The advantages of email marketing are many, and a good number of them are not immediately obvious to anybody but people who directly work in the marketing industry. However, whether you’re the owner of a small business or you work for the marketing department of a larger company, it’s worth asking why email marketing is important and taking a more in-depth look at the practice as a whole.
There are a few disadvantages of email marketing too, and we’ll examine those towards the end of this article. Firstly, however, let’s take a look at the many benefits of email marketing – 16 benefits you should know about.
16 Benefits of Email Marketing You Should Know About
Let’s get started and have a look at the 16 benefits of email marketing you should know about:
Email Marketing Is Cost-Effective
One of the great things about email marketing is that it sidesteps a lot of the costs associated with traditional circulars. Printing and mailing costs simply aren’t a thing with email marketing, and it’s consequently much cheaper than traditional mailing. You often don’t even need to have a paid account – services like HubSpot offer great packages that are quite generous with the number of subscribers you can email.
You Can Easily Personalize Content
Modern mass mailing tools make it incredibly easy and convenient to send personalized emails to your customers (or potential customers), and is one of the biggest benefits of email marketing for small businesses and big ones alike.
Personalizing an email can be as simple as including the recipient’s name in the subject line – and, in fact, research has shown that mass mails that employ this strategy have a far higher CTR (click-through rate) than emails with generic subject lines.
But personalization doesn’t have to stop there. You can design and use different templates for different target customers; perhaps you want to use different images or tweak the text for returning customers, for instance, than for first-timers.
You’re Targeting A Willing Audience
One of the things unique to email marketing is that you’re sending marketing materials to people that have actually requested them. People have to opt into a mailing list, so there’s almost no chance of annoying customers (or potential customers) with unsolicited advertising. And if they’re not happy, they can always unsubscribe.
Note, however, that this is not carte blanche to send as many mass mails out as you can. It’s always possible to overdo it and end up with a bunch of unsubcribes. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you don’t schedule too many mass mails – one or two a month generally does the job, unless research suggests that you can get away with more.
It Builds Brand Recognition
The most successful companies have managed to hone their brand to such an extent that they’re synonymous with the industry they work in – consider Starbucks or McDonald’s, for instance.
Emails are an extension of a company’s brand, and with the right design and esthetic you can make sure that your emails build brand awareness for you. By making use of this pipeline directly into customers’ inboxes, you can make sure that you’re providing unique and informative content and that you’re working to make your brand inseparable from the industry you operate in. There are many great all-in-one solutions that can help you with this, like the HubSpot email marketing platform.
It Can Offer Real-Time Feedback And Analytics
Why is email marketing effective? Because it can, amongst other things, offer you real-time feedback on your customers’ preferences and habits. You can embed links to surveys and questionnaires in your emails in order to solicit feedback from your customers, but even without this, the dashboard of mass mail services can often provide useful insights and statistics such as the number of times your emails were opened and the CTR of any links embedded in your email. This can help you to fine-tune your emails and improve your email marketing strategy in the long run.
It Can Drive Profits Up
Email marketing accounts for billions in profit each year, and it’s estimated that it has a ROI of $44 per dollar spent. That makes investing in email marketing practically a no-brainer!
Email marketing is a fantastic way of taking advantage of impulse-purchase tendencies. With a compelling enough call to action and a convenient way of making purchases (like one-click purchases linked within the email) you can have customers making fast purchases and driving up your profits in no time.
It Improves Communication With Your Clients
Email marketing is not simply about making a naked grab for more sales – it’s a great way to keep in touch with your customers and keep them updated about developments in your industry and other news. You can also use it to keep them apprised of upcoming promotions and sales, and even offer subscribers special discounts and bargains that are otherwise unavailable, making them feel “in the loop” and subsequently increasing brand loyalty.
It’s Easy To Set Up And Maintain
One of the key benefits of email marketing is that it’s easy to set up and maintain. You don’t need to be Steve Jobs to set up a mass mail account, nor do you need a huge marketing team to keep it ticking over. Most mass mail platforms offer intuitive and easy-to-grasp user interfaces and templates, and you can master the basics in an afternoon. What’s more, automation tools make it easy to schedule your mass mails far ahead of time, ensuring that you can ‘fire and forget’ a lot of your emails. You can also split your mailing lists into subgroups and arrange for certain mass mails to be sent to one subgroup or another, making for excellent personalization and targeted marketing.
