The Importance of E-mail
… And why it should be part of your marketing mix
By Reggie Brady
If you follow Internet marketing, you've likely been inundated with coverage of the importance of search engine marketing, blogs, RSS feeds, etc. Each of these techniques may have a place in your marketing planning, but it's time to underscore the importance of e-mail as a critical component of your planning.
As a retention and loyalty-building channel, e-mail even can surpass direct mail, the industry's "workhorse." Here are nine reasons why e-mail should be part of your marketing mix.
1. It is cheap. The cost to communicate with existing leads, prospects and customers can range from almost no cost (if you send e-mails internally) to very low cost ($1/M to $10/M) if you outsource delivery. A good retention e-mail marketing program should represent less than 5 percent of your entire marketing budget.
While most readers of this column are direct mail marketers, you can't argue with the facts: Direct mail is expensive; and soon, rates will rise even further with the postal increase. E-mail affords you the opportunity to reach out and touch your audience more often to create a deeper relationship.
2. It provides a substantial return on investment (ROI). A well-constructed e-mail stimulates interaction. Recipients are motivated to purchase a product, register for an event, request more information or read additional Web content. On average, retention e-mails generate a 7 percent click-through rate. These are individuals interested enough in your message to learn more. Studies have shown that between 4 percent and 5 percent of those who click will purchase. When coupled with the relatively low communication cost of e-mail, this response means a strong ROI.
3. It is the primary way to leverage the investment in your Web site. Most sites actually get enough traffic. The real issue is that more than 80 percent of site visitors never return. This is a lost opportunity. If you prominently feature on your Web site a value proposition that establishes why visitors should sign up for your e-mail program, you'll receive permission to begin developing and sustaining a relationship with these prospects. They've specifically told you they want to hear from you. What a wonderful thing!