Email Still the King of ROI

Email remains the most cost effective way to market your products or services, even as more of your customers may try engaging with your brand via your social media platforms. Research shows your customers want to receive emails that alert them to your new products and promotions, confirm transactions, deliver loyalty rewards, etc. The key to a successful email marketing campaign is avoiding the tired “Batch and Blast” approach. You need to deliver relevant, timely content that leads your prospects and customers along every step of the buyer’s journey.

Yes, social media platforms, your blog and e-commerce site are necessary components of a comprehensive marketing program. However, they cannot top email when it comes to your ROI. The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reports that email marketing was the top profit generator in 2017, with a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of $10.32 — lowest among all other media types DMA evaluated.

The rise in popularity of social media platforms, SMS and dedicated messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp may give you the impression that your customers don’t want to receive emails from you. Let’s debunk that myth right now. There are volumes of research to the contrary, such as this 2017 Statista report that reveals 89 percent of consumers like to receive emails from their favorite brands at least monthly.

Raise Awareness, Make the Sale

What helps make email so cost effective is that you can use it to shepherd prospects and customers through your entire sales funnel. That starts with raising awareness and interest around your products, then moving customers to the purchase phase. For example, the non-profit organization Mini Mermaid Running Club realized email was the best option for selling sponsorships for a recent event while operating within the constraints of a tight marketing budget.

“While we’ve worked hard to cultivate a social media following, email is our go-to when there’s a clear call-to-action such as registration for an event or selling a sponsorship package“, said CEO and Co-Founder Heidi Boynton. “Other channels tend to require an ad spend to get any visibility which we just don’t have the budget for. Whereas email, for a small yearly charge, we can send as many as we like and get good leads on specific campaigns.”

Build Customer Loyalty

After a customer makes that one-time purchase, use email to convert them into brand advocates. There is no more effective sales tool than the happy customer who drives new customers to your doors or e-commerce site.

Consider the case of Roku, a manufacturer of popular consumer media-streaming devices. The company discovered that about 25 percent of its new customers heard about its products from friends and family, and wanted to increase participation in its referrals rewards program. So, the marketing department launched an email campaign targeting only those new customers, offering incentives for both the referrer and the newly referred customer. Lomit Patel, Roku’s Senior Director of Direct Marketing, told MarketingSherpa that of all the channels customers could use to send referrals, those delivered by email drove 70 percent of all sales.

“Email has been the biggest way to promote [referrals],” he added. “The newsletters definitely help, but these individual emails after purchase have had the most effect.”

Nurture Long-Term Relationships

After you have secured a customer, use email to keep them coming back to you (and away from your competitors) during the reevaluation and repurchase stages of the sales funnel. A recent survey by the Aberdeen Group found that a majority of B2B (55 percent) and B2C email marketers (69 percent) are effective at maintaining consistent, relevant and personalized communications with their customers, which is critical to reducing customer churn. You want your organization to be in that majority.

Protect Your Reputation

Now that I’ve made the case for why email remains your most cost-effective product marketing tool, I want to call your attention to the fact that your email campaigns will falter if you fail to build and maintain an excellent sender reputation score. That is the number that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to any organization that sends email. The higher the score, the more likely an ISP will deliver emails to your customers’ inboxes. The lower the number, the further your deliverability rate falls.

For everything you need to know about protecting your sending reputation, check out these resources.