Did you know that email marketing is forty-eight years old this year? It seems hard to believe that email has been around for nearly half a century. In that time, we’ve grown accustomed to a daily onslaught of emails in our inbox. Some are useful, and some are not. With more to do than hours in the day to do it, it makes sense to prioritize your marketing efforts. With that in mind, you may be wondering is email marketing worth my time or is it, at nearly 50…over the hill? 

Every year newer, shinier social media platforms pop up with promises of more engagement and customer interaction. Maintaining your enthusiasm for the next biggest trend in digital marketing is tough when your business is faced with challenges like:

  • Cash Flow
  • Staffing
  • Employee Healthcare
  • Government Regulations

With these high-priority concerns sitting on your desk every day, how can you make time to consistently engage your customer base? Is there time in the day to take pictures for Instagram? Do you will really need followers on Twitter? Will email marketing help me grow my business? Or will my emails just be one of many in the great inbox void?  

Despite headlines like “Are Millennials killing Email Marketing?” data shows that it is still a viable source for customer interaction, and usage is projected to increase. As it turns out, email, and how we use it, has gotten better over time. That email is ubiquitous is the very reason it can be a first-rate choice for a small business marketing strategy. Think of the ways that email intersects with the worldwide market:

  1. Business and consumer emails sent every day are projected to grow to 333 billion by the end of 2022.
  2. By the end of 2022, the number of email users will exceed 4.2 billion.
  3. Email users have more than one email account, and this ratio is growing. By 2022, the ratio will be 1.86 email accounts per user. 

By far, the largest percentage of consumers use email as their most frequent connection with products and services:

  1. 85% of professionals use email for their business transactions.
  2. 73% of consumers prefer email as their marketing channel.
  3. 83% of consumers say email is their preferred form of brand communication. (Facebook falls far behind, at only 38%.)
  4. 70% of consumers prefer to receive commercial marketing through email. 

Children aged 12-17 are using email more than Snapchat or Facebook. We can be sure that email isn’t going anywhere. 

The small business owner’s customers have email accounts, whether they use Instagram or not. More consumers will use this as their primary tool for social and business interaction in the coming years.

How do you build a better email?

If a business sends an email to a customer’s inbox and it isn’t opened, was it worth the time, and the money attached? 

There are multiple ways to ensure that a business email is noticed, opened, and read:

  • Create a subject line that jumps out from the consumer’s inbox. A/B Test it. Enhance it. Optimize it. 
  • Use the customer’s name in the greeting. Just as making eye-contact, reaching out your hand, and greeting someone by name is the opener for a warmer business conversation, personalizing email communications in this way always greases the runway.
  • Send the email from a person in the company, not merely from the company. A customer will connect steadfastly with a direct contact at the company. 
  • Compose an email that engages and informs. Conversely, avoid information sharing that is easily obtained elsewhere, or creating a communication channel that is all-business, no-fun, 
  • Engage the perfect cross-section of our customer base by segmenting your database. There are ways to optimize your company’s marketing outreach by delineating your customers by demographics such as age, location, purchase history, or even how many times they open your emails. Email segmentation is smart marketing, helping you to finetune your conversations. 
  • Timing is everything. Find out which days of the week and which times of the day the email is most likely to be read, and make sure it lands in the right place at the right time. 
  • Decrease the likelihood that the communication will end up in the consumer’s spam folder. Using terms directly connected with money savings, such as “sale” or “deal” in the subject line may be a head’s up for a consumer’s spam filter.
  • Focus on different segments of your email lists. Target each communication to those on your customer list that statistically show an interest in a particular type of product or event.

What if everything goes as planned but the customer still bounces?

That’s where an autoresponder is your best friend! Your website or email system can be set up to capture the information needed to reconnect immediately with that escapee. Maybe the phone rang, or the bathtub overflowed, and the customer clicked out of the screen for reasons that had nothing to do with your product or services. What better way to stem cart abandonment than to build a system that will immediately reach out to that customer, reintroduce your brand-magic, and remind them why they are excited about your product or service. 

Is Email marketing the answer?

Email marketing is a traditional tool that, when used with an advanced understanding of today’s consumers, and with the most up-to-date methodologies of construction and dissemination, can help to accomplish the marketing goals of the small business owner.