Direct Marketing Opinion South Africa

You still have mail: Why email campaigns pay off

In this age of realtime advertising - such as the cookie brand Oreo's now legendary live tweet during the broadcast of the American SuperBowl earlier this year - as well as interactive, online video ads, a far more humble medium continues to remain popular as a marketing and lead generation tool: email.

Despite all these new methods of online advertising that are clamouring for attention nowadays, email is still the go-to lead generation and marketing means for many companies, because it is an inexpensive, easy-to-set-up-and-use way to get their message across and to directly target their potential and current clients.

Affordable option

Even for those small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) with much smaller marketing budgets at their disposal, it is still one of the most affordable options they have to promote their products and services to as many prospects as they wish.

But even larger corporations with decidedly bigger budgets have not eschewed email marketing. In early August, the mighty Apple launched an email campaign in which they boosted their iPad tablet's capabilities as a workhorse, using the e-mail to explain how customers can use different productivity applications to accomplish various business-related tasks such as creating documents, spreadsheets and even putting together presentations.

What makes email campaigns so compelling that even corporations resort to it? Success. According to survey results that were recently released by GigaOM, a company which provides in-depth analysis on the business of technology, 56% of respondents say that email marketing was the most effective when it comes to retaining customers, 37% said it was tops for acquiring customers and 41% said it was great for creating awareness about their products or services. And in case you are wondering whether most clients won't be annoyed and put off by receiving emails from you, possibly classifying it as spam, CRM agency the Merkle Group, reports that 74% of consumers actually prefer to receive commercial communications via email.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email campaigns boast a reported return on investment (ROI) of up to 4300%. With such a potentially large pay off, it is worth doing it right.

Using different data

The success of an email campaign lies in how the data is used, rather than only buying a database and hoping for the best. It's actually all about the data and using different data. It's about making sure the message is tailored according to whom you are talking to. In order to entice people to read your carefully crafted message, you need to make it worth their while. Don't just use it as a platform to flaunt your own product or services - they will soon stop reading it, or even worse, unsubscribe. Instead, make it interesting by telling some relevant anecdotes about your business, or offer your readers something in return. This need not necessarily be a freebie or giveaway, but something such as advice on how they could achieve their own dreams.

Email campaigns fulfilling those requirements take time to create. It could be time that you and your employees could utilise better on other tasks, such as chasing up new leads.

Consider outsourcing your email marketing to experts. There are several consultancies that offer email campaigns and blasts as part of their lead generation services. And as the statistics I have previously mentioned demonstrate, hiring a specialist for your email campaign could be a worthwhile investment.

About Louise Robinson

Louise Robinson is Sales Director at CG Consulting and Database360

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