Does Email Marketing Still Work?
Have you ever looked at your overflowing inbox and asked yourself “does email marketing still work?” Many small business owners ask this same question while bulk-deleting the non-client messages they don’t intend to read anytime soon. On any given day, you might choose to immediately eliminate roughly 75% of the emails in your inbox in one fell swoop. Many of my marketing clients use this anecdotal evidence to conclude that email marketing is a waste of their company’s time and money. From a purely anecdotal point of view, it would seem email marketing doesn’t work anymore, right?
How many emails do you get on a daily basis? 50? 100? 200? 500? I get about 150 emails in my business inbox on a typical day (not counting the HUNDREDS of spam emails that are sent to me each day but are successfully filtered out by Gmail). From looking at some recent studies, that’s a slightly above-average number of emails. However, I know some people who are getting 300+ emails in their inbox every single day! Talk about inbox inundation! We’re not alone; here’s some information on email and its impact on our day:
- MarketingProfs states that approximately 22,500,453,020 emails are sent every hour. Ugh!
- According to a Mashable article, the average person spends around 2.6 hours or 28% of their (work) day reading and responding to email.
With numbers like that, it seems that effective email marketing would be a thing of the past.
Where Is All This Email Coming From?
Much of what determines someone’s potential interaction with an email is the source of that email. Where do your emails come from? A majority of the emails I receive are a mix of industry newsletters and offers that I signed up for but infrequently read. Many emails I receive are unsolicited offers of some sort from an individual or spam that gets through Gmail’s filters. Another fair-sized percentage are unsolicited newsletters from folks I met at a networking event somewhere who put me on their distribution list without asking my permission (I REALLY REALLY dislike that). Several emails I receive are actually alerts from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The vast minority of my emails are client-related or company-related. Sound familiar?
Email Marketing Still Reaches Consumers
Anecdotal evidence is not a good means to determine the effectiveness of a marketing channel. I have this conversation on a regular basis with my new clients and many of them are initially convinced that email marketing is a lost cause. Some have actually tried email marketing in the past and failed, but a majority base their opinion on the fact that their own inboxes are constantly overflowing with unopened offers and newsletters.
However, there is a substantial body of research that indicates email marketing is, in fact, very effective, especially when compared to social media and other marketing channels. Here are some study results:
- According to Exact Target, 70% percent of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies. (After reading that statistic I realized that there are a handful of newsletters and offers from companies that I open every single time.)
- MarketingSherpa reports that 61% of shoppers say they like to receive promotional emails weekly; 28% want them more frequently!
Email Marketing Leads to Increased Sales
Not only does email marketing still reach its intended recipients, those recipients are actually spending money as a result. And email has the lowest cost per lead compared to all other marketing channels (networking not included):
- In a 2015 study from BlueHornet as reported by Marketing Charts, over 77% of consumers buy products and services from marketing/advertising emails AT LEAST once a month or more!
- In a 2012 study by Optify, email’s conversion rate outperformed ALL other B2B web traffic sources by 81%
- In a 2014 study, email provided the lowest cost-per-lead of any marketing channel. The study assessed costs-per-lead by asking respondents to identify channels as having a “very low cost,” “somewhat low cost,” “somewhat high cost,” or “very high cost.”
To answer the question “Does email marketing still work?”, the answer is a resounding YES. In fact, it works so well that I advise ALL my clients to make email marketing a mainstay of their marketing strategy. There are many factors that go into having a successful email marketing campaign, such as
- From field
- Subject Line
- Display properties
There are other factors as well but they will be addressed in upcoming articles.
If you are a business owner and you’re not using email marketing, I strongly recommend you begin as soon as possible. There are many DIY email marketing solutions as well as Internet-centric marketing agencies that can help you get started. If you’ve tried email marketing in the past and haven’t been able to get the results you were hoping for, I recommend you work with an email marketing specialist to help you move toward success and profitability.