Email overload is a common issue plaguing individuals and businesses alike, as all too often important messages and genuine opportunities are lost in the daily deluge of an overflowing inbox. Irrelevant newsletters and unwanted promotional emails only exacerbate the problem.
In a digital age, where information overload has become the new normal, do email campaigns still work?
Grant Fleming, CEO of Leadify, a cloud-based, fully automated sales fulfillment platform which has performed over 150 million email and SMS transactions for clients in the last quarter alone, suggests that not only is conducting a successful marketing campaign via email worth the effort, it can offer significant advantages for customers and companies alike too. Here he elaborates how with these email marketing techniques.
Email can be a win-win
When done right, not only do emails bring value to the end user, but they can simultaneously be turned into a powerful business tool. “Our experience has shown that good targeting and clever exclusion handling has rendered over 90% profitability across the campaigns. For example, from 100 000 loan leads per month, a client generated around R30 million in consumer loans,” he notes.
Consider an online etailer. It will regularly email relevant promotions to customers, based on their previous purchases on the site, along with a discount voucher if they make their purchase in a particular time frame. Both the etailer and the customer win – the former secures the favour of their customer and improves sales, while the latter is able to buy something they desire at a reduced price. Additionally, by leveraging a user’s profile and their recent searches, email campaigns could offer them clothing or products, at a reduced rate, for items or services that they are currently seeking.
With some foresight, the value of targeted email campaigns could go further still. As digital assistants the likes of Siri, Alexa and Cortana becoming increasingly common, targeted email campaigns could become a rich source of data. One’s digital assistant of choice would be able to automatically search an end user’s inbox for current promotions and alert them to ongoing offers, and even purchase the item in question, on their behalf, using just their voice. Far from being a bane, email campaigns could then become an integral part of the future of shopping, with relevant information coming to users via their virtual personal assistants. This is provided, of course, that they remain subscribed to marketing campaigns so that this data can be mined in the first place.
For savvy marketing managers, the potential is just as far reaching. A targeted campaign that delivers 10,000 emails a month rather than 100 000, can receive the same percentage of responses, at a lower cost. “Leadify campaigns can also be tracked, and adjusted for, in real time allowing for course correcting while the campaign is running, rather than waiting for after the marketing budget has been spent for lessons to be learnt,” explains Fleming.
More importantly, it gives those running the campaign agility – the ability to respond to and take advantages of business opportunities and customer queries – as they arise. As today’s customers expect instant gratification, failing which they move on to the next supplier, being able to respond more quickly ensures competitive advantage.
Respecting and protecting the recipient
For those using email as a means to engage hundreds of thousands of relevant recipients, it is essential that the right email reaches the appropriate person to ensure that it is not arbitrarily discarded. “Failing to do so can not only cost companies needlessly, it can also irritate and alienate their target audience,” Fleming warns. Worse yet, it could earn the brand sending the message some deserved animosity and potentially highlight how little they know about the recipient. Sending an individual who has existing life cover an email for a funeral plan makes as little sense as trying to market specials on dresses to men.
Lazy targeting can also result in the recipient removing themselves from the database entirely, which averts any future sales from being secured and makes it almost impossible to get them back again.
Furthermore, the rise of ransomware, distributed by email phishing attempts, which have risen by 267% in the past year, according to Malwarebytes Lab, is also a genuine concern. This need not obscure the value that targeted emails can bring, but it does make it more important for brands to build the trust of their customers, and offer demonstrable benefits on an ongoing basis. It also makes it even more critical that a campaign is handled by those who understand the complexity in delivering an email, securely.
“Ultimately, email is a double edged sword. However, to whatever extent it may be considered a bane,so too can it be utilised to become a boon to businesses for whom attracting new customers remains a prime directive,” concludes Fleming.
Initially published in Entrepreneur Magazine.