More than three quarters (78%) of people signed up to email subscriptions say they have cancelled them in the past because they were receiving too many – according to research by HubSpot.
It’s not that surprising when you think about it.
When email came along it didn’t take marketers long to realise it could be a great way to put sales and messages directly in front of their customers.
Added that emails were a bit of a novelty and people were excited to receive them, email marketing was a big success.
And then marketers, did what marketers do.
They started bombarding people with sales, offers, promotions and useless stuff that people had no interest.
There was no rhyme or reason to it.
And then other things like social media came along and everyone said that email marketing had had its day and it was time to move on.
Except it hasn’t, and it isn’t.
The reason people started unsubscribing from email marketing campaigns is because the campaigns were awful.
They were pushy, self-promotional, full of fluff and for the most part, boring.
But, if you can get it right, email marketing is just as effective as a marketing tool as anything else.
Perhaps now more so.
Why email still works
The thing with email is, you have to give people a reason to subscribe to you.
One of the reasons it went wrong is because you’d give your email to a salesperson at a till when you bought something and before you’d even got home you had 50 emails from that company telling you to buy more stuff.
Of course you’re going to delete those emails.
But as with all your content marketing, the success of your emails comes down to one thing – the quality of your content.
Consumers are actually willing to stay subscribed to email lists from brands they find useful.
In B2B, 91% of marketers at the Content Marketing Institute said emails were a very important, or important, part of their marketing strategy.
These stats from Optinmonster show clearly why emails get unsubscribed from:
- 59% of customers unsubscribe because they get too many emails
- 43% say the content in emails isn’t relevant to them
- 43% don’t recognise the brand or don’t remember signing up
It’s pretty clear that if you don’t bombard people with emails, give them useful information and create a relationship with customers then you’ll have success with your email marketing.
Some of the best emails we receive often don’t even have an outright sales pitch (it’s there, and we know it’s there) but the actual emails are well written, and give us information that’s useful.
But, there’s another reason email shouldn’t fall down the priority list in your content marketing.
You own your email list
This is a big thing.
You own your email list.
You can segment it. Target people differently. Grow it. Anything. It’s yours.
The only way your email list is impacted negatively is when people unsubscribe, and that’s usually down to you.
Compare that to other forms of marketing.
On Google, you’re reliant on changes to their algorithm not ruining the work you’re doing.
And Google change their algorithm A LOT.
One month you’re doing everything right and you’re flying high in search.
Then, for no particular reason, they change everything and your rankings tumble – and you have no control over it.
The same goes for social.
A simple algorithm change can hinder your chances of getting posts and promotions in front of people – unless you pay for them.
Essentially, all your organic and social media is – to an extent – impacted by things out of your control.
But your email list isn’t.
Yes, you have to comply with regulations like GDPR.
But you have complete control over your email list.
If you take the time to create content, targeted at the right people at the right time – then your marketing is going to work, and no SEO algorithm will be able to take it away from you.
You can automate your emails
Email automation is a great way to improve your email marketing because you have more time to create and analyse the results of emails, rather than spending all day scheduling them.
There’s lots of email automation tools around – HubSpot is one – that can trigger an email sequence to start once a customer takes a particular action.
Say you have a fashion business and are planning a push for sales coming into the summer.
Someone subscribes to your email list, or buys something and opts in to receiving more emails from you.
You have a lot of data about them already.
Now they enter a sequence which gives them interesting content to look at like “top 5 fashion trends heading into the summer”, “10 must have summer accessories”.
The emails aren’t outrightly selling to them, but you’re staying in their mind, and you’re giving them relevant information.
The fact they’ve bought clothes from you means they’re interested in it, and you’re not burying them in sell, sell sell. buy, buy, buy messaging.
Now, based on the actions they take from the email, you can continue the sequence by either sending them more tips and information or, if they clicked through to your website, you could enter them into a different sequence to keep them moving down the sales pipeline.
Ultimately, email marketing remains a great way of using content marketing for your business, and it brings in a consistent ROI.
But you have to bring the same attention to your emails that you do with the rest of your content. Don’t be overtly salesy all the time, focus on your customer and their needs, not you and the things you’re trying to sell, and make it worth their while being on your email list.