What is Email Marketing?

The most literal interpretation of email marketing centers on its use to promote a business’s products or services and/or also attempting to develop relationships with prospects, as well as existing or former clients.

Most, but not all, email marketing would more accurately be described as direct email marketing, in that the majority of email initiatives center on either selling products or services directly to the public, although some do prioritize driving traffic to retailers.

While there’s a sizable array of email variations at the disposal of most businesses, campaignmonitor.com, creator of several email automation and analytics tools, considers there to be three main varieties.

They are as follows:

Welcome Emails

Welcome emails do just as their name implies, welcoming subscribers while also giving insight as to what they can expect in the future.

Promotional Emails

Promotional emails attempt to drive subscribers to a specific product or service.

Re-engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails represent an attempt to reach out to inactive list subscribers to get them to engage with company communication in the future.

Is Email Marketing Effective?

There are a lot of variables involved in creating and implementing the right practices to ensure success, but when these procedures are followed, email marketing can definitely be effective — especially when viewed from a cost perspective.

Just as determining what the desired outcome should be is a part of a fundamentally sound campaign centered on traditional media, SEO or paid search, it’s imperative to decide what your email marketing goals will be at the very outset. After all, you can’t determine whether your campaigns have been successful without delineating exactly what constitutes success.

Will your goal be to drive purchases directly? To move prospects to a more committed place in the marketing funnel, or maybe drive them to consume an additional piece of marketing content? Making this determination before taking action will nearly always improve efficiency, as you’ll then be able to create your subject line, email content and call to action to optimally support your goal.

Of course, the branding you employ in your email marketing efforts is also vitally important — especially in the long term. Since each email you send out should ideally reinforce your company’s identity, aspects like color choice, the “voice” you use when speaking to your prospects through the written word and even the fonts you choose should remain consistent with your other marketing touch points, including but not limited to those used on your website.

Since nearly all email marketing initiatives involve driving traffic to a website, closely monitoring website data analytics will provide a clear indication of whether your efforts are taking you in the right direction in this regard. 

Advantages of Email Marketing Services

Many companies — especially those on the smaller side — handle email marketing in-house, but the quest for better results might eventually lead them to consider enlisting the services of an agency to handle this aspect of their marketing mix. In either case, one of the main appeals of email marketing is its insulation from some of the drastic and often sudden changes that can plague social media platforms.

Whether you have 100 Facebook or Instagram followers or 10,000, the actual digital real estate you occupy doesn’t belong to you. You’re just renting it as you engage with your audience. Ultimately, it’s the platform that decides who sees your posted content — or in the case of paid advertising, what the cost will be to reach your desired audience. Conversely, your email list belongs to you. You determine how often and when you engage with it.

Another big plus that email marketing has on its side is the ability to personalize the marketing messages you send out. Through proper list segmentation, you can build an ever-stronger relationship with prospects, customers, and ideally, former customers.

How Can Email Marketing Fuel Your Overall Inbound Strategy?

With the ever-increasing emphasis on inbound initiatives and its emphasis on content marketing these days, many may ponder how email marketing fits into the mix. After all, is email marketing content marketing?

The short answer is “no”, but there’s more to the equation. Because content marketing is characterized by its priority of attracting, or “pulling” your prospects toward helpful, informative content that will lead them further down the marketing funnel — ideally toward the path of becoming a customer — it doesn’t seem that email marketing fits into this paradigm. After all, even the most courteous email messaging is “pushed” toward your prospects.

However, email marketing can be indispensable in compelling actions that are vital to the inbound marketing process. Targeted email marketing that employs sound email marketing branding can reinforce a company’s position as a thought leader while leading prospects, customers, and former customers to take the initiative to consume the content that’s a fundamental element of any inbound marketing strategy.

Email Campaign Management Services

The services an email marketing agency offers for b2c companies will differ from those of its b2b email marketing services and the email marketing for agencies that’s used to attract clients also can differ from what’s used in those agencies’ campaigns once they’ve signed on. The actual email campaign management services an agency renders, whether offered a la carte or part of a package, must effectively suit a client’s needs. This requires a focused, client-centric consulting phase before the real work begins.

There are numerous other aspects involved when it comes to employing effective email campaign services. Consider the need for skilled copywriting, experienced email marketing management services, and effective, eye-catching email aesthetics design. All of these will have a direct bearing on an agency’s email marketing packages and pricing, but all are also essential to success.

