The Role of Email Marketing in the Wake of Social Media Dominance

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This is a Guest Blog post by Emma-Julie Fox. To submit a guest blog post to Brandsplat, click here.

With the popularity of social media and its prominence in SEO today, one wonders if email marketing is still useful when social media seems to be a one-stop shop for PR, marketing, SEO and traffic generation.

People also have a general aversion to spam lurking within their email, and the abundance of it is frightening. Besides, who still reads email when they can get in touch with their friends through social media sites? Actually… a lot of people!

The fact that people need to have email addresses for work, means that a majority of paying consumers are very accessible via email. In fact as per a 2010 study, 94% of online users access and use e-mail! A more recent 2013 report suggests that 55% of marketing professionals agree that e-mail marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools.

It is agreed that social media has its own statistics to boast of, but when it comes to B2B marketing, most marketers swear by the quality of leads they get through e-mail marketing! As per a Software Advice Survey, 40% of B2B marketers said they got high quality leads through e-mail marketing.

Email Marketing – How does it work?

Before email marketing can begin, a website needs to acquire email addresses from potential clients or customers. How they get them is up to the website. Some would offer visitors the chance to receive monthly newsletters. Others offer a free E-book to download, but only if the visitors fill out a form and give their email address.

The website or the business behind it will then design an email that’s basically also an advertisement for the website. These emails usually contain graphics, images, calls to action, all combined to make an attractive package.

E-mails can also include attachments, like the promised newsletter or limited-offer discount coupons. Whatever it is that’s contained in the email, it is there to invite people to click on the links provided and visit the main website.

The emails are sent by bulk and sent to every email address gathered. Needless to say, that email list needs to be large enough to justify the entire email marketing effort.

The goals of email marketing, among others, are:

  1. To make consumers become aware of their products and services.
  2. Make the business and the website a thought leader.
  3. Do PR.
  4. Generate traffic.
  5. Gain conversions.

Email Marketing’s Place in SEO Today

Email marketing is very helpful for businesses that sell merchandise and services. You’ll find, for example, that many websites selling general merchandise like clothes, furniture, gadgets, and services like SEO and virtual assistance invest time and resources for email marketing.

They are very straightforward with their message and there’s no deception. If they are selling something or offering a promo, they state it immediately in their email. In fact, as per a 2012 Blue Kangaroo survey, 7 in 10 people admitted that they had used a discount coupon offered through a marketing email!

There’s little worry that these emails will be flagged as spam because the recipients have been given the choice of whether or not to receive them. They have, in effect, asked for these emails, and the fact that they did sign up is a concrete demonstration of their interest in whatever the website is offering.

Unless a website steals the recipient’s email address, the marketing emails should be welcomed. This is one of the best things about email marketing.

Skipping Steps in the Conversion Funnel

For the consumers’ part, email marketing is useful because it lets them skip several levels of the conversion funnel and go directly to the final stage of purchase. They are presented with product information, service description, and business background. If they are interested in what’s being pitched, all they have to do is click on the link and continue with the actual purchase.

Normally, online shoppers would go to search engines and look for websites that sell items they are interested in buying. Many would go directly to online market websites like Ebay, Amazon and CafePress. Since there are many online sellers on social media sites, consumers also look for sellers there.

By contrast, email marketing presents the merchandise to the consumers and saves them the time and effort of scouting for suppliers. They don’t have to look anywhere else, and that’s very convenient.

This is an advantage that marketing officers should be able to convey to website visitors. By showing how much they can benefit from signing up for regular emails, a website can encourage consumers to volunteer for it. (It won’t hurt to hint that surprises and discount offers are in store for email subscribers.) If you can achieve that, your website’s email marketing can be very successful in fulfilling its goals.

About the author: Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to guest post on your blog please contact www.pitstopmedia.com.

Thanks to Our Deal Obsession, Email Marketing Roars Back

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It’s curious watching the trends and tides of marketing. Sometimes we see formerly much-used channels (goodbye, MySpace!) drift out to sea, never to return. Some tread water and bob in place (somebody throw article marketing a life-preserver!). And there’s the rare marketing and branding platform that seems like it’s on the brink of extinction but rises again like a Phoenix. This is precisely what email marketing has done over the past several months, and we think we know why — and how anybody can put email marketing back on their branding to-do list.

Not since the early days of Internet marketing have consumers been so feverishly obsessed with checking their email. Thanks to Groupon, Living Social and other Daily Deal of the Moment websites that send out announcements of the latest and greatest and cheapest thing we never knew we needed, email marketing is relevant again. With or without the site-specific apps, anybody can be privy to these deals as long as they have an email account. Shoppers are just a click away in these emails from buying the day’s hottest discount — and the explosion has just begun. Other non-deal specific sites are returning to email marketing to alert followers of cheap stuff, free goodies and the latest products. Ans with email being more accessible than ever with smartphones, the options are endless.

