This morning I moved 5193 unread emails to my junk mail folder. No, that is not a typo. I really did. The question you are probably asking yourself right now is, “how did I accumulate so many unread emails?” Trust me. It isn’t something I planned. But whenever I would attend a webinar, request information or purchase something online I would get added to an email list by the company in question. These companies would then start sending me regular and frequent emails until I ended up with a monster-sized inbox that would take hours to empty if I chose to review each email individually.

I have a love/hate relationship with email, because although it is my preferred method of communication from companies, and studies show that many others agree with my preference, I now receive massive amounts of email daily, even on weekends. Since the first email was sent over 40 years ago, it has become a highly efficient and effective marketing tool. Unlike traditional marketing communication methods, email gives companies the ability to connect to their clients and prospects inexpensively and frequently. It has proven to be a highly efficient and effective way to increase ROI, and one study found that 59% of marketers planned to increase their budget for email marketing in 2015.

As marketing departments increasingly aim to target a market of one through campaign personalization, email becomes a highly malleable and low-cost channel. A study by Econsultancy found that marketers consider email the best way to personalize digital relationships with their prospects. Perform a quick scan of your inbox and you may find personalized versions of:

  • Newsletters or e-zines
  • Product information updates
  • Event invitations
  • Blog updates
  • Co-marketing emails
  • Lead nurturing emails containing targeted content
  • Press releases and announcements
  • Surveys

Many marketers have discovered a simple, yet effective means to increase sales: deliver relevant information, at the right time, to the right people.

The Right Time – Prospects require different types of information depending on where they are in the customer journey. Start with a solid understanding of what your customer journey looks like and what questions a prospect might ask at each stage. This will allow you to target the information in each email based on what stage of the customer journey they are in. Providing the correct information when they need it will increase the possibility of converting them from a prospect to a buyer.

Relevant Information – A targeted yet useful email campaign keeps your brand visible to your customer, connecting with them as they conduct research and read reviews before making a purchase. This only works if your email contains information they will find useful to help them move to the next stage of their customer journey.

The Right People –As personalization becomes a marketing standard, a segmented email list will allow you to send targeted emails to the correct audience at the right time. However, accuracy is critical in the digital age, and targeting missteps can cause your company embarrassment and potentially cost sales. This was a lesson learned the hard way by Shutterfly when they sent a mass email congratulating new mothers, most of which had not recently had a child.

When executed well, email can be a successful way to convert prospects to customers, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Statistics show that even though social media is on the rise, email marketing still generates more sales than popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But overwhelming your customers with multiple irrelevant emails is a sure-fire way to ensure they ignore your marketing messages – bye bye spam! Make sure your email stands out from the masses by creating a personalized email campaign that distributes useful information to your target audience when they are most likely to need it.

How is your company using email to communicate with clients and prospects? I would love to hear your thoughts on its success, or your thoughts on the future of email marketing in general.

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