Strengths & Weaknesses of Email Marketing

    By | Small Business


    It’s no secret that our world revolves around email. The average annual email rate has grown by over 4 percent annually since 2015, with 2017’s daily email total forecasted at around 269 billion. By the end of 2021, worldwide email users will surpass 4 billion. Further, 73 percent of Millennials identify email as their preferred means of business communication. It’s only logical then that small business owners should utilize email marketing to promote their products.

    Email marketing is certainly something all business owners should invest time and money to do. But while creating a business email is super simple, email marketing is more than just occasionally typing a messaging and hitting “send.”

    Let’s talk about the benefits and downsides of email marketing so your SMB can create a strategy.


    Email Marketing Pros

    Easy to Define Success

    While any internet marketing channel will be easier to measure than a radio spot or TV ad, they aren’t all easy to track. Email marketing however, is more straightforward than SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. This is because the data you need to make informed decisions is presented through only a handful of metrics. Measuring engagement is as simple as tracking your open rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and overall return on investment (ROI).

    If you’re running more of a content-focused campaign, then subscribe rate also comes into play. Other “failure” stats like bounce rate and unsubscribes should also be monitored, but in terms of defining success, the four metrics above are all you need.


    High ROI Compared to Other Channels

    Not only is email marketing easy to track, it also delivers a high ROI. According to Campaign Monitor’s 2016 annual report, every dollar spent on email marketing generated $44 in revenue, up from $38 in 2015. The same report found that automated emails led to a 320 percent revenue increase compared to non-automated emails. Email marketing also produced 174 percent more conversions than social media. Lastly, 80 percent of retail professionals indicate email marketing as the greatest driver of customer acquisition and retention. What other channels could be so effective at both?


    Generates Great Customer Research

    Email marketing is effective because of segmentation. Segmenting customers by various categories allows companies to deliver more personal messaging to their customers and leads. This increases the engagement metrics referenced above. You can utilize the information users provide if they want to opt-in, creating customized messages based on their birth date, gender, job type, or location.

    Then again, bombarding your users with requests for their personal information won’t always go over well. A more tasteful idea could be to create surveys or quizzes. This will give you more granular level of data, such as user preferences and beliefs. Finally, you can separate active users from inactive users based on your open rate and CTR. That segmentation should never be ignored.


    Email Marketing Cons

    Hard to Guarantee the Delivery of Your Email Design

    The design of your emails is arguably as important as the messaging. You could be proud of the template you’ve worked tirelessly to design, but you can’t guarantee your contacts will be able to view it like you intended. With all the different email clients and browser versions used, as well as requests being sent to servers across the world, expect that your email aesthetics won’t reach all your contacts the same way.


    Potential to Cause Churn

    Email marketing can very well help convert a customer. It can also cause you to lose one. When improper messaging is sent out or errors are made in email delivery, it can cause customers to unsubscribe and hold your brand in low regard. Before you know it, your time and money have lost you a customer.


    Requires A Lot of Bandwidth and Attention

    Email marketing can seem attractive upon ideation, but in reality, many companies don’t have adequate resources to execute successful campaigns. Email marketing isn’t one job; it requires more than one skill.

    A successful email marketing campaign requires a solid strategy, compelling copy, eye-pleasing design, data analysis, A/B testing, and proper coding. That translates to at least six jobs. One could argue a quality assurance specialist, and even a project manager depending on the size of the campaign, are needed as well. Email marketing can yield big dividends but it’s hard work keeping customers engaged. The task isn’t for the faint of heart. This shouldn’t deter SMBs, but instead inspire them to devote energy to plan a successful email marketing campaign.

    Now that you know a bit about the pros and cons of email marketing, what do you think it could do for your business? Remember to bookmark Yahoo Small Business Advisor for more tips and tricks on web hosting, marketing and ecommerce.

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