We think email marketing should be given another look for brands of all sizes, especially since now it’s easier than ever. Thanks to technological advancements and handy email marketing services like Constant Contact, it’s not nearly as laborious as it used to be. But the ease isn’t the only reason why email marketing is more relevant than ever: Email marketing fits with the busy lifestyle of tech-savvy consumers who want their deals and favorite products to come to them. With thoughtful and fun-to-read content, email marketing can actually turn into something people look forward to getting in their inboxes.

Regular Joes and Janes are changing the way we advertise.

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orator

It’s late Sunday night at the time of this writing and I just came across a press release announcing The Future of Influence Summit by futurist and entrepreneur Ross Dawson.  If I set my alarm clock for sunrise, I can probably get to the airport in time to grab a flight up to San Francisco for the event, which sounds like an interesting one. According to the press release a new trend of “influencers” comprised of self-made influentials like bloggers, social media gurus and individuals are taking the power away from more traditional influencers like advertising agencies, newspapers and corporations. The shift away from “group influencers” to “individual influencers” is really giving advertising and marketing agencies heartburn as they scramble to figure out how to understand this new trend. In the pre-Internets era, people got their information about brands from traditional advertising like print, outdoor billboards and television commercials. The more a television commercial or print ad ran in the days of old, the more likely a person was to buy the product or service from that brand. Fast-forward to the Internets of the present. The media landscape has been fragmented into a million digital outlets, which is causing traditional advertising to lose its heavy-weight status. Media planners at advertising agencies now have to look at social media, PPC, banner, online video, rich media, email marketing, viral marketing, SEO, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and on and on and on. Couple that with the fact that now anyone with an authentic voice can build up a community of “fans” and influence if you buy a product or service and you’ve got some huge learnins to do if you’re a media planner in a traditional ad agency. Many times these “influencers” get huge audiences  because they carry with them the reputation of being an authentic, reliable voice. Take a recent blog entry where I wrote about Dave Carrol an irate United Airlines passenger who allegedly had his precious guitar broken by the airline. Instead of relying on customer service or filing a complaint with United,  Mr. Carrol took matters into his own hands by expressing himself in his own way; he wrote a song about the experience and released it on YouTube. The result was over 5 million viewers of his music video. Advertising agencies are still salivating trying to dissect and replicate the success. The point is that one individual can have a huge impact on a brand if the voice is deemed authentic. Long gone are the days that we take a corporations word for it when they tell us how great their products or services are. The individual is now the centerpiece of the show and advertisers better take notice. For more information on the program for Monday, check out The Future of Influence Summit Agenda

Brandcasting. Growing your brand by seeding vast digital fields. (Part 7 of 7).

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brandcasting_farmer

Don’t expect people to come knocking down your door just because you have a website. The bottom line is you must have products and/or services people are interested in first and foremost. No duh, right? Let’s say you know there is a demand for what you’re offering and you are ready to attract traffic to your site. This is where Brandcasting comes in. Think of Brandcasting like casting a bag of seeds across a vast field (the Internet). Each seed that is cast will need to be nourished and watered in order to grow tall enough to have a presence. But once a presence is established, you will see many iterations of your brand sprouting up for any passerby to come across. The longer you nourish the seedling, the higher and more prominent it grows.

There are lots of ways to deploy intelligent brand marketing online. We’re just scratching the surface here. I haven’t even touched on press releases, banner ad campaigns, viral videos, ppc campaigns, newsletters, affiliate programs, email marketing and a whole slew of other tools a business or an individual can apply for effective Brandcasting.

The metaphor of scattering seeds and then nourishing them is an apt one. For example, lets say one such seed is intended to grow a branded blog for your company. Having the best blog or writing the best entries doesn’t mean diddlysquat unless someone is interested enough in what you’re offering. So it is really important that you nourish your blog with quality content and engaging information and “water” your blog daily, that is, add content to it daily.  Having a good mix of seeds is helpful too. Having a multi-level marketing strategy that employs the best combination of “seeds” may be the best way attract different niche audiences. So one set of seeds may be intended to grow the company blog variety, another seed is intended to create a presence via article marketing, another seed may be intended to give your brand a video presence, and so on. Ultimately, you want the right mix of seeds to catch the attention of the right mix of customers.

Whether you do it yourself, or hire a company like Brandsplat to deploy an intelligent online branding campaign, you have to choose a strategy and remember to manage your strategy as certain milestones are met. Brandcasting can boost your company’s visibility and over time can give your brand a lasting footprint on the Internet. Just remember that it takes time to build your presence online and don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away. Cast those seeds, water and feed them and watch them grow your brand into one that has a healthy presence on the web. Happy farming.

This concludes my 7 part series on Brandcasting. Keep visiting for more informative updates on the power of Brandcasting.