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Digital Spark LLC
Step Into My InBox: An Introduction to Modern Email Marketing
Email marketing sometimes gets a bad rap. In this age of social media and peer review, some even argue that email marketing is an outmoded means of getting the message out. Much of that, though, is bellyaching for the sake of bellyaching. Email marketing is as prevalent as ever and there’s measurable evidence that its effectiveness has never been greater. What’s challenging is learning to harness its power and transform it into quantifiable success.
It took a long time for consumers to come back from what were effectively the scorched earth tactics of nascent email marketing. Come back they did, though. And that was due in large part to 3 main factors: 1) improved technology and 2) smarter marketing, both of which led to 3) the rise of the empowered consumer. What follows is a brief overview, but we’ll look at all three in depth in the coming weeks.
The Birth of Anti-Spam Technology
Email and email marketing have had one hell of a ride in our digital age. From its inception, email was a fast and relatively cheap way to deliver your message to the masses. This, of course, led to what can only be termed the Age of Onslaught, with retailers, advertisers and spammers waging an all-out war on inboxes. Any victories, though, were pyrrhic: jaded consumers turned deaf ears to the messages, target audiences lay apathetically across the battlefield and whole inboxes capitulated or were abandoned as gigabyte after gigabyte of junk stretched or exceeded storage limits.
Much of the heavy lifting in helping consumers overcome their reticence towards email marketing was done by spam filters. These little gems are the equivalent of armed guards granting passage of legitimate email into your inbox while denying access to unsolicited bulk email. No filter is foolproof, however, and smart spammers continually devise techniques to get around filters and other anti-spam techniques employed by email providers.
Luckily, filtering capabilities have evolved right along with spamming. 2-way and customized filtering are just some of the tools available today to combat spam. Email marketing platforms like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and others have taken a lot of the guesswork out of creating attractive emails formatted specifically to meet anti-spam standards. And user-friendly analytics programs like Miapex give marketers the wherewithal to know what’s working when, where and why and how.
The Advent of Smart, Scalable Marketing
From capturing data about current or prospective clients to automating the processes of sending, receiving and responding to emails, the new tools of the trade have made marketers better informed about who their customers are and what they’ll respond to. And they’re using that information to do smarter, better email marketing.
Part of being better and smarter is capturing not only the subject matter but also the tone in which customers want to be addressed. Custom-crafted content yields higher rates of engagement. Higher rates of engagement give you a direct line to higher conversion rates. And all the current data lends credence to the fact that if you’re looking to move from conversation to commerce, email just works better than social media. In short, modern email marketing gives you or your business hands-on control over the process from start to finish. And that’s just smart.
The Rise of the Empowered Consumer
For years, the process of sales and marketing was something that happened TO consumers. Billboards, radio, TV and print ads -- it was all a one-way conversation dictated by those with something to sell. As communication channels opened and technology was put into the hands of the many, that dynamic shifted. Enter opt-in marketing.
Opt-in marketing involves consumers in the process by letting them decide what information they share with the companies and what kind of information they’d like to receive in return. And at every step in the process, the consumer has the ability to remove themselves from that process, either by unsubscribing or further refining the parameters of each interaction. In essence, the two – both the company and the consumer – enter into an agreement and establish a level of trust. This empowers consumers but also makes the company culpable to a degree. Violate that trust and risk losing business.
Today’s successful email marketing strategies involve both the knowledge and the know-how to use the tools at hand. Over the next few weeks, we’ll arm you with both.