when he started the site, the fact that Jabs combined the two strategies from the beginning has allowed DIY Natural to grow incredibly quickly.

Of course, the website’s commitment to quality content was also an important factor. As I was researching this article, I signed up for DIY Natural’s newsletter. So DIY Natural’s content is perfect for us and exactly the kind of content I want to see in my inbox every week.

 3. Email Mails Advertising Perfect For Small Businesses.

One of the most persistent misconceptions about email marketing is that you need an entire marketing department to run effective email campaigns.

While it doesn’t hurt to have a large, dedicated team, it’s by no means a requirement.

Email marketing can be a big win for small businesses, too. One example is family-owned Goat Milk Stuff, which sells – you guessed it – goat milk products.

Like many small businesses, Goat Milk Stuff struggled with the desire to grow beyond small craft fairs and trade shows and with the commitment to provide excellent, personalized service to customers.

A post on the MailChimp blog

Goat Milk Stuff cofounder PJ Jonas stated that while she and her husband Jim (and their eight children, who also assist run the company) were busy collecting emails at trade shows, they wanted to expand without compromising their company’s family-friendly values. Surprisingly, they were able to accomplish both with email marketing.

We sent out some newsletters where we gave customers a choice of which offer they wanted,” PJ says. “Either a 20% discount or free shipping. We found that some customers always choose the discount and others choose the free shipping – it’s not necessarily the offer that saves them more money. So we took that information and now alternate our offers.

A few of the goats that help make the goat milk.

Although Jim and PJ spend most of their time making their products, tending to their herd of goats and running a household of eight kids (seriously, bravo!), they also manage to run very successful email marketing campaigns that add real value to their customers while keeping things simple all without the insight of an official marketing department.

Bonus tip #1: A/B Testing For Your Email Marketing Projects.

You know what they state about assumptions, right? Don’t be ridiculous and spoil your campaign – test early and often.

Many email management tools have built-in A/B testing capabilities that allow you to test certain aspects of your email marketing campaigns for maximum impact. MailChimp, for example, has published the results of several A/B tests of successful projects to show how a rigorous approach to screening can lead to significant improvements.

Bonus tip No. 2: Keep Subject Lines Concise

We have written about email topic lines before. Like a great chili recipe, everyone seems to have their preferred approach, but when it concerns the “perfect” subject line, shorter is finest specifically, between six and ten words.

This data from Retention Science shows that email subject lines between six and ten words consistently have the best open rates. Comparing the open rate of these subject lines to subject lines between 21 and 25 words in length, there is a significant drop-off.

Bonus tip #3: Send Emails On Thursday at 8:00 a.m.

That’s pretty specific advice, right? Sure, but we’ve also looked at the best times to send email campaigns in the past, and we’ve found that Thursday morning between 8 and 9 a.m. is an ideal time slot to increase open rates.

Of course, what works for us won’t necessarily be beneficial for you (see bonus tip #1). So make sure to experiment with the timing of your email campaigns to see which times lead to higher open prices.

Email like a Manager

Email advertising can be and often is very effective. But as with anything worth doing, it takes time, effort, and sometimes a lot of errors before you find the secret behind the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and flavors.

I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to improve your email marketing campaigns.