It’s not trendy like Facebook, or grassroots like Twitter, or complex like Google AdWords. Sure, it’s been around for over a decade, and your 70-year-old mom thinks it’s cool. But don’t write off e-mail marketing yet. I’ll give you a good reason why—the best reason—the only reason that ultimately matters: e-mail marketing still works; and often at costs and conversion rates that rival those of competitors. Are you listening yet?
It’s Cheap. Most other online marketing media have variable, performance-based cost structures—that is, you only pay for results (such as clicks or lead conversions) but the price charged per result is generally high and may not always yield a sale. E-mail marketing is different. A typical e-mail campaign incurs modest fixed monthly subscription fees paid to the chosen service (e.g., Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.), or “pay as you go” per e-mail address (e.g., Vertical Response). However, the overall cost per lead for an effective campaign is typically lower than a pay-for-results structure because overall campaign costs are much lower and yields are higher. For example, PPC (pay-per-click) and affiliate marketing campaigns typically see click-costs of $1 or more and lead generation costs of $5 or more, an e-mail campaign lead may cost on average only $0.25 per lead for medium-adjusted yield.
It’s Effective. E-mail campaigns see higher click and conversion yields than other online marketing media because recipients have typically shown earlier interest. That is, recipients have supplied their e-mail addresses and opted in to be on the mailing list. Higher lead quality translates to better yields for e-mail campaigns than for other media in which the target audience may have no investment in the product or service at all. It’s a matter of motivation: e-mail recipients are motivated audiences with a proven interest (and/or track record) in buying the marketed product or service.
It’s Profitable. A Direct Marketing Association study of 2009 data found that e-mail marketing offered the highest ROI (return on investment) of any direct marketing channel, with an average of a $44 return on every $1 spent, compared to $22 for SEM (search engine marketing). More customers means more profit, and the lower the cost-per-lead, the higher the profit margin potential. E-mail marketing can deliver these results.