Is there synergy in your digital marketing budget plans for 2012? A survey by marketing research firm 6S Marketing suggests a continued misalignment between email marketing spend and consumer behavior.
SEO and social media marketing currently make up 70% of online marketing budgets. But email still dominates consumer behavior. Thirty-five percent of today's consumers spend 180 minutes or more (3 hours) online per day. The activities they do the most are check emails (94%), search (87%) and research products (78%).
Email will be a 1.6 billion-dollar business this year, still outpacing mobile and social spending. However, small and medium businesses especially should take a look at those numbers. A whopping 94% of consumer online behavior is checking email. So the question stands: Where are you spending your digital marketing budget next year? Here are 10 easy ways to make your email budget work harder:
1. Go Groupon: Why should Groupon have all the fun? Small and medium sized marketers have an opportunity to use email to be creative on discounts, coupons and viral offers.
2. Check Your Messages: Make sure your email messaging is in sync with your customers' needs and preferences. If your business is auto insurance, for example, you might need to audit current emails to make sure the messaging is relevant for new car owners, or even for customers that might be in the market for a new car.
3. Engage Brand Ambassadors: Identify potential ambassadors of your brand and engage with them. Find subscribers who open, click and share your newsletters, and inspire them to spread your business. Remember: peer recommendations hold four times as much weight as advertisements.
4. Optimize: In this time of tight marketing budgets and tight consumer spending, you need to make sure that you don't waste time and money invested in your email campaigns. Make sure that all emails you send land directly in subscribers' inboxes. Optimize your email deliverability by tweaking elements like the "from" field, content, frequency, email list quality.
Making the Most of the Inbox – Using Email to Drive Engagement and Relationships
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5. Go Mobile: By putting a computer inside the mobile phone, mobile device manufacturers started a process that has seen mobile phones and tablet devices evolve to a point where people no longer go to the Internet as a separate part of their everyday lives, but rather, the Internet is evolving to become an integral part of peoples' everyday lives.
6. Greetings: Welcome emails have been reported to the highest responsiveness than regular newsletters. Don't waste the opportunity, and give your subscribers a warm welcome with instant messages.
7. Avoid Trust Killers: What worked in 1999 does not resonate with recipients these days. Avoid tricky subject lines and gimmicks in your offers. Your subscribers know better than that, and a few quick sales should never kill the trust of the many.
8. Embrace Branding: Don't always rely on opens! Emails increase brand awareness, whether they are open or not. Even if some of your subscribers do not open the newsletters, they still have a chance to notice your brand name in their inbox which might influence their next purchase decisions.
9. Focus on the Dialogue: The impact on responding to consumers' actual needs starts with a one-to-one discourse. Don't just communicate outwardly. Listen to what they have to say via social networks, community forums and surveys.
10. Don't Match the Economy: In other words, be aggressive regardless of the stock market, consumer confidence level or GDP. Email is a cost effective way to communicate your best offer or best experience to your best customers. Don't cut it back.
After all, email is going to be the most frequent activity your customers engage in online. That hasn't changed, and budgets for 2012 should reflect that.
Simon Grabowski is CEO of email marketing provider GetResponse.