I'm a big advocate of not relying on one channel when it comes to digital marketing. I know of businesses who rely solely on Google AdWords or have all their eggs in the Facebook basket. The reality is, we need a combination of the most appropriate communication channels to ensure we are getting the right message to the right people at the right time.
Email marketing has sadly become synonymous with 'SPAM' and fallen out of fashion with the rise of social media, but it shouldn't be removed from your marketing activities; we just need to rethink it.
So you've tried email marketing but it "didn't work" or you got "no response", so you switched your attention to other, more productive marketing activities like spending hours scrolling through tweets and friends posts on Facebook [how's that working out for you ;)?].
Here's why I think your email campaigns didn't work:
#1. You didn't have a plan
Admit it, you sent out a random email to your database with no real end goal in mind. No consideration as to whether you were sending the right kind of message to the right people. You just had a spare moment and thought you may as well use that MailChimp account you signed up for a year ago but have never used to tell all your contacts about something that may or may not interest them.
We've all done it. As a business owner wearing many hats, I completely understand why it happens.
The good news is, it doesn't take that long to come up with a plan. You need to know your audience; who's on your list, and whether the content you're sending is going to appeal to them. You also need to think about your timing and when your audience are going to be more receptive to receiving the email.
#2. You didn't track anything
How much time, honestly, did you spend analysing the reports after the campaign was sent? Did you look at your Google Analytics and track people who clicked through to your website?
There's so much information we can get from viewing reports such as who opened the email, which links were clicked the most, how many people unsubscribed as well as Analytics data that could tell you how many enquiries or sales were generated and exactly how much revenue was created from that campaign.
Not everyone likes numbers, stats and spreadsheets, but it's this information that should be guiding you in creating better campaigns and making better decisions when it comes to investing your marketing resources.
#3. You did it once
One email is unlikely to generate a deluge of sales. As with all marketing channels, consistency is key. Have you ever heard of a company doing really well by just showing their TV ad once? Or a small business who generated millions of website visitors from sending one tweet out to their 35 followers?
We know that we need to repeat our messages to reach a larger audience and that brand awareness takes an investment of time. Email marketing is no different.
We can send out campaigns to a very targeted audience, making sure we're getting in front of the right people. We can even craft the perfect content to make sure we have the right message for those people, but it can often be difficult to pin down the right time for the right people to receive the right message.
This is why, by using email as a way to keep in touch on a regular basis and build a relationship with our audience, we can become the first company to pop into their head when it is the right time.
In summary: have a plan and know what you want to achieve. Make sure you are assessing the effectiveness of each campaign by reviewing the reports and using that data to refine your plan. And finally, be consistent and commit to keeping in regular contact with your database.