Why Email Remains the Best Marketing Channel (A Data-Backed Answer)
I tend to avoid using superlatives, but I’ll come right out and say it: email marketing campaigns are by far the BEST marketing channel on the web.
Now, every time I put out this sentiment, I get tons of flak from my marketer and entrepreneur friends.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Brad. PPC campaigns are a lot more ROI-driven, and they can get you sales in under 24 hours.”
“You gotta jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon, Brad. Influencer marketing is where it’s at.”
“I can’t believe you’re saying that, Brad. I mean, everybody knows there’s nothing quite as powerful as media mentions.”
And, to be fair, each and every one of these tools is awesome in its own right.
But I stand by what I said earlier:
All things considered, I’m still positive that email campaigns are the best marketing tool.
Read on to find out why!
1. Email is still among the top ROI-producing channels.
For every $1 you put into email marketing, you can expect to get $40 back in revenue. Some estimate that number to be as high as $44 for every dollar you spend.
That sounds like a lot because it is a lot. Especially when you compare it to other alternative channels you could invest in.
So, to put things in perspective:
If you put that same $1 into influencer marketing, you’ll get $6.50 back in revenue.
And if you put that same $1 into Google AdWords, you’ll get a measly $2 back in revenue. Talk about underwhelming, huh?
It might be easy and straightforward to measure the ROI you’ve gained through PPC campaigns. You can see money spent and money returned.
But that doesn’t mean that your PPC campaigns are giving you the best ROI.
When it comes to profitability, email campaigns are clearly blowing PPC (and all the other marketing channels) out of the water!
2. Email campaigns are comparatively cheap.
Email campaigns have a relatively low barrier to entry compared to other alternatives.
Let’s break down the costs:
First, you’ll want to be on a platform that allows you to eventually A/B test campaigns and all of that good stuff. GetResponse’s Pro plan, for instance, may cost you as little as $35 per month for all the bells and whistles.
The next step is to acquire email addresses. You can drive loads of revenue from up-selling your existing customers. But if you’re a new company and lack a large database, or if you want to reach out to a new audience, it’s pretty inexpensive to acquire new emails to build up your list.
For example, the guys over at Wee Squeak spent just $90 on Facebook ads and got 600 new emails to add to their list in return.
Again, the math. That’s only about $0.15 per email!
All in all, you can definitely set up a decent money-making email campaign with much less than a $500 budget so far.
A single influencer marketing campaign, in comparison, might cost you several times that.
It’s possible to pay a micro-influencer a few hundred bucks to give your product a shoutout on Instagram. But those also contain almost zero longevity.
Let’s say you’re getting your influencer to link to your landing page in their Instagram bio.
Once your influencer posts, their followers read the call to action in the caption and go to said influencer’s profile so that they can check out your campaign page.
All’s fine and dandy… until your influencer posts their next #sponsoredad and updates the link in their profile.
Poof! The link to your landing page disappears.
So, which would you rather: spend $500 to have legitimate leads you can email over and over and over again? Or spend $500 on a single Instagram post and a link that will probably vanish into thin air in a matter of days?
It’s your call!
3. Email campaigns let you nurture leads until they’re ready to buy.
The average conversion rate is a mere 1-2%. So, if your leads aren’t ready to buy right now, you need to nurture them. Which is where email comes in.
Email campaigns are the best for lead-nurturing.
Let’s say you have a new customer who’s exploring the idea of signing up for a coffee bean subscription box.
This person isn’t quite ready to make a purchase. They haven’t quite bought into the whole idea of a subscription box, and there’s still that bit of friction there.
If you start hard-selling this person and asking them point-blank to sign up, you’ll turn them off and lose them as a customer.
But if you let them take their time and don’t reach out to them, they might lose interest. And you’ll still lose them as a customer.
So what do you do?
Nurture them with an automated drip sequence:
Firstly, you introduce your company to them and let them know that you’re a legitimate organization.
(Let them chew on that a bit.)
Then you hit them with all the gushy 5-star reviews and testimonials that you’ve collected.
(Again, retreat, and let them digest this information.)
Next, it’s time to do something bolder. Send them a free ebook on coffee brewing techniques and see if they bite.
