In the first post about the role of email marketing in the social media day and age, I wrote that email marketing is not only about customer satisfaction and will continue to be used for other purposes too.
So what are these other purposes email marketing will still be used for? Let us look at a few and see how they have changed in this social media day and age. I’m just running through them and adding some thoughts from a social media perspective now and then.
There is much more to say about each and everyone of them. That’s where I hope your comments come in. Let’s summarize them and please say what you think.
1. Traffic building
This is the obvious one. Email newsletters remain powerful ways to drive traffic to the websites or blogs of the sender. In an online environment with several million websites that all seek the attention of the online consumer, email newsletters remain a great way of reminding the subscribers of the existence of a website and of driving the necessary traffic to it. In case you doubt this: ask the average publisher when his traffic spikes. Combining email marketing with social media marketing enables you to build even more traffic.
2. Recruiting and acquisition purposes
Whether you organize an event, look for employees or want to build a database, the interactive character of email marketing still enables you to build a permission based database of people that are interested in your specific action. This can be done by sending out emails on your own opt-in database, by renting lists or by sending out messages in email newsletters of third parties that target your focus group. Email marketing is not only about retention.
3. Sales purposes
There has always been discussion about sales and email marketing. But email marketing sells and we all know it. However, it probably sells better if you integrate user-generated content or links to it (as this case proves), and if you add that social networking aspect. Sales promotions by email simply work, of course under the condition that they are sent to opt-in and thus interested subscribers.
4. Customer retention
Regularly sending out a newsletter to inform customers about your products, company or community works for customer retention purposes. Wait a minute? Don’t I always repeat that you should email share-worthy and relevant content and that companies should think recipient-centric instead of company-centric? Of course. However, that does not mean that there aren’t people that are interested in being updated about your business or products. The important thing is that you enable them to choose what they want to receive. Simply providing information or relevant content can serve customer retention purposes but taking good care of your customers by giving them something special in return for their valuable email address is even better.
5. Lead generation and management
Email marketing offers marketers a way to identify the needs of their prospects and existing customers (including opportunities for cross-selling, up-selling, etc.). Analyzing the behavior of the recipients and listening to their feedback in email and on social media enables marketers to map their needs. But these days, email marketing platforms are (or should be) integrated with other platforms such as web analytics, CRM, lead management solutions, customer intelligence platforms, etc. Especially in B2B email marketing, lead generation, sending specific content based on the actions of subscribers (actions that should be predefined in function of the customer life cycle and buying process) and lead management are increasingly important.
Can email be used for branding purposes? Many observers claim that email is a direct response medium so how can email serve branding purposes? Let’s be clear: it does. The various brand attributes such as brand awareness, loyalty and purchase intent, can all be served by email. As a matter of fact, everything, you do has an impact on your brand, including one little post on a blog or message on Twitter.
Marketing is a dialogue. Setting up conversations with customers is key and cross-channel conversations rule. That’s why social email marketing is becoming so important. Use your emails to involve your community. Integrate email marketing and social media and don’t look at email as a mass medium. However, don’t forget all the other, more traditional goals that make email marketing such a great way of communicating, engaging and…selling.
Of course this list is not perfect or exhaustive. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Here is the link to the first post about the role of email marketing in the social media day and age.