What is it about email marketing that works for businesses?

People have been advertising for their products and services since the dawn of time. Remember the Roman traders or the age-old pub signs?

The trend continued through the ‘Wanted’ posters with good old Lord Kitchener pointing right at you! Newspapers that used to carry advertisements for products and services were overtaken by radio and then TV. However, no media has been as effective in marketing like the mass email.

Ever since email was realised as a marketing tool, it has changed the look and feel of direct marketing.

  • Even the concept of junk mail seems to have moved from the mailbox to the inbox. Email marketing is now the preferred choice of marketers – for both B2B marketing and B2C marketing, but does it really works? Let’s find out.
  • Email is a preferred channel of communication in UK as 69 percent of customers in a survey rated it above post (27 percent).
  • At least 80 percent of UK customers are happy to share their information with brands across at least one channel.
  • More than 55 percent of UK consumers who are 25+ are happy to share information using only one channel. And for 79 percent of this consumer group, email is the preferred choice.

[Source: Experian]

According to Jon Buss, Managing Director of Digital at Experian Marketing Services, “Huge amounts of spending power sit with those who are ‘more reluctant’ to share marketing information across multiple channels. Marketers need to build trust to engage with these potentially high value customers and move them to share more and richer data.”

Incidentally, these are the same people (over 25+) who rate email as their preferred choice of communication. So, how to get an email campaign put in place

It maybe because they believe that sharing an email address is like sharing a proxy for their phone number, where they can take their time to go through the messages, at their own pace and in their own time. The authority to read or delete lies solely with them, as it’s a medium where any business marketing communication doesn’t seem to be forced (unlike phone or post).

So if the full authority lies with the reader, what can a marketer do to increase his chances? The answer is simple – ask for permission.


Gaining Permission

Ask your customers and potential customers for their email address and permission to email them, before you send out actual emails. This is not only polite, but also increases your chances of building a relationship. Also, if an email server blacklists you for sending out bulk emails, your messages will always end up in the spam folder. So make it a point to write only permissive emails.

Build Your Lists don’t buy them.

Don’t bother looking for a mailing list or buying data from 3rd party providers, as it is usually not worth it. You may get a list of email addresses, but unless you have asked them for it personally, chances are your emails would be considered spam and deleted even before reading. Build your own database and never be afraid of unsubscribes – see them as a filtering tool.


Get Personal

Keep your messages personal and friendly, as people like reading messages from people who write it to them. Also, it helps them put a face to your business, which helps you in building a long-term relationship with them. They might not buy something today, but if they are interested in what you say, they might come back to buy later.



This is another reason why email marketing works so well. It allows you to keep track of all their clicks and likes to build up a comprehensive list of consumer data. If you do it sincerely, you can even build up your own database of their personal preferences and then pitch to them a product that they are more likely to purchase!

Incidentally, email is also the marketing tool with highest return on investment. According to the DMA Email Marketing Council’s 2013 National Client Email Report, emailing campaigns delivered an average ROI of £21.48 for every £1 spend in 2012.

We will be writing more about email marketing in the coming weeks. Please check back.

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