If they download your ebook, that’s a positive sign. You’ll want to go in for the close and ask them to make a purchase.
If they don’t, this tells you that they aren’t quite there yet. Continue to feed them with little nuggets of information. Wait until they’re sufficiently warmed up before you make the sale.
Again, this is something that’s pretty difficult and tedious to achieve on other platforms.
One example of how you can put this process into action is by using Facebook Ads to nurture your leads.
Let’s say that you create a Custom Audience of the 10,000 people who were checking out your business’s FAQ page. Then, you want to create a series of ads to target these folks.
You can create individual ads that target people who interact with each of your past ads. But it’s a very tedious process, and you won’t have an overview of the workflow (like how you do with email campaigns.)
When it comes to lead nurturing, there are no two ways about it: email campaigns are among the best of the best marketing channels.
4. There are multiple, inexpensive ways to build your list.
Looking for great was to build your email list? The sky’s the limit.
Seriously, here are over 40 ways that you can build your email list.
Want results fast?
Here’s how you can get 1,000 new email subscribers in just 30 days.
In a nutshell, reaching out to a larger audience using email campaigns boils down to two things: creativity and understanding your target audience well.
Here’s why this matters.
You might be paying $49 per month to use your email marketing automation platform. But the conversions that you get aren’t limited by how much you’re paying or the plan you’re on.
If you’ve honed your skills to the point that you’re an absolute wizard at email campaigns, you could double, triple, or even quadruple your revenue while still maintaining the same cost of $49 per month.
Compare this with Google AdWords:
Sure, there are tools within AdWords to optimize your ads and fine-tune your targeting.
But you can’t reach out to new audiences (the equivalent of building your list) without side-stepping Google.
That means that if you want to double your revenue, you’ll often have to double your ad budget. Actually, you might have to more than double it, since CPA tends to rise when you’re trying to reach out to a larger audience.
Plus, with more advertisers entering the fray every year, the average cost of AdWords campaigns keeps increasing.
Check it out:
The average Cost Per Conversion in 2016 was $33, which is a 214% increase from what it was in 2013. (While this cost might have dipped slightly from what it was in 2015, the overall trend is still increasing costs!)
Pro-Tip: Building your email list and running email campaigns aren’t just for businesses. Here’s how influencers can get in on the action, too!
5. Emails can be personalized more, better, and easier than alternatives.
Marketers agree that personalization is more than just a flashy trend. But only around 14% of marketers use automation to personalize their own marketing efforts.
And many of them don’t think personalization is “highly effective”. Why? Because they’re not doing it correctly.
For example, shoving someone’s first name into an email campaign isn’t truly personalization.
Instead, personalization extends to the message someone’s receiving and the timing of when they’re receiving it.
New leads should get one message, people who’ve viewed a product without purchasing should get a different one, and loyal customers still a different one.
For starters, there are mail merge features. You can instantly send out thousands of personalized emails with a simple tool that will pull fields directly from a spreadsheet.
However, the next evolution is to have a unified tool that’s able to see who should get what, when and then execute everything automatically on your behalf.
For example, Brennan Dunn segments all of his database members based on who they are, what they’re struggling with, or what they might need to purchase from him.
This database allows you to customize email workflows for each recipient. Best of all, you can choreograph each sequence ahead of time:
Not only are you better personalizing emails to increase results, but you’re also using automation to scale performance.
That means less work, with better results, in half the time. Not too shabby.
A final word on email campaigns (and why they rock)
By this point, it’s crystal clear that we’re #TeamEmail.
Of course, emails aren’t the be-all and end-all. You shouldn’t ditch all your other marketing channels to focus solely on emails. There are pros and cons to each marketing channel. The best marketing strategies are comprehensive and tap into the strengths of various channels.
Having said that, if you’re a small company with limited resources, email marketing allows you to get more with less.
More leads and a better response rate for a lower cost out of pocket, and less work overall.
Do you agree? Are you #TeamEmail?
Author: Brad Smith
Email Marketing & Marketing Automation Excellence 2018
We teamed up with SmartInsights and surveyed 585 marketers from 181 countries, across 19 industries to learn more about their perspectives on their most successful tactics, the challenges along the way, and the metrics they’re tracking to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. We’re now happy to present the results in the form of this report.
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