Advantages of Email Marketing – Why Is It the Answer for Your Business?

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) tells us that 90% of companies use email marketing and they describe email marketing as the new hero for troubled financial times. Their research shows that more than half of companies surveyed expect to increase their spend on direct email this year, many of them cutting back on traditional direct mail in order to do so. It all sounds great, but why is email marketing the answer for your business?

There are three massive advantages to email marketing compared to traditional marketing techniques:

Its inexpensive, the cost of email marketing campaigns is significantly less than other marketing strategy. As the medium is so scalable, you also have the ability to commit as much or as little as you want to email marketing.

Great Return on Investment, no other type of direct marketing will offer the same sort of ROI as email. This is partly because of cost; you aren’t spending as much in the first place, but the flexibility of the medium also has an impact. Targeted email marketing allows you to personalise campaigns to your customers. It is also a great way to maintain the relationship with your existing customers and to make them aware of offers. When done right, there a great return on investment, but you can still get it wrong. If you don’t have any in-house experience of email marketing campaigns, then it can be wise to take expert advice.

Measurable, an email campaign allows you to measure effectiveness more than any other type of direct marketing. You are able to track every opened email, every click, every email shared right through to the sale. This differs massively from a direct mail shot where no one can tell you how many went straight into the bin.

With email you can see if your campaign has worked, but perhaps more importantly you can see where it didn’t work and what didn’t work. This allows you to learn from experience and use that feedback to tailor your email activity to your customers needs.

Nobody will tell you they like spam, but what do we actually mean by that term? At the moment opinion is shifting towards the idea of spam as an email that is irrelevant to the user. Beware of allowing this to lull you into a false sense of security though. A recent DMA survey showed that 75% of consumers found less than 20% of emails they received to be relevant to them.

There are still many people who class spam as something they didn’t sign up for. Another study asked consumers to rate acceptability of promotional emails out of 5 (5 is most acceptable, 1 is least acceptable.) Permission clearly made marketing emails more acceptable, where the consumer had given permission for ongoing communication participants rated it as 4.1 out of 5. When the consumer had interacted with a company, but had not given permission for contact, the score dropped significantly to 2.5. The worst score was for marketing material from companies who had not been given permission and with whom the consumer had never interacted. This scored 1.7 out of 5.

The moral of the story seems clear; concentrate on targeted email marketing campaigns to make your email more relevant to your customers and focus on marketing to opt in lists. This seems like the surest recipe to ensure your emails are not classed as spam by any user definition.

Inbound Marketing Is A Clever Way Of Growing Your Business

These days, a new technique is revolutionizing how businesses market their products. It is known as Inbound Marketing.

Today, let us talk about what Inbound Marketing is, how it is changing the face of traditional or outbound marketing, and why you should be interested about it.

Traditional or Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing or traditional marketing is a way in which companies go out and find customers. It is a push strategy. Outbound marketers mainly adopt two strategies:

They put out advertisements in television, billboards, print media, etc. for people to see.
They also actively reach out to people by making cold calls, sending direct mails, etc. These are techniques which are interruptive in nature.
Not everyone likes interruption

Remember how you have received calls from marketers while you were attending that urgent meeting, or that ad that came on TV just before the climax of the movie was about to start? What was your reaction to these interruptions?

I remember having blacklisted a financial services company because a sneaky cold caller from its office called me thrice in a single day, and finally got very upset because I couldn’t talk to her as I was on a business tour!

Needless to say, only a handful of those who receive these calls or see the ads actually remember the product and buy it. Outbound marketing relies on purchases made by a small percentage of people who see the ads, or receive such calls. This results in wastage of the money spent in reaching out to people who are not interested.

Another problem is that, with the advancement of technology users are now able to block these marketing messages easily. Most of the direct mass emails land up in the junk mail folder. There are reports that people have also developed a blindness towards most of the ads that are shown on television. And let’s not forget how people get irritated with cold calls made to them. As you can see, the outbound method of marketing is losing its sheen rapidly.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing on the other hand, is not an interruptive strategy at all. It adopts a Pull Strategy, wherein instead of reaching out to your customers, you attract them to yourself.

Its foundation lies in adding value to the users instead of bombarding them with marketing messages. This value is provided in the form of useful content which helps the users in one or more ways. Many users go online looking for a solution to a problem that they are having. Inbound relies on solving their problems or giving them valuable information first, and building up engagement with them afterwards.

