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Balancing ease and effectiveness with email marketing

Richard Jones Archive

No matter how crowded the tech world gets and how murky the picture becomes for marketers, the fact remains: There's still no match for effective email marketing.

Companies' branding strategies have changed dramatically in the last decade or two. It's always been a popular tactic to engage in direct marketing, contacting people in one-on-one situations in an effort to build a rapport. But recently, new technology has forced marketers to rethink the channels they use for customer communications. Why send them mail if you're spending 40 cents for a stamp and spending so much time packaging and mailing? Why make phone calls if people are just going to hang up?

A new technology-driven strategy has taken over. The envelopes and phone calls have taken a backseat, and the approach now is to find out what types of devices and communication platforms people are using, then contact them there. Mobile apps have become tremendously popular for this reason. Social media engagement, especially through platforms like Facebook that people use every day, is on the rise as well.

But interestingly, there are still many reasons for marketers to fall back on email instead of the newfangled methods that are receiving so much hype today. In fact, a recent study rated email as the No. 1 strategy out there on two different fronts - not only is it the most effective tactic a marketer can use, but it's also the easiest. Let's dive into those numbers.

Email takes the cake
According to Forbes, a recent survey from Gigaom found that marketers today view email as both their most effective marketing tactic and the least difficult. In terms of effectiveness, email was praised by 54 percent of respondents, with web content second at 48 percent. When asked about difficulty, only 11 percent had concerns about email, versus 23 percent with online content marketing.

Steve Olenski, senior creative content strategist at Oracle Responsys, told the news source that this data is largely unsurprising - it represents practically universal truths about marketing on which many companies already agree.

"Truth be told, I am much more on the not-so-surprised side of the aisle as quite frankly, these results were to be expected," Olenski explained. "Based on this survey and previous ones, it was no surprise to see email score so high. I'd love to speak with the 11 percent who voted it as being most difficult, however. Would be very curious as to what exactly they're doing or in fact, not doing, that makes email marketing so difficult."

In truth, email should never be viewed as an impediment to marketing success - nor should companies worry about its impact. The ease and benefits are both clear.

Finding the direct impact
The thing about email marketing is it provides an easy way to engage. If someone "likes" you on Facebook or retweets you on Twitter, that's nice, but it's a long-term process with no surefire route to business success. An email is more direct. If someone responds, you can follow up quickly and make a sale. The effectiveness of email isn't hard to measure - it's fairly evident in the customer conversions it generates.

Marketing success with no sweat
It's also a fairly simple strategy. Programming a mobile app is difficult - it requires either in-house expertise or a lot of money to pay an outside contractor. Likewise, social media can be a grind, as it's difficult to ensure your voice is heard in a crowded space. Email, though, is something we all do every day, and everyone has the know-how to make it work.