This ease of use only increases once you have a collection of preferred templates that can be easily modified for future campaigns.
Make Optimal Use Of Your Time And Budget
Time is money, as the adage goes, but also money is money. Any savvy business owner would like to make optimal use of each, and one of the advantages of email marketing is that it’s easy on both. Templates and automated tools (as well as, increasingly, AI tools) ensure that you don’t spend any longer than is necessary on your email marketing, and the host of free or affordable mass mailing options out there mean that you’re not going to break the bank.
It Can Drive Traffic To Your Website
A well-designed email doesn’t just hook the reader, it finds some way to send them through to your website and, therefore, improve your traffic. This is a powerful factor – and one of the key advantages of email marketing. This in turn makes your website more legitimate in the eyes of Google, as it improves your domain authority (DA) – which makes it easier for your content to rank higher.
Just remember that every email you send needs to include an appropriate CTA and a link to your website that they’re likely to click on. The more subscribers click through, the faster your domain authority will improve.
Your emails don’t just have to be targeted specifically to your subscribers – you could bake in incentives for those subscribers to share the email or forward it to friends and family. We’re not talking about the long-dreaded chain email, necessarily (they still have a bad rap decades after they became stigmatized) but simply one where the subscriber is incentivized to share it.
When done well, this means that your customers are doing your marketing work for you, and you’re getting free exposure and recommendations that potential new customers will implicitly trust. Done poorly, of course, and we’re looking at a chain mail situation, so it’s a fine line.
Email Marketing Can Build Brand Authority
One of the benefits of email marketing for small businesses and big ones alike is that, done correctly, it can increase your business’ perceived authority. This is typically done not with direct marketing, but rather by using your mass mails to disseminate information. This could be a ‘top ten blogs of the year’ email, a link to some of your YouTube ‘how-to’ guides, or something similar. By constantly offering subscribers new and useful information pertinent to your industry, you’re establishing yourself as an authority within that industry, and they’ll grow to trust you and value your opinion all the more.
It’s The Perfect Medium For Self-Promotion
It can quite often be seen as self-serving and shameless to self-promote in many places, such as on Facebook or Twitter. But that’s not the case with email marketing – emails are, in fact, the perfect place to self-promote, and it’s practically expected of businesses to do so.
It’s worth mentioning (again) that your customers opted into your mass mails. They want to hear about you and your business. They’re not going to be turned off by your business’ self-promotion (and if they are, they can simply opt out of emails). This makes your emails the perfect place to push new products, offers or updates.
Mass Mails Have Immediate Impact
Emails, unlike traditional mail, hit your customers’ inboxes immediately. There’s no waiting period – as soon as you hit ‘send’ (or your mail is sent out at its scheduled time) then it’s in your customers’ inboxes ready to be read. It’s also great for high-intensity, urgent campaigns like 24-hour fire sales or something similar; something that requires immediate action on the customers’ parts to take advantage of something unique or temporary. In the age of the smartphone, everyone has immediate access to their emails, and push notifications mean that you can grab customers’ attention immediately with a catching enough subject line.
It Allows You To Build A Proprietary Customer Database
When talking about the benefits of email marketing, we have to mention that it is a great tool for building a customer database. Social media is great for building and maintaining a following of loyal customers – but who is it that actually owns that data? If Facebook shut down for some reason tomorrow, would you be able to get a hold of all of your followers? Probably not; that information is tied to the platform, and is irretrievable if lost.
That’s not the case with mailing lists. You have a direct pipeline to your customers by way of their inbox, and that information is valuable. The fact that email marketing allows you to retain that information indefinitely (and add to it) makes it invaluable to your business.
