“Email is probably dead,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said back in 2010. However, she may have spoken too soon. Close to a decade after, e-mail is as strong, if not stronger than ever.
According to Statistica, around 281 billion emails were sent daily in 2018. This year, the computations show around 293 billion emails a day. The number is only expected to grow in the coming years, with an estimate of 306 billion emails to be sent every day.
A reason behind this growth in email usage is the combination of more and more people having e-mail addresses (as Marketo estimates that 94% of internet users going online for email alone) and the continued growth of users accessing the internet through mobile primarily.
It’s not just the Gen Xers and business owners who are leading the surge in e-mail usage. 70% of Gen Z say they prefer e-mail as their method of communication, especially when it comes to product information.
If you’re looking to stay competitive in the coming years and want to stay connected to your audience, you have to bolster email marketing in your business plans.
Don’t know where to start? We have some tips.
Minimal cost for maximum reach
If you think e-mail marketing is just an added cost to your marketing, think again.
For some businesses, maintaining a social media presence is all they need for marketing. They invest in social media managers in the hopes of going viral. However, marketing should include efforts on all fronts.
Email marketing targets your captive market. This means the audience that has already interacted with your brand in some shape or form – whether it’s creating an account on your site, signing up for newsletters, or through joining one of your promos.
You can grow this audience for a minimal cost. Send news about your brand, give them early access to promos and discounts, and share related information that they may appreciate.
You can also purchase premium tools and other services that automate and personalize your emails. But don't forget, traditional emails can do wonders if used right. In fact, a study by the DMA says emails are still more effective than programmatic pay-per-click advertising and SEO.
Invest in newsletters
Newsletters are a way of creating a relationship with your users.
Your goal here is to reach out and make your audience feel like they are part of a larger community. Show them that your brand’s relationship with them is not just about making a sale.
For starters, you could start with brand news and promos. This is topline email marketing. From there, you can create a different set of newsletters like blog-type newsletters. Make it interesting enough for people to sign up for it.
The rule of thumb is making your newsletter 90% educational and 10% promotional. These can be listicles about related topics, or curated stories from the internet that you would just like to share – as long as they are thematically in line with your brand.
It’s also a good idea to create dedicated newsletters so your topics aren’t cluttered. Buzzfeed, for example, has a newsletter just about cats. Make your newsletters reads your audiences look forward to.
Work on your subject lines
With all the emails entering a person’s inbox, you have to make your email stand out. You need to make the subject creative enough for people to click your email at the moment they get it. If they see it and say “I'll read this later,” they probably never will.
Make your subject line engaging. Use it to tease what’s inside. Do away with the “NO REPLY” sender name as it screams automation. Try personalization. Hubspot reports that emails which include the first name of the recipient have higher clickthrough rates than those without.
What sets newsletters apart from long-form fiction or journalism is that they are personal, leisurely reads. You do not want recipients reading your email for hours.
Think mobile: readers want to glance at your email for 5 minutes between breaks and feel satisfied. A trick is keeping your words concise and your design minimalist. According to Litmus, the average attention span for emails is just 13.4 seconds, and the ideal length of an email is just around 50 words.
You can choose to put a big picture and supplementary copy, or you can just go write a 1-3 paragraph musing. Remember that concise is not the same as short. You don’t want readers to think that you provide empty content.
Avoid having multiple calls-to-action in one email. Choose between a “Sign up,” “Purchase,” or “Click Here.” You want to be transparent with the one thing you want your readers to do.
Go ahead and add links to supplementary material, or other additional promotions for your brand, but you can do without these.
Optimize for mobile interactivity
Lastly, think mobile.
Many users may opt to disregard your email if it is not optimized for mobile. What you want to do is promote engagement from your email.
You can do this through simple design fixes. Put gifs and animated buttons instead of static images. Use a sliding carousel for your product catalog. Not only will you save space, you are also giving readers something to do.
You can also try surveys and polls. This way, you let the audience know that you’re interested in what they have to say. Plus, this is also an effective form of gathering user-generated content.
E-mail marketing isn’t going away any time soon. It is cheap, easy, and provides good results. If you want to boost your business in a simple but effective way, these tips can help you unlock the full potential of your company’s mailing list.