Email marketing, for some, remains a mystery. From list procurement to communications strategies to drop schedules and more, the intricacies that go into an effective email marketing campaign make the channel somewhat difficult to grasp, let alone manage. But if done properly, and with purpose, an email campaign can not only raise brand awareness within your target audience, but increase actions that benefit your bottom line – whether that means taking action on a goal or mission, or clicking through to purchase a product or schedule a service.

finding value in email marketing

We recently sat in with a local marketing communications class where the values of email marketing were being debated. It was a vigorous conversation with some students saying “Email is dead,” while others insisted email is still an integral part of a good communications plan. As the “Industry Professionals” in the room,  we were asked some fairly pointed questions. Below are a few that stuck out in our minds with our answers.

What types of email marketing are you performing? How frequently?

Email marketing is one component of the communications strategies we use ourselves and also build into strategies for our clients. Generally centered around a content marketing programs (Web-based for SEO and brand and product / service awareness), we utilize it as another distribution channel for more direct connection to the target audience. We rely heavily on Mailchimp as a tool because of its relatively low-cost entry point as well as its tracking capabilities and multi-channel integration (Social Media extensions, etc.).

Depending on the client, we can drop email content as often as weekly. It depends on the audience need for information and the client’s purpose for the communication.

How has email marketing improved/helped their business?

As a direct marketing tool it’s valuable in maintaining a top-of-mind awareness with your customers and prospects. With many clients, we’ve seen significant increases in customer engagement after an email campaign has been established for just this reason. One client, a municipal road and safety product vendor (product sold to residents for dust and ice control in rural areas) saw a 600% increase in new contracts after a direct marketing campaign was launched 4 months prior to the buying “season” for their product. The email marketing component created a constant awareness “drip campaign” for the target audience who, when the time came to offer the call-to-action, ultimately understood the value and need for the product.

Are there any challenges to their email marketing?

There’s no question that email marketing is an ever-prevalent and over-saturated marketing channel. While it offers direct lines of communication, the challenge is getting end users to engage in an element they get 100’s of (if not more) each day. The creative, content, and offers need to be compelling. If there is no more reason to open the email than to hear more “noise” about your company / service / product, then the email will soon be deleted without views or simply unsubscribed.

Also… USE EMAIL MARKETING ETHICALLY! (see CAN-SPAM act – Federal law re: email communications ) If you have a clean mailing list and targets have been opted in (double verification is preferred), then you will have better open and click-through rates (success). Scraped lists or those purchased from the internet are often low quality and receive poor results (waste of time).

Do you have any additional advice to share?

Email marketing CAN be a powerful and useful communications tool. Just as a hammer and nail is to building a house, it’s just PART of the larger strategy. When integrated into a strategic marketing communications program, you can rely on email marketing to provide good, measurable marketing data as well as push targeted audiences to act on topics of interest, buy products, etc. With that in mind, and by following the laws and best practices around email marketing, you will see the results.

Is email marketing the most successful or efficient form of marketing that they use for their business?

No one element is more successful than another for marketing a business. For our own business, email marketing is likely responsible for less than 5% of converted sales (estimated number). But in the same breath, I can’t imagine a successful marketing communications campaign without the use of a robust email connection.

As the afternoon drew on and time ran short, the conversation delved deeper into strategies, subject lines, content for sales vs. brand awareness and more.

While the students brought to point some great arguments for and against the use of email marketing, ultimately, it was decided that the use of email for marketing – whether it be direct, one-to-one communications or integrated into a larger content marketing campaign – has value and creates opportunities that otherwise would not be available to the company and its sales team.

SPOKE Communications offers strategies in digital marketing communications that include email marketing, search engine optimization and content marketing, and social media marketing. With that as well as a focus on strategic, measurable results, we create the tools businesses use to make a deeper connection with their audience.

If you would like more information on our marketing communications services or have questions specifically about email marketing, please reach out to us through the Contact page within our site, email us at biz{at} or call directly to 515-257-6584.

And, as always…

Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef.