December 22, 2015

Email Should Still Be One of Your Primary Content Channels

Pitfalls characterize many of today’s leading digital content marketing channels: Texting is reserved by many people for friends and family … Social media falls into this category too, plus there’s all that scrolling involved, limiting the potential that your content will even be seen … Your website is limited to inbound consumers … And to rank high in search engine optimization (SEO), you better be able to hit a moving target, as Google frequently changes is algorithm, devaluing many tried-and-true business linking strategies.

What is a marketer’s best option, then, for circumventing the challenges of most digital channels?

It’s that old, reliable star of your content marketing strategy: email.

Not only does this time-tested marketing channel skirt the limitations of other digital channels but it provides direct access to individuals on a controllable platform that is checked often for new items. In fact, an Ascend2 study found that 48 percent of B2B marketers agree that email marketing is their most effective tactic for lead nurturing, beating out SEO and social media.

Such a finding translates directly to your bottom line. Indeed, email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68 percent of companies rating the channel as “good” or “excellent,” according to an Adestra-sponsored Econsultancy survey. On average, companies attribute 23 percent of their total sales to the email marketing channel, the survey revealed.

Email drives traffic and sales through high visibility and multichannel opportunities. Let’s look at just how it does this:

High visibility: First of all, most consumers are online for many hours each day, and the majority of them are receptive to receiving personalized, targeted emails that offer real value to them—right alongside their personal email messages. For example, 70 percent of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email, according to aggregated industry research and surveys. Email is also a compelling tool for driving traffic to new websites, with 51 percent of visitors having discovered them this way, according to a Marketing Land infographic.

And maybe you think that email can’t hold a candle to the visibility offered by social media giants like Facebook (over 1 billion active users) and Twitter (255 million), but think again. Radicati reports that the total number of worldwide email accounts was 3.9 billion in 2013, and projected to be 4.9 billion by 2017. In other words, the number of email accounts is triple that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

 What’s more, a comparison between Facebook’s organic reach (the number of your fans who actually see your posts in their Newsfeed) at 6 percent and open rates for email marketing messages at generally from 20 to 30 percent (per Radicati) indicates that your content is five times more likely to be seen through email than Facebook. The comparison to Twitter is even more profound, with click-through rates six times higher for email.

Multichannel opportunities: Email is a tremendous tool for expanding your reach into other channels. For example, use it to drive traffic to your e-commerce website with a link to a landing page on a new product or service, or even incorporate a product video with how-to information related to your offerings. Also leverage email messages to grow customer engagement with your brand by directing readers to your newest blog content.

When you integrate email with other channels, you gain the ability to manage your customers and prospects more holistically. For example:

·         Employ email to identify consumers who seem interested in a special offer, as suggested when they clicked on the related link. Follow up with a direct mail flyer.

·         Integrate search marketing with email to increase SEO. That is, use email to drive traffic to a new blog article, at the same time asking readers to add to the comments section at the bottom and to share the post.

·         Use email to drive consumers to your brick-and-mortar locations, where sales associates and touchable products lead buyers to purchase more merchandise at a higher dollar value.

Keep in mind, however, that positive email marketing outcomes are not automatic. As with any marketing approach in today’s highly competitive landscape, an effective email marketing strategy requires precisely targeted messaging through the use of such utilities as personalization, mobile access, automation, and interesting and relevant content.

That last factor is the kicker. Once you get all your ducks in a row—deploying marketing automation software, optimizing your website for mobile or developing a mobile app, and segmenting your contact database into targeted personas—there’s still that big bull’s eye out there: crafting quality content.

To hit your mark, you may have to supplement the skills of your in-house marketing team with services from a content strategy vendor so that you have something of value to share and promote through your emails and other channels.

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