Email Then and Now
If you're of a certain vintage, you will remember the halcyon days of email: when AOL provided free CD-ROMS so that you could install their email client on your PC, when the 'you've got mail' message was greeted with joy and triumph. Fast-forward 20 years and it's a different world. The 'you've got mail' has been replaced by a 'ping' that reminds you that you have yet another email that you'll have to find time to read.
'It's all about the list'
In internet marketing circles the experts, gurus and veterans all have different views on many topics, but there is one key concept that they agree on - 'building your list' should be a goal for every business that is serious about driving business online. So why is there such a consensus?
According to research conducted in 2013, there are 2.5 billion email users worldwide that between them have 4.1 billion email accounts, and that number is expected to grow to 5.2 billion by 2018. So rather than being on the way out, in volume terms, email is expected to grow by 26% in just 5 years.
But volume doesn't tell the full story. The key consideration is how consumers view email, especially those regular messages they receive from companies. 72% of consumers say that email is their preferred method of receiving communications from companies that they do business with, with 61% stating that they like to receive promotional emails on a weekly basis. (Marketing Sherpa 2015)
Ultimately though, the most significant measure of success is the actions that are taken off the back of your email marketing efforts. According to the Direct Marketing Association 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email message.
The message from all those stats - email continues to grow, it is well received by consumers, who, in large numbers buy 'stuff' off the back of the messages that arrive in their inbox.
Email isn't dead - it's just different
So where does the notion that 'email is dead' come from? In large part it comes from a subset of digital marketing experts that have become frustrated by the lack of evolution in terms of how email marketing technology has evolved over the years. It also comes from consumers who state that the combination of texting (SMS), social media and instant messaging has made email feel old-fashioned, clunky and for some - irrelevant.
But, if you're a business, of any size, you simply can't afford to ignore email as part of your ongoing marketing efforts.
Owned versus Rented Land
In the fast paced, ever-changing world of digital marketing where social media grabs the headlines and dominates many of the conversations, there is one significant advantage to email marketing that can't be overlooked. The email list you build is yours. It is an asset that you own, an asset that with careful nurturing and thought you can grow.
Friends on Facebook, Followers on Twitter or Connections on LinkedIn are great, but ultimately you don't own those relationships - the respective platforms do. A channel that works for you today, might not work tomorrow. Over the years, Facebook have made significant changes to how their Business Pages work. In the past, the vast majority of those that 'Liked' your page would see any messages you posted there. Now though, as Facebook shifts its model to be more advertising focused, you will reach significantly less of your audience organically. You can still reach them, and an awful lot more - but you have to play by Facebook’s rules.
Email is not without its challenges and in the early days as you're email subscriber list remains in single digits, you will doubt the sanity of investing in any list building activity. Many of our clients have felt the same way, but with a bit of guidance and a clear plan they've been able to achieve and in many cases surpass their email marketing objectives.
With the tools and free online advice available, you have the knowledge and the power to run your own effective email marketing campaigns. But we also know that one thing a lot of businesses lack is the time to do just that. We offer a broad range of email marketing services from basic email marketing consultancy, right through to campaign planning, delivery and reporting.
You might have an existing list you'd like to grow, or email marketing might be totally new, unchartered territory for you and your business - regardless of your situation, the Inspire Team has the ability and resources to turn email marketing into a profitable part of your business.
As with everything, it starts with a conversation. Call us today on 01738 700 006 or send us an email through our Enquiry Form.
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos