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As a business owner and chief executive, you and your web team likely spend a lot of time and effort continually optimizing your website. It’s critical to stay fully functional, fast, secure, and highly visible in organic search. In the never-ending process of “how” to keep your website operating at peak efficiency, however, it’s important never to lose sight of “why.”
“Why,” of course, is to make sure you capture a sufficient share of customers and prospects to guarantee your business not only survives, but thrives. And although new web technologies and applications continue to proliferate at a breakneck pace, humble email remains the killer app for capturing and owning your audience. Here are the top five reasons why you need to capture more email addresses on your website.
Email may no longer be the latest or shiniest new Internet gadget. Nevertheless, it’s the most lucrative and cost-effective means available for throwing profit to your business’s bottom line. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average generates a 4,400% ROI for businesses in the U.S. That’s a return of $44 for every dollar spent.
Most people regularly visit a limited number of websites, and they use a relatively small number of apps to access everything they’re interested in on the Internet. With potential customers and clients self-selecting themselves into narrow zones where they are willing to be reached, it’s critical you find a way to get your brand invited inside one of those zones.
That means you not only need to get visitors to discover your website, you need to get them to sign up for something once they arrive. After all, a subscriber or member who has already exchanged something of value with you – your enewsletter or a white paper for their email address, for example – is worth far more than a random visitor who remains a stranger.
One reason email marketing affords such high ROI is that it’s essentially free. You don’t have to pay for clicks or impressions, there’s no monthly ad budget, no revenue share, commission or agency fee. Of course, just because something’s free doesn’t make it worth having or doing. With email marketing however, you’ll capitalize on more than just simple cost effectiveness. When compared to other web marketing channels, email marketing also generates far higher response, which brings up reasons #2 and #3.
You may have heard Facebook and Twitter have 1.4 billion members, and 100 million daily active users, respectively. As impressive as those numbers seem, what you may not be aware of is the number of people who use email every day.
Every Internet user has at least one email account. A recent research study conducted by Radicati found there are 3.8 billion active email accounts. That’s half the population of Earth, and it’s precisely why you, along with every savvy business in the world, need to build your email list.
What’s more, people check their email first thing in the morning and return as many as 20 times throughout the day. Each time they do it’s another chance for you to deliver a timely, targeted, personalized message into the hands of a client or prospective customer who already appreciates your product or service!
Major brands learned this lesson a long time ago. That’s why they spend millions of dollars annually on efforts to entice people to sign up for their email lists. They understand email marketing’s unbeatable ROI is achieved because their messages reach a high proportion of people who specifically signed up to receive targeted, individualized emails. Those emails are sent at virtually no cost, and recipients actively check for those messages numerous times a day.
In the words of noted emarketer, author and blogger Ann Handley (her marketing newsletter is highly recommended), “Email is the only place where people, not algorithms, are in control. With social and other digital channels — Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, paid search, organic search — someone or something else decides who sees your content and when and where they see it.”
A common annoyance with Facebook, Twitter, and Google marketing is these platforms periodically change the rules of the game, and there’s literally nothing advertisers can do about it. If you haven’t already experienced the resulting sense of frustration and powerlessness, be thankful. One day your social media campaigns and SEM efforts are chugging along just fine, and the next day your entire monthly budget is wasted because one of the major ad platforms changed a critical policy, feature or algorithm.
In contrast, you own your email list. You alone determine the rules governing how and when you market to it, completely outside the influence or control of any other business. And unlike SEM, with email marketing there is no ranking system or competitive bidding to limit your reach. You can collect as many email addresses as you wish, and communicate anything you wish as often as you wish.
And last, email marketing doesn’t get penalized for over- or under-using specific words or phrases somebody else thinks are important, or because you don’t link to other websites, or because your message is too long or too short based on someone else’s idea of how many words or characters are optimal. You always should observe marketing best practices, of course. But you’re the expert in your business and your product. It can be refreshing – and highly profitable – to express your message via email exactly as you think best, and not have every marketing decision dictated to you.
Email marketing can mean anything from you sending a personal email to an individual client or prospect, to importing hundreds or thousands of names from your customer database into your email platform and sending a mass message. Either way, the benefit to you and your business is that you can get an email promotion or important announcement out the door quickly and with minimal disruption to your schedule or staff.
Unlike search and social media, your email arrives exactly where your audience wants to see your message. Whether they provided their home or work email address, recipients have told you exactly where and how to reach them. You don’t have to buy media or set a monthly budget depending on how many clicks you want to buy. Simply compose your message and send it, confident it will find recipients exactly where they told you they wish to be found.
In addition, the creative hurdle for email marketing is typically fairly low. With little more required than a text file, no media to buy, and no learning curve while the marketing platform gathers baseline results data, you can send marketing messages on a timely basis within hours or even minutes of significant events in your industry or the economy. And unlike other marketing channels, as conditions evolve or as new developments arise, you can change or completely cease your marketing message within minutes. Email is the perfect medium for flexible, tactical marketing you can turn on a dime to keep pace with your market and audience.
What’s more, you’ll know email marketing results literally overnight, rather than days or weeks from deployment. You can monitor the open rate in real time if you wish, and for a large campaign you can get a statistically valid read on actual response or conversions within a matter of hours. When timeliness is important, nothing offers the speed and precision of email marketing.
With new apps, platforms, and social media startups being launched every day, it’s easy to take email for granted. But when you add up all the benefits of email marketing — the enormous ROI, highly targeted and personal messaging, universal and frequent usage, your full ownership and control, and unmatched timeliness and flexibility — the playing field quickly tilts back in email’s favor.
You’ll find no lower cost or easier to implement marketing channel available. Nor will you find one more instantly profitable. Get started collecting email addresses on your website today. Literally nothing else you do can pay you back so many times over, or faster.
We have seen websites of all shapes and sizes, from brilliant to completely dysfunctional. Your site may live solidly in the middle of the bell curve in this regard, however that doesn’t mean your site couldn’t stand to benefit from some amount of modernization. Just like all other technology, the technology of websites is constantly evolving and changing. Often times, elements of a site which were highly effective when a site was built lose their effectiveness over time; and depending on the nature of your business, you may not even realize how significantly even a small issue can affect your business.
While it may be difficult to fully comprehend and validate the decision to move forward and modernize, it is important to keep in mind that time flies as it relates to technology and user expectations fly right along with it. Your website is a 24-hour, 7-day a week representation of your organization online. It needs to properly showcase your brand, your message and your mission. It should drive results, rather than hinder your efforts.