Why email marketing is the most powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal

By Octopus Group on 9th November 2020

Whether you’re flicking through a trade mag, talking marketing strategy on Zoom an outdoor pub table, or listening to a marketing podcast – you’ve most likely been told that email is dead.

‘Have you not heard of influencers? Hello, it’s called brand awareness.’

‘Personalisation tags? How 2016.’

Ew, email.’

With the explosion of social media and other click-bait worthy brand innovations, the age-old email is argued to have fallen behind the times. But marketers always come back to the same realisation: the humble email continues to reign supreme as the bedrock of all great marketing campaigns.  It’s a part of everyday life, it’s embedded in work and play alike, and we all use it to communicate to some degree (yep, even you die-hard Slack fans). If you want to reach someone directly, email’s likely to be your best bet.

Don’t believe us? Here are a few stats to wet your ROI-hungry whistle:

  • Globally, there are 3.9 billion daily email users. This number is expected to reach 4.3 billion by 2023. (Statista, 2020)
  • Marketers who use segmented email campaigns have reported as much as a 760% increase in revenue. (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
  • 81% of B2B marketers say their most used and successful form of content marketing is email newsletters. (Content Marketing Institute, 2020)

In our insanely connected and time-poor age, email’s more powerful than it’s ever been – so it’s time to shake up your strategy and hit send. To get you started, here’s a bit of history and our hot take on how to drive email marketing success.

In the beginning, there was email: a timeline

1971:    The first email

A computer engineer by the name of Ray Tomlinson sends the first ever electronic mail message. His words? ‘Something like QWERTYUIOP.’ Alas, it was a test email sent to himself. Nevertheless, Ray made history.

1978:    The first campaign

Next up in the HTML hall of fame is Gary Thuerk, the sender of the first email blast. Hitting the inbox of around 400 recipients, Gary’s promotion results in $13 million worth of computer sales. Woof.

1991:    The internet is born

Oh, yes. Email predates the internet.

1996:    Hello Hotmail

Despite having been around for some time, the humble email doesn’t start growing in popularity until 1996 as Hotmail launches its free web-based service.

1996-:  The spam years

Lots of spam. Spam laws. Less spam.

2007:    Mobile-friendly mail

Apple launches its first iPhone, which prompts the creation of mobile-friendly emails.

2020:    The email lives on

In 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent worldwide – daily. And that number is growing. So, the next time someone tells you that email marketing is dead, kindly show them this timeline and let them know it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Preferably by email.

The benefits of email marketing

Works throughout every stage of the content marketing funnel

Unlike other marketing strategies, email plays an integral role at each stage of the customer journey, prompting prospects to progress through the funnel. In fact, a recent survey by SEMrush found that 73% of the 350 marketers surveyed used targeted email content and follow-ups to do exactly that.

This makes sense, given the primary goal of the marketing funnel is to attract a defined audience; supply and engage customers with relevant content; drive sales; and, finally, feed them back into the top of the funnel with more relevant content. And so it continues in a lovely marketing merry-go-round, propelled by email communication.

Offers incredible ROI

Even with the pervasiveness of new marketing methods, email is still the best digital marketing channel for building awareness, boosting client retention, and increasing conversions.

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reported in 2019 that email remains the key strategic channel according to marketers (91% rated important as opposed to social media’s 83%), with an average UK ROI of £42 for every £1 spent. Yes, you heard us correctly: that’s an ROI of 4100%.

It’s personal

There’s a lot of noise out there in the online ether, and noise means it’s easy for your communications to get lost. You need to stay relevant, targeted, and speak directly to your prospects –which is a lot harder to do via social channels. Enter email personalisation stage left.

Email segmentation and personalisation are widely regarded as the key to consistently achieving high open and click through rates and driving conversions, as your efforts to stay relevant are appreciated by your recipients.

Let’s talk email tactics

If you haven’t noticed already, we’re big fans of the humble email at OG. Here are our top email tactics that drives success for our clients:

Connect with your audience

Surprisingly, Brenda from Human Resources isn’t interested in your AI-powered ForEx trading platform. Segment, segment, segment to ensure you’re sending the right comms to the right people and getting the right results

Customise your campaigns

Now you’ve segmented, personalise. By creating personas for each segment of your client base, you can customise your content to appeal directly with your prospects.

Put yourself in their shoes. What appeals to them? What language do they respond to? What’s their typical buying behaviour? By familiarising yourself with what makes your audience click, it’ll be easier in the long run to make your email campaigns and follow-ups relevant.

This is especially paramount in B2B. Consumers might be happy to receive a mass email blast from M&S, but in the business world, your recipient needs to feel your message is personal to them – or they’ll hit the delete key. (And for maximum impact, ensure this level of personalisation carries on throughout the whole journey.)

Make sure you’re mobile-friendly

Over 42% of emails are opened on mobile devices, so you need to ensure your campaigns are optimised for phones. Consider the length of your copy, the size of your images, and of course, test and test again.

­Be clear with call-to-actions

Congrats, you’ve got their attention. But how do you drive a conversion? With an effective call-to-action (CTA), that’s how. Always tailor your CTAs to suit your goal – and again, test. Maybe your first CTA was ‘Learn More’ and had average engagement, so why not A/B test it against ‘Get Started’ in your next blast to see what’s more effective?

Limit your sends

Nobody wants to land in the spam folder. Limit your sends to once a week and don’t smother your audience with emails. You’ll only see your Unsubscribe rate skyrocket. Keep it concise, keep it relevant, but please – keep it casual.

Speak to us about how we can help you press send on a powerful email marketing campaign

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