Email marketing, (or â€˜spamâ€™ as many people now like to call it), used to be a great way for small businesses to reach out to potential new customers. When email was still the main form of digital communication, buying or building lists of potential customers was a very effective way for a business to generate new revenue.
However, fast-forward to today and we see a completely different picture, one where email marketing arguably does more harm than good for small businesses.
Average email marketing click-through rates (clicks on links in emails) have fallen from 9% in 2003, to 4.3% in Q1 2014. That is an enormous decline for a once-booming sector of marketing, and there is a very good reason for this. People are sick of unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, and often aggressive and seedy marketing emails that are taking an increasing desperate approach to try and combat the poor results they are achieving.
The reason why most peopleâ€™s spam (or â€˜junkâ€™) folders contain more emails than their inbox is because email services like Yahoo and Gmail have to make their filters more sensitive all of the time, to try and prevent people being overwhelmed with useless information about products they donâ€™t want. If consumers have the money and inclination to purchase something, they know exactly how to do it….by going to Google, or visiting an online store.
The most effective forms of marketing are now methods that allow the customer to make the first move, for example; by searching online. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are now the booming industries, because customers already know that they want something by the time the business tries to sell it to them. It makes for a much more comfortable, worthwhile experience for all parties.
Despite this, and a huge public backlash against â€˜spamâ€™, companies still persist with sending out unwanted marketing emails to millions of people every day. And this is the reason why email marketing is now causing problems for small businesses.
Firstly, consumers are so quick to hit the â€˜spamâ€™ button when they receive unwanted emails, that legitimate companies regularly experience problems sending requested information to existing customers. Legitimate domain email addresses are often wrongly caught by overly sensitive spam filters on the main webmail providers, which can leave both customers and business owners frustrated by not being able to communicate properly by email.
Secondly, small businesses owners canâ€™t be expected to be experts in all forms of marketing, and there are still many companies out there hard-selling and exaggerating the effectiveness of email marketing lists as a legitimate option for reaching customers. There may be certain cases where it is still effective, but not many, as nobody likes having their email account clogged up with unrequested sales emails. Email newsletters are different and can be a useful way of sharing valuable information with interested parties, but generally people opt-in to these and are much less likely to label them as spam.
Online marketing is an essential activity for every business now. If you would like some more information on the best strategies and methods to use, please feel free to contact us today and we would be happy to help.