Proper email list segmentation and management, as well as logical and seamless message sequencing, are also vital elements of email marketing success. So, an effective email marketing agency must by necessity also be an accomplished email marketing automation agency, as well as an experienced email marketing management company.

Expertise matters far more than proximity. The effectiveness of email automation has increased exponentially over the years — many of the email marketing companies that may be in close proximity may not have this expertise, so simply running a Google search for “email marketing companies near me” isn’t likely to get you the best result.

Technology, such as Zoom, has proven to be a great asset in this area, allowing skilled email marketing companies that may be a considerable distance away to effectively communicate with clients so that they can serve their needs from afar. To best suit those interests, consider prioritizing email marketing advertising agencies that have a thorough understanding of sound email marketing procedures, such as proper segmenting, but also possess excellent creative skills, especially in the areas of copywriting and aesthetics.

How Much do Email Marketing Campaigns Cost?

Should you opt to work with an email advertising agency or go it alone, among the advantages of email marketing services is a relatively modest cash outlay risk. In the former approach, there’s always going to be the investment in an email marketing platform for agencies — there’s no other way to get your message out to a list without tripping every spam flag there is and these platforms also facilitate proper segmentation of your lists, so that your prospects, customers and avowed brand advocates don’t all receive the same messages.

As far as the question, “just how much do email marketing campaigns cost?”, the answer will largely depend on what your chosen agency charges for its email marketing support — when you combine the need for skilled copywriting, list management email marketing and a consistent experienced review of analytics during and at the conclusion of a campaign, email marketing can be one of the more labor intensive digital marketing services. Expertise in these areas can and does make a huge difference in results and the cost of this expertise plays a big part in email marketing agency pricing.

Another big plus that email marketing has on its side is the ability to personalize the marketing messages you send out. Through proper list segmentation, you can build an ever-stronger relationship with prospects, customers, and ideally, former customers.

Email Marketing for Small Business

As we’ve noted, a relatively low start-up cost is one of the aspects that makes email marketing for small business so attractive. But cost isn’t everything. Getting the proper email marketing campaign results is essential. If you’re a small business and decide to seek out the services of an email marketing firm, that firm needs to have the expertise to shape an email marketing strategy that’s a perfect fit for your needs.

Small business email marketing has its nuances. For example, while a huge conglomerate can sometimes benefit from a lengthy sales cycle as it seeks to bolster its brand recognition, often a small business must take more concerted action without seeming pushy. While a large corporation has the resources to handle a sizable phone inquiry rush prompted by an email, a small business may not. 

An agency must put in the time and effort to determine what your priorities are — this is where attentive email marketing consulting comes in. A perceptive and experienced email marketing consultant should have the knowledge base to assess a business’s needs and accurately communicate them to his or her team.

Ideally, an agency should also have knowledge specific to the prospect’s industry and business type. For example, an ecommerce email marketing agency should have the experience and skillset needed to compel prospects to make a purchase. In this case, simply seeking to reinforce a company’s brand isn’t enough. 

How to Write a Marketing Email

A good deal of skill goes into crafting a marketing email that will get results. Given the right procedures, nearly any business will find it relatively easy to compile an email list. However, if that list continually receives email messages that don’t resonate with them, it will dwindle rapidly, due to frequent “unsubscribes”.

Subject lines that pique curiosity. Lead paragraphs that grab attention right away and compel the reader to continue down the page. Offers that are not only appealing, but also convey a sense of urgency. Calls to action that are clear and compelling. These are all essential components of an email that will get results. And all of them require skilled copywriting.

This is an area where even a self-professed full-service email marketing agency may fall short. Copywriting is a prized commodity that isn’t always an emphasized skillset for many email marketing companies. Some put process first and foremost, offering tangible experience in properly segmenting lists and designing campaigns while relying on generic copywriting techniques that result in those emails going straight to the recycle bin. Such an organization might accurately refer to itself as an email campaign agency or more specifically an email marketing automation agency, but without the necessary copywriting acumen, they won’t get good results for their clients.

Email has been around a long time — a crude version of it was part of M.I.T.’s internal communication protocol almost 60 years ago. But don’t let its age fool you. When properly implemented, email marketing can be a valuable tool to grow and help sustain nearly any business.

Contact Astoria Advertising today for an email marketing consultation.