Snapchat wowed the world as a unique way to reach users in a new and exciting way. Then Instagram developed its “Stories” feature to mimic that success, and Facebook (which owns Instagram) rolled out its own Stories feature. Even LinkedIn has rolled out a Stories feature now, for that matter.
Most of that is a distraction.
Getting caught up in the excitement of technology makes it easy to forget that these aren’t always the best ways to plan and execute your digital marketing strategy.
You want your business to generate a predictable flow of revenue based on the most effective and affordable processes you can implement. Why wouldn’t you want your marketing efforts to return a reliable flow of leads and engagement from a reliable and affordable process as well?
That’s where email marketing comes in. It’s not sexy, but it provides the stability that every business needs.
Everyone Has an Email Address
Marketers spend so much time thinking about going where their prospects live, and the answer couldn’t be simpler.
They live in their personal inboxes.
So why don’t businesses target those inboxes? It just makes sense. You don’t need to worry about an algorithm affecting your visibility on a given social network.
Interested prospects will open your emails. Uninterested prospects won’t, and you can move on to new ones without wondering (after exploring new copy, images, subject lines, etc.).
Everyone can write an email (in theory), making it easy to implement.
Yes, some email campaigns are more sophisticated than others. Large businesses have megalithic email lists with 1,001 segments based on specific interests, actions taken, and lead scoring. It’s a little intimidating.
But you can get just as much out of an email list with a handful of people who want to hear from you once every 1-4 weeks.
Don’t worry too much about how sophisticated your emails should be—just get started to see if it works.
You don’t need a certification in Google Analytics to make the most of email marketing. You’ll look at a few key metrics to see how you’re doing:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate (CTR for short)
That’s not so intimidating, is it? You can measure your audience’s interest as well as the effectiveness of your subject lines with the open rate, and the effectiveness of your writing and calls-to-action.
Save Time with Automation
You can save templates for your weekly campaigns whenever you launch a new blog, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Good email marketing platforms let you craft precise campaigns based on tripwires, pulling prospects deeper into your inbound funnel whenever they take certain actions.
Whenever someone signs up on your website, downloads a lead magnet (also called an offer), opens an email, or clicks a link within your email, you can decide to send them another email at a time of your choosing.
Nurture Your Organic Search Traffic
Email marketing doesn’t work on its own, exactly. That’s because it’s purely a remarketing channel, not an acquisition channel. “Buying email lists” is a cardinal sin of good marketing, and it’s comically ineffective anyway. Good email marketing is about nurturing your leads.
They trusted you enough to give you an email address, or even just to reach out through your contact form. They’re willing to hear from you. If your content is good and you don’t spam them, then they might even want to hear from you about new posts.
It’s a great way to take your leads from “giving this brand a chance” to “looking forward to what this brand has to say every month.” Becoming the useful and reliable brand means that you’re at (or near) the top of the list when your leads enter the decision stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
It’s the second of a classic one-two-punch strategy for lead acquisition.
Pick Your Platform
There’s a wide selection of email marketing platforms out there. However, not all of them are top-tier.
This means you shouldn’t make a knee-jerk decision to use MailChimp just because it’s free. You get what you pay for.
The good news is that even the most premium email platforms come at reasonable prices, especially if you put a little effort into keeping your lists clean.
Take a look at Active Campaign, for example. It’s widely considered the best email marketing platform in the industry, and you can get it for as low as $9 USD per month with a modest email list of 500 contacts. 1,000 contacts turns that into $17 USD, which is also quite good.