If you think email marketing is a thing of the past, think again. In fact, email marketing is more effective than social media, SEO, and content marketing according to recent data. With almost four billion users worldwide, email continues to be one of the best ways to reach a targeted audience while delivering a strong ROI. Despite all of the exciting changes and additions to the world of marketing, email continues to hold its ground. Not only is it still widely used, it’s getting more powerful by the day.

Why Email Marketing is the Way to Go

Three words: Return On Investment. When it comes to ROI, email marketing blows the competition out of the water. Recent reports show that for every $1 marketers invest in email, they’ll see $42 back in their pockets. This staggeringly high ROI is achieved by increasing sales conversions and driving more relevant traffic back to your website. When you combine email’s affordability with it’s out of this world ROI, using email marketing for business is a no-brainer.

Email marketing reaches a slice of the population that’s already shown interest in your brand or business and has given you explicit permission to continue contacting them. This is a dream scenario for marketers, and this kind of access is hard to replicate elsewhere in the marketing world. Once someone appears on your email subscriber list, they have at least reached the interest phase of the sales funnel, but could as far as the purchase phase; they might even have one of your products or services in their cart.

Consider how wide-spread and reflexive email is. Users subconsciously check their email dozens of times per day, and if it’s required for work or school they check it even more often. Some studies have revealed that people check their email before and more frequently than their social media pages, and for many, it’s the very first thing they check before their feet hit the floor in the morning.

The personal dimension to email is another reason to invest in this form of marketing. Email is similar in a lot of ways to a physical mailbox — it’s on personal property and contains personal information. Because of this, people are hesitant to give out their email address but it also means that when you send them an email, you’re reaching them in a personal way. Current technology allows you to capitalize on this sentiment and customize the emails you send to have an even bigger impact. We’ll talk more about customization later on.

Email doesn’t let you down. You know with almost 100% certainty that your message will reach the inbox of your intended audience. Other forms of marketing can’t give you that same guarantee. Facebook and Twitter for instance have an algorithm bias meaning large swaths of audience members may never see your content.

Finally, email marketing is so effective because emails demand action. Not only do marketing emails often include explicit Calls-To-Action (CTA), but the email itself is an implicit CTA. Think about it. Everyone is programmed to take action on an email in some way — respond, forward, file away, delete, click through, etc. You can easily ignore a banner ad or promoted instagram post, but you can’t permanently ignore an email. Because emails are so action oriented, they will help drive traffic to your website and convert sales.

How to Get the Most Out of Email Marketing

1. Optimize for mobile.

With most research reporting that about half of all emails are opened on a mobile device, it’s essential to optimize your emails for the mobile format. If they aren’t, there’s a good chance your message will be deleted before it ever gets read. Because you don’t know which device your audience will use to open your email for the first time, it’s critical to use modern design software that takes the guesswork out and creates a seamless user experience across all devices.

2. Take advantage of professionally designed templates.

No one has time to be a graphic designer, coder, content creator, and IT support all in one. Work smarter, not harder by utilizing a premade, professional designed email template for your next campaign.

3. Customize your emails.

The ability to add customization to your emails accentuates the personal aspect we discussed earlier. Find as many ways as possible to tailor your email messaging to the individual subscriber. Use their name, birthday, browsing and purchase history to personalize your messages and make them believe they are the only one receiving that email.

4. Use data analytics to improve your marketing campaigns.

Successful email marketing is all about gathering data from your campaigns and using that information to improve the quality of future campaigns. Most email marketing software makes it easy to track important user metrics like open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate. These data points will paint an accurate picture of how your emails are being received and if you need to make any adjustments.

5. Perform A/B testing

Running A/B tests on your email marketing campaigns is smart practice. It’s one of the best ways to cultivate the data you need to get a clear picture on what works and what doesn’t. A/B testing, also known as split testing, is the practice of sending two different variations of an email campaign to a small group of email subscribers and using the results to determine the winning version.

Your email marketing software will allow you to pull some basic levers like subject line, sending address, and the actual content in the body of your email. Make small but distinguishing changes to each version and select a small sample group to test on. After a designated length of time, analyze the data and use the results to crown your winning campaign version. Metrics like open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates will make it easy to decide.

6. Focus on high-quality, relevant content.

Email is the currency of the internet and when your subscribers signed up, they “paid” for your content with their email address. Because of this, they expect to receive interesting, helpful content that’s relevant to their needs. Consumers’ inboxes are constantly inundated with useless white noise, so find a way to stand out and rise to the top.

Relevancy can seem like an elusive concept but it can be easily achieved if you focus on the right things:

  • Personalization. As discussed earlier, email marketing gives you huge opportunities to personalize your content. Use this to your advantage. The more tailor suited your emails are to individual recipients, the more relevant and therefore successful your emails will be.
  • Segmentation. Zooming out from the individual level, focus on grouping your subscribers according to demographic, browsing/purchase history, general interests, etc. and sending emails relevant to those segments.
  • Automation. As your subscriber list grows, giving your customers individual attention will become unfeasible. That’s where carefully created automated emails come into play. It’s easier than ever to send personalized, relevant emails at just the right time.

7. Security.

While you’re working hard to create a successful email marketing campaign, hackers are working even harder behind the scenes to compromise your subscriber list and steal valuable information. Cybercriminals understand how vital email marketing is to companies of all sizes so they’ll use every trick in the book to sabotage your efforts. As long as email remains a major communication tool for businesses, email-based attacks will remain a threat. According to Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, one in 412 emails are categorized as malicious emails.

Thankfully, there are some simple, readily available ways you can protect your business and customers from these security attacks.

  • Educate your subscribers on malicious email attempts. Train them to identify spam, phishing attempts, and other forms of email security threats. Remind users to add trusted emails to their contact list and to never provide personal information or open links from a sender they don’t recognize.
  • Prevent hacking attempts at the root level by performing routine security audits on your own internal systems. Some of the most damaging cyber attacks can originate from within an organization so make sure you’re regularly updating passwords, monitoring who has access, and conducting cyber security training for employees.
  • Protect outbound mail by adding a firewall. Hackers can access your campaigns through stolen credentials or forced entry and add viruses or fraudulent attachments to outgoing emails. This type of hacking is dangerous because it can easily go undetected.
  • Despite all of your best efforts to prevent security threats to your email marketing campaigns, you or your subscribers may fall victim to cyber attacks. Develop a plan now, before it happens, about how you will handle it when it arises. Your customers’ security, your company’s reputation, and everybody’s sensitive information is all at risk. Make sure you have a crisis management plan in place.

Take advantage of the unique value email marketing brings to your business. Don’t miss out on this low cost way to increase website traffic, boost sales, and generate brand awareness. Email is a powerful way to communicate with your audience and new technologies are being developed every day to drive its impact even further.