When users get benefited by what you have to say, they try to hear from you more often. Over time they start trusting you and would also be interested in using the product or service that you have to offer. When people come to you looking for solutions, it is far easier to delight them, and increase your sales eventually.

Thus, unlike in outbound marketing, where the communication with the customer starts with trying to sell something to them, in inbound sales is something that comes later, only after the user has become comfortable, and has started trusting your business.

The inbound marketing process

It starts with attracting visitors to your website
Next, you convert these visitors into leads
Close the leads to make them buy your offerings
Thereafter, you engage with them a lot more and continue to delight them. This will keep them loyal to you, and will also become your brand ambassadors by telling others about you. This increases repeat sales and cross sells. Eventually the need for prospecting for new customers will decrease over time.
The techniques used in Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a strategy which is created by combining the best of the digital marketing techniques. The exact techniques that are used in this strategy depends on the type of the business, its goals, and the customers that it wants to cater to. The following are the digital marketing techniques that are used to create and Inbound Marketing strategy:

Content marketing: This is the core of inbound. The business needs to create great content which will attract the users. When the users read content that is valuable to them, they would visit the website of the business in search for more information. The business has to continue to give valuable information to customers regularly.

Search Engine Optimization: The website needs to be optimized for visits by the users. Various search engine optimization techniques are applied to make sure that they get the best experience by visiting the website of the business.

Social Media marketing: A strong presence in relevant social media channels has to be built-in order to engage with the users. Apart from the website, the business will provide information through social media also. It also has to listen to what the users are saying, receive feedbacks, and offer solutions to users’ problems. Social Media is also a great way of understanding their needs and expectations of from the business.

Email marketing: The business needs to keep in touch with customers by sending emails to them. Not only is this a great way of building engagement with prospective customers, but it also is a very effective tool for customer retention. Inbound however, depends on permission-based emails which users have consented to receive. Unlike in outbound marketing, Mass Mailers are never sent out to any customers in inbound.
All these strategies are combined to form an effective strategy that completely changes the way the business markets its products. Inbound can also result in significant cost savings when done correctly. However, the results from Inbound Marketing take some time to show up. Businesses have to consistently do it over a period of time before reaping the benefits. However, once the transition is complete, the benefits keep flowing in.

Using Direct Marketing to Increase Profits

Direct marketing has earned its place as a cheap way to create leads that transform to fresh business opportunities. One of the often used methods is direct mail. For a business to succeed in this area, a perfect choice of marketer must be made. The business must look for a company with a good reputation and experience. Majority of firms that purport to promote direct marketing are the “fly by night” category or the shady type with nothing to show. Their ability to generate a mailing list and offer telemarketing services should be near perfect.

Telemarketing is a sub-branch of direct marketing where consumers are contacted directly via phone. It has gained popularity due to increased usage and penetration of the mobile phone. Telemarketing leads reach a wide spectrum of consumers among them professionals and businesspeople. Direct mail has traditionally been used to send printed or illustrated material to selected prospects.

If used properly, direct marketing can help increase a business’ profits in as short period as a month. Direct mail can be customized as the needs of a business may change from time to time. This makes it very flexible. To develop important leads, first identify the market segment you wish to address. For instance, if you are selling supplements, you may target first time mothers who want to lose the extra weight gained during pregnancy. Another group may consist of men in the middle age brackets, who simply want to eat healthy food.

After the market is identified, look for a direct mail services provider. Request them for a mailing list. In some cases, you will buy this list at a small fee. Customized letters are then created. To use this direct marketing method effectively, the letters should enumerate the benefits of the products or services on offer. They are then posted to the respective addresses as detailed on the mailing list. The responses arising out of this are the leads which if aggressively followed will translate to sales.

The company can assess the success or failure of a direct marketing campaign. For example the direct mail letters may request a prospect to quote a number, code or tear off a coupon and present it on the next purchase. When the customers start making inquiries, the code numbers will be noted and entered into a special database created for this purpose. Once the leads have been entered, any subsequent sale will be marked against its respective lead. At the end of the campaign all sales arising from the direct mail promotion will be used to determine profit volumes.

Direct marketing is not entirely a new concept. Direct mail campaigns have been carried out for a while now. The method is cheap as compared to placing advertisements in newspapers, printing poster or buying prime time on television stations. It generates more leads and is easy to monitor. Telemarketing services can be used together with direct mail as tools to bring large volumes of leads hence more business as it connects with clients.