Over the last several years, social media sites have skyrocketed in popularity, with these digital gathering places attracting users of all ages and interests across the world. As soon as it became evident that such sites were more than merely a passing fad, advertisers arrived in droves as well.
While social media is still a hot topic in marketing circles, it actually isn’t the most important medium for marketing on the Internet. In reality, a more familiar — some might say classic — method of Internet marketing is still king: email. Email marketing campaigns may not be new or as flashy as social media, but the medium provides reliable results and offers distinct advantages compared to both older and newer forms of marketing.
Email Marketing: The Original Internet Advertising Option
Social media may be exciting because it’s the new kid on the block, but a distinct advantage of email marketing is that it’s been around the block, so to speak. Email marketing is nearly as old as the Internet itself, which means it is a tried and true marketing option. What’s more is there are simply a lot more email accounts out there than there are social media accounts.
While the jury may still be out on newer forms of marketing, email’s reliability has been demonstrated over the course of many years. Email marketing is as close as you can get to a ‘traditional’ marketing medium when it comes to the Internet, and the familiarity with the format makes both consumers and marketers more comfortable with these types of campaigns.
Superior Targeting Potential
Email marketing tends to be preferable to more traditional and newer marketing options because it provides superior possibilities for targeting and segmenting audiences. Unlike social media or television commercials, which often have overly broad effects, email marketing campaigns can be very tightly defined and targeted.
Of course, if you wish to have a massive mailing you can easily do so, but you can also provide exclusive offers to specific groups and hone in on valued, or new, customers with email marketing. Email marketing campaigns also allow you to target different segments based on timing, so certain groups receive messages at different times. In this way, email marketing offers superior flexibility to both older and newer marketing channels.
Email marketing is also very cost-effective. With an email newsletter, you can offer as much information as you want without worrying about commercial spot duration, sponsored posting fee, or money for physical materials and shipping. With email marketing campaigns, you can create complex and eye-catching advertisements at little to no cost. You can also test out messages and promotions via email to gauge reactions and do focus-group-like research without incurring significant costs or waiting for the results of surveys. Considering the massive amount of potential customers you can reach with a simple email message, the value of email marketing compared to other marketing channels is undeniable.
Flexible and Personable
While social media sites can connect you with many consumers and potential customers, you are constrained by the rules, formatting and other requirements and limitations of those social media sites. This can constrain your ability to provide exactly the right message at the right time, or get the perfect look.
By contrast, email marketing puts all of the decision-making power in your hands, so you can choose to have your message be as long or brief, as pretty or as simple as you’d like. Because of this, you can ensure you are true to your brand identity and build your following exactly as you see fit.
Email marketing isn’t the newest method of reaching customers, but it is a reliable, flexible and effective method that is cost-effective and easy to use. Because consumers perceive email as a serious business medium, it is the one online marketing strategy businesses simply can’t do without.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Maria Peagler