In the early days of internet marketing there were very few strategies and opportunities to take advantage of other than email marketing. No good marketing campaign ignored this fundamental area and in many ways email became the hallmark of internet marketing itself. However, in recent years some of the luster has faded from email marketing as more and more people turn to social media to connect with their customers. That leads many to wonder if email campaigns are still effective at all. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this strategy.
Ability to reach people: There is no doubt about the strength of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, and others, but that doesn’t change the fact that email itself is still much more widely used. It is predicted this will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Not everyone has adopted these new social networking sites, and those who have may not be on all of them. However, a large majority who get online has an email account, and if you think about it you have to realize that these sites themselves require an email account to even sign up. Thus email still has the potential to reach more people at this point.
Cost: It’s pretty hard to beat a financial cost of near zero. Email is generally free to use and it costs no more to email a single person than it does to email hundreds. Of course if email is being compared specifically to social media then it’s also true that social sites are generally free to use as well. However, it’s tough to argue that there’s any good reason to ignore a marketing opportunity that costs nothing in financial capital to use.
Environmentally Friendly: Once again this benefit is true of all internet based marketing campaigns since they are all typically digital only; however, this is definitely a big one. More and more attention has been given to environmental issues in recent years and it’s suddenly become perceived as very un-green to mail out physical letters and advertisements to customers. By the same token even the production of promotional items might be seen as not so eco-friendly. With email there is no concern there. Even emails that go straight into a person’s junk folder or into their ‘trash’ still don’t waste any physical resources.
Variability: It’s tough to beat the massive range of different content that can be delivered by email. Things sent by email can range from simple text only formats to much more elaborate animations, videos, pictures, audio, high quality pictures, and even special effects. Of course the content itself can range considerably in its own style and purpose. An email can be informative, promotional, newsletter style, announcement style, and many more. The bottom line is that whatever digital content you want to send, it can almost certainly be sent via email.
Spammers: Spammers have given email marketing a bad name. Unfortunately due to spammers and email scams, the legitimacy of email marketing campaigns has taken a big hit. This can result in people feeling suspicious or skeptical about a deal or other email information even when it is legitimate.
Many people ignore email marketing: Unfortunately, due in large part to the prevalence of spammers as discussed above, a lot of people simply don’t respond at all to email marketing. They may simply delete most “commercial” emails, even from companies they recognize.
New spamming laws: In recent years lawmakers have cracked down heavily on spamming. This is, for the most part, a good thing for internet marketers, because over time it will help increase the trust and legitimacy consumers place in email marketing. However, the downside is that businesses must be very careful to comply with all spamming laws in order to avoid fines and other penalties. Even the most white hat of companies may inadvertently run afoul of spamming laws simply due to an unawareness of changes in the law.
The bottom line is that email marketing campaigns are still very effective and need to be a major part of any successful internet marketing strategy. However, it is more important than ever to conduct email campaigns smartly. This means delivering high quality, targeted content, directly to receptive people. When done well, the success potential for email marketing is still huge.