You Can Build Excitement With Exclusive Emails
We touched upon this earlier, but by cultivating a VIP or exclusive mailing list, you can help to build a sense of excitement and exclusivity, which is definitely one of the key advantages of email marketing. By offering sneak peeks on upcoming events or products or ‘inside information’ to a select few, you can not only make those subscribers feel unique and privileged, but you can also generate buzz and free word-of-mouth advertising when those subscribers share what they’ve learned with other people.
It’s important to strike a balance with this – you don’t want other subscribers to feel left out or neglected, of course – but done right, this can a really great way of getting your customers hyped for your products, and it can help to build brand awareness.
Are There Any Disadvantages Of Email Marketing?
No marketing channel is perfect, and email marketing is no different. Done wrong, this method of marketing can end up irritating your customers and potentially even drive them way. Therefore, after having discussed the many advantages of email marketing, here are some of the disadvantages of email marketing.
It Can Be Perceived As Spam
Spam emails – essentially, unsolicited mass mails sent indiscriminately – are the bugbears of the email world, and have been universally loathed since the earliest days of commercial emailing. So reviled are they, in fact, that any reputable email account provider has a dedicated spam folder where such emails are banished without ever being seen by the recipient.
It’s easy to avoid being marked as spam, in theory: don’t send unsolicited marketing emails. Everyone on your mailing list should have opted onto that list, and if they unsubscribe, they shouldn’t be sent further emails. Developing a reputation for sending spam does nothing but hurt your brand image.
Emails Sometimes Don’t Get Delivered
While one of the key advantages of email marketing is that they are easy to deliver once you have your mailing list, email addresses sometimes get entered incorrectly – and, unlike traditional mail, where the postal service can puzzle through poorly written addresses, the wrong email address is simply the wrong email address, and your email will get bounced.
Furthermore, email filters and scanners are increasingly sophisticated, and many email account providers screen for certain spammy words. If your subject line is full of block capitals and “$$$!” then there’s a good chance that it will simply get filtered before it even gets to hit the spam folder.
It’s a good idea, then, to keep up to date with contemporary email marketing practices, and make sure you don’t overstep your bounds.
There May Be Design Issues
When sending a mass mail, it’s crucial to remember that not everybody will be reading it on their desktop or laptop. Further to this, many people have filters enabled that mean they can only see plaintext and that images won’t load.
This means that your emails need to be able to reach as many people as possible. Make sure that important information is not embedded within graphics (as some people won’t be able them). It’s also a good idea to ensure that your emails don’t take an age to load, as this can rapidly turn potential customers off and lead them to simply close your email without reading it.
They Do Require Some Time And Effort To Get Right
Though mass mails are relatively easy to design and send in this day and age, that doesn’t mean that they’re completely effortless. It’s still necessary to sit down and get to grips with the tools needed to design and send out a high-quality mass mail. Sure, that may only be an afternoon, but it’s still an investment of time and (human) resources. If you’re unwilling or unable to devote or the manpower to this, it might be worth outsourcing this to mailing experts who can take care of all the logistics for you.
It’s Easy To Unsubscribe
One of the disadvantages of email marketing is that it’s usually easy for customers to pull the ripcord and opt out of your mass mails. In fact, a great many countries have laws that make it mandatory to have an ‘unsubscribe’ option displayed prominently to make it easy for subscribers to opt out.
How can you prevent people from opting out so easily? By making sure that you’re offering informative, engaging and consistently high-quality emails that make customers want more, not less.
There Can Be Fierce Competition
Remember that you’re not the only company who’s going to be competing for the attention of potential customers. Any company worth their salt knows the potential benefits of email marketing, and they’ll be trying to exploit that angle same as you.
Make sure, then, that you stand out from the herd with consistently high-quality mass mails. If you’re informative, entertaining, and – most importantly – don’t seem as if you’re simply trying to sell your subscribers stuff. The less like marketing your emails seem, the more successful they’ll be.
It’s not hard to see why email marketing is so effective, considering the 16 advantages of email marketing explained above. But, it can be difficult to strike the right balance. By putting in a little time and effort, however, it’s easy to take advantage of this unique and lucrative marketing channel, and ensure that before too long you’ll have people lining up to subscribe to your mailing list.