Should your business try email marketing
Should your business try email marketing? The answer these days almost seems to be, do or die. But that's not necessarily the case. Studies haven't been consistent in showing a lot of benefit to companies who invade a person's email box with loads of advertisements. Nevertheless, email does seem to be the wave of the future, so that not looking into it closely would be irresponsible on the part of a businessperson. Let's consider, then, a few things about email marketing.
1. Let's face it, the Internet is, in many ways, the place to be. Just consider how the Internet has affected politics and the news during the past few years. Ordinary people have been able to shake the halls of power while sitting there in the Snoopy boxers in the privacy of their own home. Now, this doesn't necessarily translate into email advertising being the wave of the future, but it does point rather strongly to the potential of email advertising in the future. Let's go a little further.
2. The Internet is a relatively new phenomenon. For example, I'm thirty years old, and I still think of it as something "new." I mean, it's an integral part of my life, I use it every day, I rely on email to talk to my family and friends, but it didn't really have an affect on me until I was in college. Some of my younger brothers and sisters, on the other hand, have never known anything else. And this is where the (hopefully) interesting point comes in.
3. I've noticed that I get much more irritated with email advertisements than my more Internet-savvy siblings. I think of it as an invasion of privacy, whereas to them it's part of the big, noisy, exciting, teeming world of the Internet. This makes sense when you think of how direct mail marketing was responded to so many years back. It's been with us so long, we forget that it initially had a similar affect (i.e. vaguely negative) on the people opening their mailboxes only find them crammed with advertisements for this and that. The analogy doesn't hold perfectly, of course, but it holds enough. So long as people consider advertisements in their email nothing but a nuisance, email marketing will be slow to take off. But as the years go by, and it become more and normal, i.e., nothing more unusual than getting an advertisement in your mailbox at home, things may start to look very differently.
4. With this sort of potential, it may be wise to at least experiment a little with email advertising now. It's relatively inexpensive, and a good marketing team can put a plan together quickly. You'll probably want to start simply, and use an unsuspicious approach. I'm sure this is something your marketing team will have thought of from day one, but there's such a fear of viruses these days that if an email advertisement smells even slightly suspicious it's sent out into the void without another thought.
5. It can't hurt, really, to be trying email advertising in a limited way over an indefinite period of time. You want to be familiar with the technology. You want your people to be familiar with the technology. This hints at research, was the next thing we're going to look at.
6. The Internet is noisy, crowded thing to be sure, but one of the advantages of such a press of people is that you're almost guaranteed to find what customers are saying now about Internet email, what companies are saying, what the government is saying, and what the email providers are themselves are saying. Following Google's example, email providers are starting to place stricter limits on the way advertising can be done in their system.