Email Marketing: A Surprisingly Effective Tool in Digital Sales

If you ever heard the expression “email is dead,” you better check your sources. Email marketing is far from being ineffective, and according to a 2017 study conducted by Custora, email marketing actually contributes 7% of total customer acquisition, making it the third best customer acquisition tool behind organic search and CPC.

Not only did email marketing bring in the third most customers, but the same study showed that customers reached through email marketing are 11% more valuable than the average customer, spending well above what customers brought in from organic searches or social media spend on average.

Shocking? We all know social media is on the rise in digital marketing, but the key to long term success in any modern business is to never forget or forsake the old methods just because something newer emerges, and we see that clearly with email marketing.

Let’s take a look at email marketing trends to be on the lookout for in 2018, ways to kill it with email marketing this year, and some spectacular email marketing campaigns to learn from.

Trends To Watch For

Automation

Email marketing is a huge component of any successful marketing campaign, but hand-drafting email after email takes time, money, and resources that could be more efficiently used.

In 2018, we’ll see email automation take precedence over hand-crafting every single email that leaves a company. We’re already seeing the start of this automation, like when you receive an “auto-response” after purchasing an item, booking an event, or registering for a webinar. As technology continues to unfold, we’ll be able to automate even more email processes, making campaigns run more smoothly.

The Litmus’ State of Email Survey shows us that successful email marketing programs are more likely to generate more than half of their email revenue from automated and transactional emails rather than personally drafted emails. With a return on automation that high, it’d be silly to ignore the double value of automated emails in the increased returns and lowered personal attention needed to execute the strategy.

(As a note: I use Active Campaign for my email automation – it’s a powerhouse with a pretty low price point to get started. If you buy through my link, I will receive an affiliate commission – but I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t use it and believe it’s a fantastic tool for the job.)

Personalization

Deep learning and artificial intelligence is transforming the ways in which we do business and marketing in unexpected and revolutionary ways. Daily. One of the consequences of deep learning technology is the ability to tailor emails to a customer so personally that it leaves the customer with everything they need to make a purchase easily.

Consumers are already coming to expect this level of personalization.

Just think about the last time you watched Netflix – you were given a slew of recommended titles that the algorithm thought you’d like. Take that technology and apply it to marketing, and you have a whole new world of connection in an instant.

Predictive Analysis

Another consequence of this deep learning technology is its advanced ability to predict what a customer will do, want to see, or interact with in any given piece of communication. The deep learning technology analyzes past consumer behavior and applies that data to future marketing campaigns, allowing marketers to “see” what the computer thinks a consumer will do with any piece of marketing at any time.

While any computer program leaves room for error, deep learning is stunningly accurate in almost every application so far, and there’s no reason to guess that it wouldn’t be just as accurate in predicting the types of information that will catch a customer’s eye, too. The ability to predict consumer behavior allows marketers to even further personalize campaigns for better results.

What You Should Do

New Methods To Jump On

Knowing where email marketing is headed in the coming years, you should get a jump on the game by reviving all of your dead email campaigns now and start building your lists again through lead funnels and offerings.

If you’ve kept your email campaigns up and running, you’re already off to a great start. Now’s the time to start learning how to automate your email processes and build some killer campaigns to load into automation software so that your campaigns are ready to go when you need them.

The “connection” piece of any marketing effort is especially important now as it was in 2017. We’re running away from overly salesy, impersonal emails and working towards connection, sharing, and value in every communication we have with customers. Don’t let the rise of automation distract you from the most important aspect of marketing – connection.

Old Methods To Continue

While machine learning is revolutionizing the “how” of marketing, it isn’t changing everything about our processes. In any good marketing effort, you have to follow the path that has always worked:

Define Your Goals

Every successful marketing campaign starts with goals. After all, if you don’t know what you’re working towards, how will you know if you are successful? The best goals are objective numbers. For example, “I will acquire 2,000 new subscribers this month.” or “I will generate 50 qualified leads from this campaign.”

Objective goals are measurable, allowing you full access into their power. Subjective goals leave you without direction and without a way to determine if you’ve met your goals. If all you say is, “I’ll grow my email list this month,” you’ll technically be successful if you get one new subscriber, but will you feel successful?

Know Your Audience

Just like goals, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how do you know what to say? Or if what you’re saying is being heard? Every great company has to know their buyer’s persona – the scaffolding of the person who will be your ideal client.

Knowing both broad facts about your ideal client and intimate details allows you the ability to tailor your messages to that client, saying exactly what they need to hear, where they need to hear it, and when they need to hear it.

Build Your Email Lists

No email campaign will get far if you don’t have a list to send it to. Lists are most commonly built with online funnels, exchanging a valuable piece of information or product in exchange for an email address.

In addition to funnels on social media ads and your website, you should consider adding an opt-in to your email list on your email confirmations, blog, social media profiles, and anywhere else that a potential client could see your business online. (And don’t forget about offline marketing channels, too!)

Plan Your Emails

It’s a good idea to have several separate email campaigns that can be triggered by any number of events – a purchase, a sign in for a free offering, a sign in for the newsletter – before you launch your email campaigns. Since each email sequence can have any number of emails, you can plan them to correlate with each other or work together to introduce your potential clients to new products.

When you write all of the email campaigns before you launch any of them, you have the ability to be more in control of what information is being shown to potential and current clients at any one time, giving you more power to execute a well-run campaign.

That being said, don’t let over-analysis keep you from implementing SOMETHING. If you’re trying too hard to plan everything and end up implementing nothing… stop it. Just get something done and go from there.

Execute Your Campaign

After all of the set up, it’s time to launch! You can use any number of automation softwares to help run your campaigns, and once you set it, you can forget it!

But don’t.

Seriously, don’t. If you set up your email campaigns once and never look at them again, they’ll be stale, and they’ll feel stale to your clients over time. Plus, testing is how you ensure that you’re getting the absolute best results from your marketing efforts.

It’s good to periodically check in with your email campaigns, rework some of the content, refresh the content with new blog posts you’ve written and encourage readers to check out your latest offering.

Marketing is a never-ending cycle of planning, executing, evaluating, and replanning the next step. But by keeping on top of the cycle, you can elevate your strategies to produce killer results.