Why Email? Why Not?
A dirty little secret: most of my blog posts begin as questions someone asked. In truth, it makes it easier to have a conversation and relay information than to just regurgitate marketing messages you don’t really want to hear. You can thank me later. All too often, though, I get caught up answering those questions in a how you should way versus explaining why I do. Recently, a friend asked, “so, email marketing… why do you do it?”
Ok then, let’s get personal.
To understand why I do email marketing, you have to know what it is. Email marketing, loosely defined, is the act of communicating to and engaging with your audience via — you guessed it — email. With so many other notably more flashy opportunities for digital engagement, there are obvious arguments against email marketing. But, for me, the pros very much outweigh the cons and there’s one selling point in particular that keeps email in my media mix:
Everyone* has an email address.
*Everyone is 89% of US Internet users as reported by eMarketer. In fact, last February, eMarketer said that email usage among that very population is now so saturated that it’s unlikely to experience ramps in growth aside from expanding with the natural influx of Internet users. By 2019, email is expected to reach 90.9% of those online. Even our beloved social networks can’t compete with that number when it comes to reaching.
Take a look at email from both a user experience and marketing perspective and you’ll notice one more amazing trend: email is the universal log-in. When a website, app or platform asks you to sign in, what information do they request? More often than not, it’s your email address, right? The rise of user-centric content and the logged-in state of anything has made ownership of an email address a requirement for being online — ensuring that everyone* does, indeed, have an email address for many years to come.
Need more justification than that? I’ve got you covered:
24/7 access to instant traffic.
Owning an organically built email list is like holding the keys to instant engagement anytime I need it. If you’ve collected email addresses according to best practices, then your list should be loaded with users that fall well within your target audience and are exceptionally interested in your content. Anytime I email my subscribers, I see an instant boost in site traffic, engagement and buzz about our brand.
Welcomed touch point.
By opting into your list, your subscribers have already said that they want to see your content. Email is a user-managed touchpoint — allowing your audience to, at any time, say they do or don’t want to see more from you. I love the idea that my list is full of users that have a genuine interest in what I have to say. I haven’t tricked them into being there, I didn’t buy them from someone else. Out of respect for their trust and interest, I send them reliably relevant content that keeps them coming back for more. That balanced relationship helps to not only maintain a great relationship with my brand but also keeps email ranking as one of the most effective mediums for communicating with my audience.
Room for innovation.
With just over 40 years in digital space under its belt, email may seem like the ‘dinosaur’ of the Internet. Fine, fine — I’ll take it. Mostly because dinosaurs are awesome. What is also awesome is the amount of innovation happening around email. The medium is constantly being optimized, boundaries are being pushed and other media are being integrated. Want to play a video in your email message? That can happen. Need to deliver a more personal message? Email plays the personalization game beautifully. Want customers to shop from your message? Someone has thought of that too! Looking to monetize your list? We’ve got you covered.
While email may have its restrictions, it’s those very challenges that force us to innovate and develop ridiculously cool solutions for engaging with our audience in new ways. The options are still very much limitless if you open your mind to how users are prepared to engage.