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No matter which online tools are available for marketing your business, if you don’t have a comprehensive, measurable email strategy in place, you’re not doing it right. In our new, modern era of social media marketing, it is easy not to see the forest for the trees. New networks, apps and services are popping up all the time, but one of the most tried-and-true methods of driving e-commerce — email — still remains atop the heap.

In fact, a new report from marketing data provider Custora shows that over the past four years, online retailers have quadrupled the rate of customers acquired through email.  Many of those companies are building communities and collecting email addresses through them, and then converting those “members” into customers. Surprisingly, Facebook barely registers in the report and Twitter is a complete no-show. The report, which analyzed data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites, also reveals that the absolute most popular way to get customers is through organic search. (We’ll touch on that, too, but let’s keep the train on the tracks for a bit.)

So, with the newly revealed knowledge above, does that mean you need to be blasting product at your consumers’ inboxes multiple times a week? Maybe, but there’s more to it. We know, through years of these types of reports, if you simply overwhelm your customers with email, they’ll eventually tune out. You have to give them what they’re asking for — and, hopefully, when they’re asking for it. But more so than the latter, you need engaging content within those emails. You need to build a relationship, and you build relationships through conversations. Conversations begin with content.

Former Raidious client Finish Line blasts email at its customers on a near-daily basis. Raidious convinced the shoe retailer to do a test and add blog content to its weekly email. Finish Line gave it a try, and open and click-through rates when through the roof.  Finish Line was wanting to build community and traffic to its new blog, at that time, and to Raidious, the solution was simple. Finish Line needed a more compelling and more omni-channel approach to its online marketing. The results spoke for themselves. Much of Finish Line’s email audience was tuned out.  Once they bought a pair of shoes, they shut down until they needed another pair of shoes. Finish Line needed to give those customers a reason to engage, and stay engaged, in the interim. Enticing just one more sale a year out of any of their existing customer base meant big dollars added to the bottom line.

And listen, if your online marketing team is “silo-ed” and your company still has one person running email, another person running social, another person running blogging, etc., and they’re not working together every day, then you’re doing it wrong. Your Email Manager can’t just be concerned about list size and open and click-through rates.  You have that program in place to sell, and if you lose a little audience here and there, but sell a whole lot more, then who cares?! You keep building audience and replacing the loss, and you keep your team focused on the big picture — the RIGHT measurables. They need to be working together, under an umbrella of key performance goals and indicators. Your blog team can provide your Email Manager with great content. Your social team can and should further promote that email, its offers and its content through social channels. Your Email Manager can, in turn, keep your storytellers aware of what actually needs to sell that week, because I’m sure your Merchants have let your Email Manager know that! Anyway, I digress. Bottom line, they all need to be in cahoots, with the end-goal clearly outlined and always in mind.

Engaging content builds build audience and creates conversations and interactions. You know it is true on social networks. Why wouldn’t it be true with your email program? It is. What is “engaging content”? Good question, but that’s a whole other conversation. Come talk to us. We’ll make it easy.

And before I forget about those organic search numbers up there, remember how you increase your Google page ranks, and opportunities to be discovered through organic search … that’s right: You need compelling, engaging and remarkable content. That way, when I type into Google what I’m looking for, and if it, at all, relates to what you’re selling, you have a fantastic blog post already online that I’ll find and lead me to it.

Get your content strategy in place, and your email, social and the rest of your online marketing strategies will follow.

Cite: Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online

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