Marketers who shy away from email marketing may be losing out on the Web’s biggest cash machine.
The April edition of Direct Marketing News magazine
says "EmailExpert.org reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing in 2014, the average return was about $44.25."
Even the prestigious publication of the Harvard Business Review has been touting the benefits of email marketing as one of the best tools for online commerce, including an article headlined "Why Email Marketing Is King."
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Email marketing is the process of directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email, and typically involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations.
The most obvious advantage to email marketing is its cost — email messages "are dirt cheap to send," the Review points out, compared to other forms of marketing.
Marketing by traditional mail requires expenditures for producing artwork, printing, addressing, and mailing. TV ads have costs for ad agencies, creative studios, and broadcast channels.
Direct mail costs more than $600 per thousand pieces.
But with email marketing there are few overhead and logistics costs, making it easily the most cost-effective advertising method currently available.
Email marketing also offers more measurability than any competing form of marketing.
"With TV you do not know who is watching your ads. Ditto with print. Even with direct mail, you cannot be sure that your mail has been delivered, or that anyone reads it when it gets there," the Review explained. "With email, you know within 24 hours exactly which messages have been opened, by whom, what links the openers clicked on, and what part of your message was working."
That means an exact return on investment can be tracked — and it is usually high.
A survey of various forms of marketing cited by MarketingSherpa found that "emails to house list" had a 44 percent return on investment, and significantly higher than, say, banner ads at 13 percent.
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Email marketing also offers immediacy. While print and broadcast ads require further actions by potential customers — a trip to the store or a visit online — many emails offer customers the ability to actually put products in their shopping carts and buy them on the spot.
Considering its low cost, email marketing has been achieving a remarkable response rate. One retailer with 105,000 customers in its loyalty club database divided them into three groups of 35,000, and marketed to each of them differently.
Among the group that received direct mail only, the response rate was 24 percent.
Those receiving email only had a response rate of 23 percent, but direct mail costs about 100 times as much as email marketing.
The group that received both direct mail and email had a response rate only slightly higher, 25 percent.
What's more, those receiving only email had an average order value of $67.82, almost matching direct mail's $68.62.
With email marketing, advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have consented to receive email communications on subjects that interest them.
And it is worth noting that nearly half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with emails delivered between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. local time outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates. Open rates peak around 10 a.m. and gradually decline during the rest of the day.
The Review concludes: "It's a very safe bet that email will beat all your other marketing methods in terms of return on investment. As email marketing gains more respect, marketing intelligence will meet customer intelligence."
It's important, however, to remember all email lists are not the same. Many email marketers use lists that are put together using databases that are not truly opt-in.
“At Newsmax, every one of our readers is a truly opt-in subscriber, we’re white listed on every ISP, and our readers like our brand,” said, Omar Rodriguez, director of ad sales for Newsmax.
Newsmax.com is one of the most popular online news websites, drawing more than 10 million unique visitors each month.
The company boasts more than 4 million opt-in email subscriptions across several verticals including news, politics, health, finance, and other lists.
“Because we have such a strong brand, people gravitate to our email lists for our quality content, and they trust us and open our emails,” Rodriguez continued. “This helps marketers enormously because online users are very skeptical a lot about a lot of offerings. Linked to the Newsmax brand, they really improve results.”
“When advertisers discover email marketing, or the value of Newsmax emails, especially, they just keep coming back to us for more inventory,” Rodriguez said.
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