Not exactly a topic relating to SEO or social, but this is free, so you get what you pay for – E-mail marketing is a great example of something that works, but didn’t used to. The Direct Marketing Association found that the ROI on e-mail marketing is $57 for every $1 spent – and that’s not peanuts, but you have to do it in a way that doesn’t offend or push away. Namely, you can’t spam them.
Just a couple of years ago the common man on the street would tell you any e-mail you get from a business promoting something is called spam. That’s it, that’s all, no discussion, it’s all garbage. The industry had gotten so many get-rich-quick types, that e-mail exploded in a very bad way. When people started getting e-mail addresses in the mid 1990s, getting any e-mail was kind of neat, at first. For a short while no one seemed to mind getting unsolicited mail, and would even on occaision click through to see what they were selling, since they were so forward thinking and ahead of the curve as to send an e-mail about it.
It didn’t take long for those e-mails to become a nuisance, though. Blocking all this junk became a big problem as most people know. Personally, I’d jump to a new address ever 5 years or so just to start fresh. The overly enthusiastic spammers ruined the industry for everyone else, and it looked like it would stay that way.
It’s one of the other hallmarks of new technology: People using it in a selfish manner that is ruinous. Think of telemarketing, which has died off a great deal, but is still a pain for many who haven’t gotten off the right call lists. And does anyone remember, “fax blasting?” Anytime a new way to be made available for communication opens up, there’s someone who wants to use it advertise to you, whether you want to see it or not, because to them your sole function in life is to buy something from them.
But e-mail had a sharp turn around. For one, e-mail providers got serious about cutting off spam. Google will even flush e-mail directly to your spam folder if it comes from a server that gets too many reports of abuse. In turn, servers have taken to kicking out e-mail marketers for abuse to protect themselves. The 2003 CAN-SPAM act tried to halt spam through legal means, but was a bit of a joke – though enforcement of the statutes relating to porn mercifully kept that kind of spam at bay.
What ultimately has made e-mail marketing work again is the understanding among those marketing professionals who understand that pissing in the well is bad for everyone. It didn’t require threats or fines or even imprisonment to get the best of the e-mail marketing community to shape up. It only took an understanding that if people stayed opposed to e-mails with offers, no one would ever open them, no one would buy anything from those companies, and clients would stop buying that kind of promotion.
So what did they do to get people to trust e-mail again?
- Creating an opt-in list instead of sending to blind addresses
- Immediately process opt-out requests
- Content relevant to what customers want
- Coupons and offers
It’s the kind of attention to what is beneficial to customers that comes back to us when considering how to execute a social media marketing campaign as well. You want to know who these people you’re messaging to are and how best to make them happy. It’s the main reason simply gaining 30,000 followers on Twitter shouldn’t be your end game. I would much rather have 300 followers I know are completely interested in what I have to offer them.
Also, when you share relevant, newsworthy information through your e-mail, you can gain important inbound links from sites rebroadcasting it. This will help you in search, which as you should know by now is all about one-way, quality, inbound links.
Well hey! I managed to turn that one back around to search and social!
The point here is that e-mail marketing works, and there are good people out there who can help you get your name out to potential customers. It is definitely worth a piece of your marketing budget.