Nothing. It's still there in force. It might not be the coolest kid on the block, but it's still the biggest on the playground. So, yeah…everyone is talking about social media, but forget email marketing at your own peril.
First of all, email marketing isn't new, not even close…but businesses and marketers are still trying to get it right. And very few actually get even close. And here's why. Email marketing continues to be plagued by "get-rich-quick" schemes propogated by SPAMMERS and bought by businesses with a hope and a prayer and an ever shrinking budget (which includes a lot of us these days, unfortunately). The old adage holds true here:
"You get what you pay for".
Emails (quality emails from real users who RECENTLY and HONESTLY double opted in to a particular initiative) are not cheap. Definitely more so that say $250 for a million email addresses. Here's another adage: "If it's too good to be true, it probably is."
If you're going to go with what is known as a purchased (or rented) email list, you need to keep a few things in mind. First of all, if the email marketing company is guaranteeing something (a click thru rate, an open rate, etc) then walk away. There are no guarantees in the behavior of an email list, and it just means they're cheating you on something if they ALWAYS get a certain percentage out of ANY list. It's something akin to perdicting lightning. You know what's probabal, but you can't make any guarantees. Just like in SEO, there are some black hat email companies, usually starting with the email database company, that continuously farm out the same old email lists. You pay a little bit and get even less out of it.
Second, if you're going with a purchase list, make sure you can use third party tracking in the design. If not, walk away. It simply and clearly means the email list company doesn't want you to see your own results (they usually provide you with their own). This has its obvious advantages for the email list provider, but not for you.
Third, look into the email marketing company or email list provider's deliverability rate. Inevitably, an email company gets blacklisted by one of the major ISP's (Google, Yahoo, Earthlink, Hotmail, AOL, etc). The ISP's have to constantly battle SPAMMERS, so if you get flagged has one, the ISP will stop delivering your emails. It happens all the time. So, make sure the email company can provide you with a bounce report (down to the individual email addresses). That way you can see if their channel was blocked by a given ISP (i.e. if NO @yahoo.com email addresses went through, you know Yahoo has flagged the delivery company).
And when you're in the purchasing phase, before you pick an email list provider, go see how many times they've changed servers. If they're hopping on to a new server every 6 months, that means they're constantly getting flagged by the ISP's. Once they get blocked no emails can be delivered from that particular server, which is why they woud jump to a new one.
Is there even a benefit to advertising through a purchase email list? Absolutely. Just know what you're paying for. And how to determine if the campaign was successful or not.
With email marketing, behavoir is the name of the game. Every magazine and catalogue company out there rents their subscriber lists. So, find those outlets that closely match your product or services and piggy back of that interest. For example, if you're a travel company, try renting a Budget Travel or Coastal Living list. If you're selling poison ivy cream, try getting into Boy's Life. Think creatively. Interests begets Purchases.
And I would be truly remiss if I didn't mention the REAL power of email marketing is growing your own list. Capture and Engagement. Just like social media. In fact, the two efforts go hand in hand. But more about that later.
For more insights on email marketing, contact InterCoastal Net Designs today. Whether you want open, honest advice on marketing through an email purchase list, or how to successfully grow and utilitze your own opt in email list, we're an email marketing company that can help.