The death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated.
I'm sure you've heard the discussions about the imminent declination of email and the rise of social media. But independent marketing studies suggest that's just not the case. Let's see what the data tells us.
· 2012 ExactTarget Survey – 66% prefer email as the # 1 marketing communication channel.
· 2012 EmailVision Study – 89.2% of marketing managers say email remains as important or more important to their overall marketing strategy compared with two years ago.
· A Merkle Study – 74% of online adults prefer to receive corporate communications via email instead of social media, direct mail, text messaging, or phone.
In reality, the outlook for email marketing – with a twist – is stronger and more popular than ever. Integration is the twist. In a Strong Mail Marketing Trends Survey, 68% of business leaders intend to integrate email marketing with social media. And the marketing spend for email marketing (60%) and social media (55%), shows business leaders intend to pursue an integrated approach.
The New Email Marketing Strategy
Employing email by integrating it with social media, search, and content marketing results in smarter email marketing. Because email covers all parts of the buying cycle and champions permission marketing, it's powerful and effective. With its opt-in feature, emails go to a target audience willing to receive them. On its own, email encourages interactivity. But combined with social media, search and content marketing, email marketing optimizes results.
Integrating Email Marketing with Social Media
Social media connect prospects, customers, and businesses. Once that's done, relationships develop offline via email or phone. Email remains the preferred method because it's fast, effective and efficient. With integration, both channels reinforce each other as social media informs email marketing. Respond to prospects' questions on social media sites in a personal, engaging and focused way. This deepens and broadens your social network. And it nurtures your brand. Include links in your email to your social media sites to increase your followers. Also, gently suggest customers refer your business by sharing your email. Integrating email with social media improves effectiveness more than when employing each channel independently.
Integrating Email Marketing with Search
The superiority of email lies in its ability to address every part of the buying cycle. And it embarrasses permission marketing, which has replaced interruption marketing. Integration with search gives you several benefits. Newsletters or eZines are an excellent way to extend reach and build awareness. Adding relevant keywords to your emails increases prospects' likelihood of finding your newsletters. You can also drive more prospects from search engines to your website by posting newsletters to your site. Keyword-rich emails also help increase the chances of your emails going viral. Combining email with search provides customers with marketing they want. As Jay Baer would say, email has "Youtility". This helps improve your leads and grow your business.
Integrating Email Marketing with Content Marketing
This one's a no-brainer. You can use email as content, as a content delivery tool and as a way to drive conversions. Let's take email as content first. Do not write about your products and services. Instead, focus on solving customer problems or discuss ground-breaking industry news and trends that affect your clients. Email buildings trust by publishing relevant information. Email also serves as an effective delivery tool. You can attach value-added content like product brochures, case studies, and videos. Finally, email can drive prospects and clients to landing pages. This advances conversions. Integrating email with content makes it easier for prospects and clients to access, digest and act on information you published.
Email Marketing Outlook
Due to the exploding growth of mobile devices, email marketing may reach a tipping point by 2015. Today, email has many benefits, but its future lies in integrating with other marketing channels. As business leaders purse the integration of email marketing with other channels suggests email is here to stay. Obviously, your competitors think so – judging by where they're spending their money.
Questions for the Savvy Marketer
Does your marketing plan take a holistic approach? Are you integrating email best practices into your marketing efforts? Are you increasing your leads and growing your business as effectively as you could? If you do not have a limitless budget, consider integrating smarter email marketing with your other marketing channels. If your lead generation needs a reboot, email might be a good place to start.