Last time I wrote about the topic of marketing it was related to Marketing Automation. The big deal about this at the time was that automating is key because it lowers the amount of resources needed to run your marketing department and can automate emails far beyond what Email Marketing with traditional campaigns can accomplish. Now I want to take a step back and showcase why email marketing is so important for 2 reasons: 1 – all companies have to start somewhere and most small businesses cannot jump into Marketing Automation head first; 2 – email marketing is an important topic to understand if you are going to be successful with Marketing Automation.

The Basics of Email Marketing

In its simplest form, email marketing is a just another marketing medium; an alternative to direct, or postal, mail campaigns, cold calling campaigns, or even trade show marketing to a lesser extent. The reason why email marketing has become so popular is for a few reasons.

Low Cost  – Email marketing is, for the most part, free of delivery costs. Unlike direct mail where you must pay for postage, with email, there are no postage fees associated with delivery. Originally you could get away with sending anything to anyone, but lately regulations within the industry and further steps taken by internet service providers have greatly reduced the amount of spam their users receive and along with with spam protection on the corporate level like SpamAssassin or Barracuda, they have become the gatekeepers to email sent. As a result of the legislation, users must opt in or express some interest to have your email not immediately flagged as spam, and you must provide an opt out link. We will get into details about that later.

Accessible Anywhere – This one may not seem obvious at first, but it should be. Unlike cold calling that could go to a client’s voicemail only to be deleted and the call never returned, an email goes right to their desktop or mobile device. It is more than a voice on the other end of a line or a name in a logo, it’s text that you get the opportunity to present to the audience. Much like a novel the text / offer must be compelling. This is because like a website, emails have an average attention span of 5 seconds to grab the user’s attention and compel them to read more or act on the campaign.

Timely – Emails, unlike direct mail, can be delivered at any time of day. Additionally, unlike cold calling, you don’t have to have reps sitting around all day to call the user at the right time in their time zone. In fact, with some email delivery tools you will be able to make deliveries in the user’s timezone at the time you want it go out. This is one of the greatest benefits of sending email campaigns.

The Anatomy of Email Statistics

Knowing the basics is only the first part of the battle. Being able to take that information and turn it into usable data that can help you understand your clientele or audience better is what will make your campaigns grow into something viral and keep them coming back for more. Some of the most basic facts include Open Rates and Click Rates.

Open Rates are usually the first statistic that email marketer will look at. Open rates tell you a part of the story. First they assume the user gets the message in an HTML format and that images show up because most tracking is a 1×1 pixel that when opened, will report back that the email was opened. Knowing this, most email marketers will tell you that open rates are not very predictable and having an open rate greater than 25% is a good target to shoot for.

On the other hand, Click Rates can tell us a lot more. First if a user clicks, we know they opened it. This is great because text emails or emails with the images turned off will be counted too. Also an action was taken, the click, so we know we have a user who is more engaged than those who merely opened the email to, at the very least, mark it as read so they only see new messages in their inbox. Then we can turn to Google Analytics to see where the user goes from the click to the end, or at least to where we would expect them to go after the click action takes place.

While there are other email statistics available those are the most important, but as we see, they only tell the beginning of the story. This is where Google Analytics or Marketing Automation can be used to test different scenarios and further nurture you leads. In another example, think of an email as a mascot on the side of the road getting you to step foot in a store. Even if you don’t sell your product online, having your potential customers engaged to the point they want to learn more is a step in the right direction.

What’s Next???

So we have gone through the basics of what you can hope to learn from email marketing and where it fits into the automation process, but also how it stands on its own. In the next installation of the series, we will look at what it takes to build a quality email for marketing purposes and some different techniques that can be used to get your readers more involved and taking action on your website, in your store, or wherever you want them to go next.

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