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We often hear the question, ‘is email marketing effective for my products?’. The short answer is a resounding, bolded, caps-locked YES. Email marketing is direct, cheap, personal and measurable. The more interesting answer is ‘Yes, but only if you are smart about it.’

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is what it sounds like, using email to market and sell your product or service. Even though it sounds simple, getting the right messages to the right people is difficult.

Imagine you’re a dog owner, but your local pet food store keeps sending you coupons for cat food over email. Would it make you want to go visit? More likely you’d think they were a store focused on cats.

The question then becomes how do you make sure you’re doing email marketing well? We’ll get to that here. The good news is that email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing technique.

What makes email marketing so effective?

Your inbox is direct. Other methods like blog posts, social media pages, SEO, PR efforts, etc. are all indirect.

People are more open to hear about a new product from their inbox. What’s the alternative, a sponsored blog post or social media advertisement? No one clicks banner ads, people open emails. Emails are action-oriented.

Email is inexpensive. Unlike many other marketing methods you don’t have to pay to play. Most email service providers are free to start using. If you are a heavy sender, then there are paid options. With so many competing email services out there, monthly rates keep on getting lower. Consumers of email marketing products win.

You can test and measure your email campaigns. For example, you can measure and improve the open rate. The open rate is the rate someone opens your emails. You can check out a blog post on improving your open rate here. Aside from the open rate, you can also test and measure your click through rate. The click through rate measures how many people who read your email ended up clicking a URL. You can A/B test email subject lines and body text to find out with is getting you the best open and click through rates.

Personalization. Imagine your name is Alex and you saw a Facebook ad that said ‘Hey Alex!’. Bet you’d be a bit creeped out. With email, you expect your emails to be addressed to you. And having them addressed to you makes you that much more likely to pay attention to whatever that message has to offer. For someone crafting that message, it only makes sense to start an email with the first name of your potential customer, Alex. No problem. This personalization can than lead to the holy grail: high email open-rates and click through rates.

This type of personalization doesn’t stop with the recipient’s name or company. New platforms, like help email senders source content that is relevant to their recipients interest. This personalization grabs attention and provides your email recipients with better content.

And finally, email marketing is a tactic that integrates with other parts of your marketing and sales strategy. Have a flash sale on your ecommerce website? What about a viral waitlist campaign before launching a new SaaS platform? Email marketing is much more than cold emails to prospective customers. It is the key to executing innovative marketing strategies and also a tool for building a lasting relationship with your client.

What is the key to success in email marketing?

The same elements that make email marketing so effective are, also, relevant to their success. But what we’ve covered above only scratches the surface. More on the keys to email marketing success to come.