While talking about ividence’s email ad exchange recently, a simple question was asked: “Why email advertising?”
This is a question we naturally think about pretty often. We talk daily with media buyers who have an ever-increasing number of tools to reach consumers. They rely on us to show them how adding email ad campaigns into their marketing mix can deliver big results.
Obviously, strategy and tactics can make a big difference, but I believe there are four things you should understand about email advertising that make it an excellent medium to use for your customer acquisition campaigns, whether you represent a digital agency or a brand.
1. Email is an engagement medium.
To open an email, subscribers click (or, increasingly, tap). For some email clients, another click is needed to display images. Then, to act on an offer, a subscriber will need to click yet again. So, there are potentially three clicks between a subscriber and your website.
Amazingly, email’s average click through rate (on that third click) is still far above display, search, and social advertising. Retention email has an average click rate of 4.7% according Epsilon’s latest data; display has a CTR of 0.09%; Google doesn’t give exact numbers but suggests that a good CTR is 2%; and Facebook’s CTR is at a dismal 0.051%. For email advertising, ividence sees an average click rate of 1.5%.
That’s because email is an engagement medium. Nearly 20% of time spent online is on email. That’s a big chunk, clobbering the 5% spent shopping and coming very close to what we all know as the biggest online time monopolizer/waster: social networking.
People expect to interact with emails, whether replying, forwarding, or clicking a link. Email users will sometimes even make their inbox into a makeshift to-do list, highlighting messages that remind them of things they need to do.
2. Email represents a personal connection.
Email marketers often spend a lot of time talking about email lists. We talk about average engagement and unsubscribes and other metrics. We have to in order to speak to large trends in our email programs.
But there is a person behind each of those email addresses. If you could look inside their inbox, you’d find emails from friends, family, and the brands they know and trust. You’d find transactional emails from when they fell in love with an item online and had to order.
3. Email offers true one-to-one targeting.
With that personal connection, email offers the opportunity for true one-to-one targeting. Email marketers are still trying to get a handle on this opportunity, but the industry has been constantly improving: from segmentation and creative personalization to triggered messages and improved preference centers.
Email advertising presents the same opportunity. Not so many years ago, most email advertising offered meager options for targeting: age, gender, location, etc. Now, email advertising can be sent based on behavioral targeting algorithms that predict (based on past interactions) the likelihood that a subscriber will welcome or respond to a particular message.
With deliverability growing as a challenge for many email marketers, making sure that emails are welcome is more critical than ever for earning the trust necessary to make it into the inbox.
4. Email is highly trackable.
Email marketing is all about numbers: opens, clicks, conversions, unsubscribes. If more than two email marketers end up in a room together, odds are that, at some point, someone will say, “test, test, test.”
Email advertising lets you see potential customers move through a conversion funnel: receiving an email, opening it, clicking on a link within, and converting or abandoning on your website. You see exactly where in the process you have problems and can work to improve each step in the path (including pixeling your landing pages to retarget abandoners).
Email advertising also allows you to break those funnels down into demographic groups at each stage in the conversion funnel. You should be able to easily see which are your most profitable segments and use that information to either better target or to improve your creative.
Obviously, email isn’t the only advertising channel you’ll use, but it can give you a host of new tools and capabilities to expand your reach and impact with your marketing program. Have you tried email advertising for your brand or your clients? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Photo courtesy of ideagirl.
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CEO & Co-Founder
Eric Didier is a successful serial entrepreneur with a broad background in enterprise software sales management, complex software development and product management for web technologies. He was the founder and CEO of Soamai in 2000, a metadata applications company which was acquired by Allen Systems Group in April 2004. He can be reached at email@example.com.