Despite what you may think, email ain’t dead. In fact, it is tied with search engines as the most popular online activity according to the latest Pew Internet survey.
And it is still the number one way people share information according to AOL/Nielsen.
No, email isn’t dead. It is still very much a thriving aspect of the marketing mix and a key activity in building customer relationships.
The challenge with email is not whether to use it, but how to use it effectively to build on the relationships so important to the success of your business.
And for small businesses that challenge can be even greater as customers have come to expect a level of personalization and a “human touch” in their digital interactions.
AWeber Communications has partnered with MarketingSherpa to produce this Special Report: 5 Steps to Building Stronger Email Relationships and they gave me the opportunity to preview the report and to summarize here for all of you. While the report was designed specifically for small businesses, I found the findings apply to any business seeking to gain more from their email marketing efforts.
I was happily surprised to learn that the main objective for email marketing for small, medium and large enterprises was to retain or grow their subscriber base through the use of highly relevant content. This was true of 71% of the 2.735 marketers who responded to the survey.
And, this is really important because any business that focuses solely on getting every drop of business value from their list will see the size of their list drop quickly through declining subscribers and increased opt-outs. This is also why less than 5% of marketers reported seeing a drop in their total subscriber numbers. ROI is certainly on the list of top email objectives for close to 40% of marketers, along with increasing subscriber engagement and integrating email with other marketing tactics.
Growing and retaining subscribers was still identified by a majority of businesses and more so by small business marketers:
The Email Experience Council reports that each year corporations lose roughly one-third of their email addresses. No matter how healthy an organization’s list is, or how relevant their communications are, there is a constant demand to add new subscribers.
Additionally, the survey found that as many as 20% of businesses do not practice basic list segmentation or send their emails with clear goals in mind. This was particular true for small businesses who have no distinct disadvantage based on size that could prevent segmentation, timely delivery or setting clear objectives.
5 Steps to Building Stronger Email Relationships
The five steps laid out in the report include:
- Be Selective: focusing on quality subscribers provides an advantage over quantity. Organizations that focus their list acquisition strategies on meeting the expectations of the consumer often see better performance in all metrics.
- Clear Expectations: once an email address is acquired, the company should be very clear on what they will be sending the subscriber. This sets the stage for a solid business relationship.
- Segmentation: effective companies utilize personalization, triggers and content mapped to different buyer stages to effectively segment and target their email efforts. Companies should invest the time in managing email subscriber preferences.
- Automation: The effective use of automated and timely emails simply makes them more likely to be opened and read.
- Optimization: Testing is the only way to ensure email is effective and valuable for your audience and yet, 25% of large and more than half of small enterprises do not test any aspect of their email marketing. Companies can set themselves apart through a testing strategy for segmentation, subject lines, landing pages, content, and creative approaches.
I hope you found these tips helpful. I’d like to give a special thanks to AWeber for giving me the opportunity to preview this special report.
Now tell me: what email marketing advice has worked best for you?