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Does Email Marketing Still Work? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


With email open rates plummeting (and with more and more people increasingly relying on chat apps, social media direct messaging, and other forms of communication), you may be wondering whether email marketing is even effective anymore (and this is coming from someone that has sent over 30 million emails in the last 10 years… no joke, I looked it up).

But the truth is that marketers have been consistently INCREASING their email marketing budgets over the past five years. The reason? Email marketing continues to have a return on investment that is four times higher than social media, direct mail, or pay-per-click advertising.

The key is to ensure that your messaging and targeting are getting you in front of people who are genuinely interested in your content. That’s best achieved by observing the following four steps:

Get GDPR CompliantYou’ve no doubt been using an opt-in/opt-out solution to ensure you don’t SPAM your list members. If so, keep up the good work! But in May 2018, the plot thickened! That’s when the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which affects how business worldwide collect and store data from residents of the EU. If you are automatically adding someone to your mailing list whenever they register to download a PDF from your landing pages – then you are not GDPR compliant, and could face stiff fines. You must “unbundle” the consent options for your two types of content (i.e, the downloadable document and your future emails) that the individual will be receiving.

Segment Your ListIf you’re sending the same content to your entire email database, then you’ve probably seen your open rates drop over time. There are dozens of different ways to segment your database to ensure you’re targeting the right messages to the right people. One of the best ways to to let subscribers self-segment themselves: give them options when they sign-up for what type of emails (news, offers, events, etc.) they want to receive. If you’re segmenting subscribers manually, then you’re limited only by the type of information you collect about them (age, gender, geography, industry, etc.). Plan out your email content, and then stratify your list accordingly.

Nurture to Increase EngagementChances are good that you know how many people receive your emails, how many opened them, and how many clicked the links to visit your landing pages. But what did they do once they reached your site? The content to which you take your visitors should be a funnel designed to get them closer to your end goal, whether that goal is making an online purchase or contacting you for an estimate. Not including your existing clients, most of the people on your list are soft prospects that may be interested in your company but have some unknown reservation about converting into a buyer. Try segmenting your list by these suspected “pain points,” and then send them to helpful landing pages that lessen their concerns. Monitor their behavior in your CRM software to see if your combined email/content marketing is getting these prospects closer to “yes.” We have found this to be very helpful (and fun).

Email Retargeting & Custom Audience TargetingYou’ve probably tried site retargeting, in which visitors to your website later see your ads when surfing the web. But did you know that you can also retarget to your email list, as well as upload your list to numerous social media platforms, which then match your addresses to known social media users, and then show your ads ONLY to them. This can help you get visibility for those list members who may not be seeing your e-newsletters due to their email filter settings (which is a problem we have had in the past).

It’s true that you are competing against lots of other e-marketers – and that competition is causing recipients to be more selective about which emails they open. But by observing the above five best practices, you can ensure that more of the emails you send today will result in tomorrow’s sales!

About the Author

Matt has been with the Skyline Exhibits since 2005 working in several departments from lead generation, customer engagement and marketing communications. He manages several campaigns in areas that involve database marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and website marketing. He is also a certified marketing automation administrator working on several email campaigns for Skyline's live seminars, webinars and product announcements.

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