Targeted, cheap, fast, trackable and with more reporting than traditional offline direct mail techniques, email marketing is used extensively by international marketers.
But although why is an easy question to answer, how is one that causes more headaches.
By rushing into email and not using recognised email marketing service providers, many appear to be successfully conducting successful strategies. Dig deeper and it is a different story:
Building a database for the future
Marketers have adopted recent EU legislation that ensure individuals "opt-in" to your messages and respect data privacy. The flaw is in how much data people are collecting. By not integrating data capture techniques for mailing address, telephone and fax number, a company becomes hostage to always using email marketing.
Industry unsubscribe rates are reported as between 0.2% and 5% (MarketingSherpa). Over time, without investment in an acquisition programme, your database will dwindle. Integrating data capture (often after first contact) of additional contact details provides an alternative communication channel when the email route is ended.
The appropriate message
The fundamental question is whether to begin an email newsletter programme or to adopt promotional adhoc messages. Most favour the newsletter route, committing to:
- Reaching critical mass: Get enough volume and the list will self-breed through recommendations. Not get enough and your list will degenerate meaning expensive list acquisition programmes.
- Content: you are locked into providing regular , high quality content that people value. Although good content is expensive, it has a clear association with your brand.
- Timing: you commit to providing a regular communications. Having a newsletter of only two issues suggests you have nothing to say.
These factors come down to resource. Managing an email newsletter programme is not the low cost, low risk activity that many marketers believe it to be.
So does this mean that ad hoc promotional messages are key? Industry research conducted by Marketing Sherpa shows that email newsletters have a 10 times lower unsubscribe rate (0.2