07 PM | 24 Jul

6 Reasons Email (still) is a Powerful Marketing Channel

It was a cold and wet day in Durban today. The perfect day to stay indoors with a good book and a steaming pot of filter coffee for company.

I had none of that luck, though. We needed a trip to the mall to buy a pair of tekkies (sneakers in S.A. speak) for my little daughter. Not wanting to surrender to the miserable day, I left without freshening up and resembled a scurvy sailor, back from a 6-month long expedition.

My wife ran the errands at the mall, while I waited in the car, away from any sign of human life. I dozed off, partly due to the gloomy weather, and was woken up about 30 minutes later, by a knock on the window.

5-Star Prize

It was my wife, accompanied by a young lady, eager to tell us that we stood a chance of winning a week-long getaway at an exotic hotel – all we had to do was scratch some cards. Even though the odds heavily favoured me scratching a winning combination, as this was obviously a set-up, I somehow managed to miss the jackpot. My wife, though, hit the 777, to which the lady exclaimed: “Are you always this lucky?!”

She tried to bundle us into the nearby Palm Hotel to sign some papers and claim our prize. I wanted nothing more than getting back to my warm bed, as quick as possible, so I politely shooed her away and sped off.

That got me thinking: Surely a classy 5-star hotel could come up with a better campaign to market itself?

We’re in the new millennium! People just don’t market like that anymore. And then I tried to figure out what exactly irked me about the lady’s proposal. It dawned on me that it was down to this:

Interruption!

Yes, the pitch was totally out of context. I was NOT in a holiday mood. Neither was I in a state to even pretend to be excited about winning some pseudo prize.

But that’s exactly how most traditional methods of advertising works. Billboards, bright digital signs, television and radio ads. The list goes on.

You’re trying to watch your favourite show, and keep getting interrupted by an ad trying to tell you how this latest formula “keeps whites whiter, and brights brighter.”

This mentality is so antiquated! It’s one of the reasons I hardly switch on the radio while driving. I much rather listen to an audiobook or a podcast. I can consume the content, that most interests me at this point in my life.

Which brings me to the topic of this post.

Long Live The Mighty Email

Email may be the dinosaur of the internet, at 44 years old! But it’s still one of the most effective marketing channels at our disposal. Yes, email in the wrong hands can be just as interruptive!

NO SPAM

But I’m not referring to the shotgun approach of broadcast emails most companies send out. I’m talking about personalised opt-in emails, going out to people genuinely interested in your content. This is at the heart of inbound marketing.

It’s not for the lazy marketer. You will need to first understand your customer – what’s referred to as a “buyer persona.” Once you’ve nailed your ideal buyer’s persona, with her goals and frustrations, you will have a good idea of the content to create. You don’t need to be pitching your product in every piece of content. Just being there, and being helpful, is earning you valuable brownie points. And when your buyer is finally ready for your product, you will have a valuable foothold in their imagination. Or inbox.

So if you’re ready to send out the kind of emails I’m talking about, here’s why the humble email should STILL be one of your main marketing platforms.

  1. There are 4.3 billion email accounts that send 196 billion emails every day
  2. 91% of consumers check their email daily
  3. Email is a channel that you own
  4. 77% of consumers prefer email for marketing communications
  5. Email lets you be highly personal
  6. Email has a marketing ROI of 4,300%

The last point alone is mind-blowing. For every R1 you spend on email marketing, you should get R43 back!

You do the math. But it’s like most other things in life: What you put in, is what you’ll get out of it. If you need to learn more about developing your buyer persona’s or sending out emails that people love, check out the Hubspot Academy’s FREE Inbound Marketing course. There is a ton of awesome video clips on creating your persona’s and the importance of segmenting your email list so that you send relevant emails to your subscribers.

Let me know in the comments about your favourite marketing platforms, and the reason you chose it!

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