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The Why and How of Email Marketing

Jul 11, 2008
Why is email marketing a good choice to help grow your business? Are there any downsides you should be aware of? Let's take a look and help you decide whether email marketing is right for you.

Let's face it: without advertising and marketing a business is just one big expense. Even word of mouth is a form of marketing. But no company, even a small business, can truly survive on word of mouth alone.

With that said, you have a few options on how to get the word out. Prior to the 21st century, the standard forms of marketing and advertising generally consisted of the following options: radio, television, print and other. Let's look at each of these first, and then consider the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing, versus these other traditional formats.

Radio advertising can be a bit pricey, depending on what kind of schedule you purchase. The time of day, the ratings and number of listeners on the station, and even the time of year can affect the budget you'll need in order to run a successful radio campaign.

While many radio stations will allow you to run short schedules with a very basic message, the likelihood of limited radio advertising being effective in helping your business see significant growth is slim to none. You may be able to generate a response to a single sale on a one-time basis, but a short or limited radio schedule could put you in a position to not break even.

Television advertising is thought to be more effective than radio because of the visual aspect. However, television stations know this and may charge more. You could run into the same problems as you may with radio, budget-wise.

Print advertising generally refers to newspaper ads, but also includes magazines and so on. While print tends to be more affordable, modern trends show that more people are online doing their reading, and less people are reading physical print anymore.

The "other" category of marketing and advertising includes a variety of promotional tools. This can include direct mail, promotional items (such as pens, cups, t-shirts, and hats), etc.

Email marketing has a few advantages you won't find with any of the conventional marketing tools. First of all, the number of impressions you can achieve for the same amount of money exceeds all other forms of advertising. This is because your audience is only limited to your list of email addresses.

The question becomes whether or not people truly respond to email marketing, or if they just regard all advertising via email as junk mail, also known as "spam." Your gut may tell you that people don't read email advertising, but you'll be surprised at the truth about this.

First of all, while people may disregard a large percentage of the business email they receive, they do not disregard all of it. If the email is from a trusted source and contains information relevant to their lifestyle, they may very well read and respond to the messages.

It becomes important, with that fact in mind, to establish rapport with your potential buyers, and to choose your target demographic carefully. An email marketing specialist can help you determine exactly who your target audience is, based on factors like age, gender, annual household income, location, and other factors.

Now that your email marketing campaign is 'targeted,' its success is much more likely. However, only a marketing specialist has the knowledge needed to then create a message that will turn those impressions into a point of sale. Proper marketing is said to be a combination of the ideal medium and an effective message: 'the medium and the message' are key!

The verdict is that email marketing has many advantages over other forms of advertising, including budget. However, it is important that email marketing is done appropriately. If you do not consult an email marketing specialist, you could end up blocked by entire internet service providers' servers, or worse, sued!

If you do choose email marketing, be sure to do so through a company that specializes in targeted marketing and advertising, which has aggregated the data needed to create a successful campaign to help grow your business. In fact, this is true with all forms of media marketing.
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