Are we or aren’t we in a recession? Economists and politicians continue to trade opinions, but at a minimum, businesses know they are facing a serious economic slump. Cost-cutting is inevitable and, conventionally, the first cuts have been made in marketing. But with the proven profitability of e-mail marketing, many feel that in this case that convention will be broken.
E-mail as a marketing channel offers a distinct set of competitive advantages, not unlike the advantages businesses seek in an economic downturn.
First and foremost is accountability. E-mail is the most measurable of all marketing channels, able to justify any investment with hard revenue and profits generated — in fact, nearly 50 times revenue for every dollar spent. E-mail is also the most reliable channel, as the results generally deliver an immediate return on investment.
Second is e-mail’s ability to help you protect your most valuable asset in a down economy: loyal customers. As a channel, e-mail offers dramatic technical advantages that enable marketers to send highly targeted and relevant messages. You can craft campaigns that are focused on your highest value customers, with content and offers that will keep them coming back for more. And unlike television and print, e-mail marketing offers more cost-effective opportunities to surprise and delight your customers, while at the same time generating a quick sale or two.
When it comes to low-cost, high-reward marketing channels, e-mail has no rival. In fact, your goal should be to drive as much of your customer communications to e-mail as possible, no matter what state the economy is in. E-mail gives you the ability to monitor customer interactions in real time and respond quickly to a need or customer concern. It is the ideal device for driving online revenue, managing loyalty programs, administering fast customer service, and more.
Remember, e-mail is a permission-based medium. Marketers who “batch and blast” their customers with generic buy-it-now messages will certainly get results, but it is the marketers who send the smartest and most relevant e-mail that will reap the greatest reward: loyal, long-term customer relationships. And, if we are indeed in a recession, your most important asset will be the enduring value of that customer loyalty.