Email Marketing—Spam Practice or Essential Marketing Tool?

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Nearly everyone gets some kind of email marketing, whether they remember signing up for it or not is another question. Often times the first thing that comes to peoples minds when they hear the phrase “email marketing” is spam and shadiness. However, according to research done by Smart Insights and GetResponse, email marketing is still rated as one of the most effective digital marketing channels right alongside social media marketing.

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So why is email marketing still rated so successful today? Well it’s largely thanks to the powerful features offered by email automation software from companies like MailChimp and Constant Contact. With many companies utilizing these rather affordable tools for their email marketing, it allows them to intelligently personalize email, segment effectively, and optimize emails for maximum engagement and conversion. This all contributes to a generally successful ROI when it comes to email marketing.

But how about me? How do I interact with email marketing? Well I find that I will only stick to receiving marketing emails from my favorite companies and brands, ones I trust. Their emails also will need to have a compelling subject, usually promising something of value to me, like a coupon or significant savings on a product I’m interested in. Only if the offer is compelling will I open the email and take action. Many times I have found that if the company says the included offer is an “email exclusive” or is available early for me, it will cause me to take action and convert. However, everyone treats email differently and this is just my experience. What about others?

I asked three friends of mine what makes emails compelling to them. Here’s what they had to say:

What makes emails interesting and worth your time to open and read?

A: They usually need to be about sales or new things that I care personally about, like concerts in the area or a good sale on one of my favorite brands.

B: The subject of the email usually has to reveal some type of new information or discount for me to be interested. Otherwise, general emails that don’t offer me a discount often don’t get opened.

C: If I see a good discount in the subject it usually will make me look, especially when the product is something I use or want. Or if the subject line states some kind of factoid on a subject that interests me.

Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails? Why or why not?

A: The only time I’ll take action will be if it’s a good sale or a great band I’ve been wanting to see. If I know there’s a better offer coming soon, I’ll usually wait for that.

B: Yeah, I will take action when I see a discount is offered and I want to see how good it is or how much money I would be saving. Or if the subject matter is really interesting to me and there is additional information on a website or blog, I’ll usually click to read more.

C: Yes, I have taken action on emails, usually only if I feel strongly about the cause or if the good discount is being offered on something I need.


What about the CAN-SPAM act? What is it and how does it affect me?

CAN-SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. It was an act passed in 2003 in order to establish rules for commercial email and messages, forcing businesses to give users the right to stop receiving emails should they desire and outlining the penalties that can be incurred should businesses violate these regulations.

This act effectively prevented email users from being spammed with unwanted emails. It also enacted several common practices for sent emails, like including a way for users to easily unsubscribe from unwanted content.


In the end, due to the level of customization and targeting offered with email marketing today, it still remains a valuable tool for marketers to use up to this day. Email marketing can provide businesses with valuable leads, help drive conversions, and increase revenues, even during this age of social media focused marketing.

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Email Marketing—Spam Practice or Essential Marketing Tool?

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