Why Email Should Be The Hub of Your Digital Marketing Program
What role does email play in your digital marketing program? For many marketers, it’s one channel among many, a channel whose chief job is to get people to come to the website to buy something.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, using email like a bulletin board or discount machine is like using your Maserati only to drive to the grocery store. You get there in style, but you’re cheating yourself out of so much more!
Instead of being one spoke in the wheel of your marketing program, email should be the hub around which all of your marketing programs – online as well as offline – should revolve.
Here are three reasons why this is true:
1. Email can drive every stage of your customer life-cycle.
Look at three of the major stages of a typical marketing program:
The Role of Email in Acquisition:
You might not think email is a strong tool to acquire new customers because so many countries have outlawed opt-out email marketing (the U.S and India remain the main exceptions). Other channels, like search, paid social media, print and broadcast, can introduce your brand to potential new customers. But email has the power to solidify the connection.
In B2B terms, opting in to your email program can be the first “show of hands” to indicate someone’s interested in your brand but hasn’t purchased yet.
- Clicking on a search result or typing your brand URL into the search bar in Chrome, Safari or Firefox is a curiosity indicator.
- Signing up for your email signals interest that you can capitalize on before the first purchase.
The Role of Email in Retention:
Here’s where email really shines.
We won’t rehash all the data that shows it costs less to keep customers than to acquire them. Instead, we’re looking at direct-to-consumer brands that built their bases with search and social-media marketing but are reaching out to people with email experience to retain those expensively won customers.
Email is the shape-shifting tool in a retention marketer’s bag. It can assume different forms for different uses, such as bounceback offers sent to first-time purchasers or up-sell/cross-sell and educational information to keep customers on track until they’re ready to buy again.
The Role of Email in Win-back:
Yes, you can retarget or remarket to people who have visited your site or browsed products with display ads that feature personalized content. Do people like those ads? Survey says … they’re “meh” at best and downright negative when remarketing ads go wrong.
Email is your canary in the coal mine. Lack of interest in your emails can be a symptom of problems in other channels. Use email to promote store traffic or mobile/push/SMS.
2. Email builds up all of your other marketing channels – and vice versa, too.
This is the heart of our argument that email should be at the center of your digital marketing program, and even some of your offline programs.
Search can help build up your email program by giving prospects a low-barrier way to stay in touch if they’re interested but not yet ready to buy. In turn, email can help you fine-tune your search program.
Email testing shows you which concepts, word combinations, offers or keywords are more likely to move customers to act. Do those results carry over to search? Test and see whether you can fine-tune your search terms or the copy in your paid search ads.
Coordinating your social and email promotions can expand your role in each. Promote email opt-ins in your social channels – in paid ads or as part of your news feeds – and share follower or influencer content in your email messages.
Besides promoting your mobile app, email can nudge customers who downloaded your mobile app to install it and to explain why they should enable push notifications. Email also can deep-link to sections within your app. Conversely, send a text message to alert users when you send an email or when an offer is about to expire.
3. Email addresses replace cookies for user IDs across channels.
Pity the poor cookie. Privacy laws and browser-based blocking and deleting are making it less reliable than ever for identifying users across channels. Enter the email address. More marketers are talking about using it in combination with other tactics to get insights on what their customers are doing when they leave their websites.
A clean email list puts your digital marketing program in overdrive
Email can’t do great things for your marketing program and your brand if you don’t collect email addresses. How long has it been since you looked at the forms and content in your opt-in invite?
Freshen it up. Focus on the benefits of joining. Make your form more visible, especially on your landing pages tied to your search ads, on your social media “about” pages and in your mobile app.
“More” is not enough, though. “Better” is just as important.
A clean list of active email addresses is the high-octane fuel that powers a top-performing email program. You must clean your email list regularly – not just scrub hard-bouncing or spam-complaint addresses but also validate all of the emails on your list.
When you work with an active, up-to-date and reliable email list, email can drive your digital marketing program to greater heights.
Why Email Still Rules the World of Digital Marketing
Sure, social media, mobile, and video are sexy. But despite their allure, email remains the most powerful force driving advertising efficiency. The numbers don’t lie. Email:
- Delivers the highest ROI out of any advertising channel.
- Is up to 40X more effective than social for acquiring customers.
- Is the top channel for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday shopping altogether.
Email stands strong on its own. No doubt. But it also plays an integral role in just about every other popular advertising channel.
How Email Makes Other Digital Channels More Effective
Let’s take a look at 7 other popular digital channels and how email makes them stronger:
- Mobile: When consumers aren’t texting, surfing the web, or using apps, they’re checking email. In fact, an estimated 91% of consumers check email at least once a day on their smartphones.
- Online Display: Successful programs drive people to click a link and enter their email address. This way, marketers can begin to build a long-term relationship with otherwise flighty searchers.
- Video: Marketers often rely on email to amplify their video advertising efforts. This one is a no-brainer. Why not share video content via email if you have a database full of subscribers to send it to? It sure beats the strategy of only posting it on your website and/or social media profile.
- Social Media: Today’s most successful programs rely on email addresses to build their target audiences. Facebook Custom Audiences are a prime example.
- Paid Search: Same as for online display. Marketers are wasting money if they’re not capturing an email address at first click.
- Telephone: Successful and legitimate telemarketers need to capture email addresses. If they don’t, they risk not being able to reach their leads again. The comprehensiveness of the Do Not Call registries makes email capture a necessity for this channel.
- Direct Mail: Postage prices continue to rise. Scary, since it’s estimated that direct mail can already cost up to 100X more than email. This makes stand-alone programs hard to justify these days. What’s the solution? Drive recipients online to opt-in with their email address. Marketers can then deliver future offers and communications at a fraction of the cost.
How to Position Your Company for Success
Great! We’ve established email’s position as king of the digital marketing hill. So, how do you get the most out of this powerful channel? You need to ensure that each of your emails reaches the right person at the right address. This is the most important part of email marketing! Keeping your list clean and up-to-date is a great place to start.