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Why Does Email Marketing Work?



On Wednesday, I talked about the question “Why use email marketing?” The simple answer was “Because it works.” However, that leaves the question “Why does it work?” unanswered.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the overall success of email marketing, with one of the biggest being the fact that an email marketing campaign using an opt-in list is reaching a very targeted audience.

If someone signs up for your email newsletter, decides to opt-in to your list in order to take advantage of a free offer or bonus or just to simply sign up as a user on your website, they have already shown interest in what you have to offer, and more importantly, have already taken action on their interest.

This is why email marketing is its most successful when you build your list from visitors to your site. Look at it this way…if you’re selling vacuum cleaners, which group of customers is going to have a higher purchase rate: the group you saw on cold-calls, going from door-to-door trying to drum up interest, or the group that drives to your store, walks in, looks around, and asks if you can send them more information?

I would be willing to bet you would say the second group, and when someone opts-in for your email marketing, that’s exactly the group you’re talking to. They’re already interested in your product or service, or they never would have arrived at your site to opt-in to begin with. If they haven’t made a purchase yet, then your task isn’t to sell them on your offer, it’s to sell them on you.

This is where we come back to the phrase you’ve already seen repeatedly here (and will probably continue to see quite a bit)…in your email marketing, you have to offer the customer something of value…in this case, quality content. The first time a potential customer opens your email and thinks “Why did I sign up for this thing?”, you’ve lost them. The reaction you’re shooting for is “I didn’t know that! I’m glad I signed up for this!” Also, if you can provoke the second reaction from your recipients, there’s a good chance they will forward your marketing message to their friends.

Read also:  Techniques 2010 - Common Email Marketing Mistakes. Part 1.

And that’s the kind of marketing you can’t buy.

I don’t mean to imply that this is the only type of email marketing that works; there are those who see a nice return on their investment when purchasing an opt-in list of email addresses to use in their efforts, and it can pay off if you’re looking for a quick infusion of customers. However, you will see a smaller ROI for that method than you will if you build your list over time, so that you’re not going door-to-door in email marketing.

As with most things in business, sometimes the slow way is ultimately the best, but with an estimated ROI of over fifty dollars for every one dollar spent on email marketing, the only bad choice is to make no choice.

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Written by: Dave Hughes

Dave Hughes has been in writing and advertising for over twenty years, and loves the opportunity to share what he's learned.