If you're considering implementing an email marketing program but aren't sure if it's really worth the time or effort, Comm100 helps you explore whether your product, website or demographic is ideally suited for Email Marketing in this article. Comm100 then gives advices on how to find the right email message for your market.

Is Email Right for Everybody?

As you're evaluating whether or not to launch an email marketing element to your business, you may be wondering if your product, customer base or industry segment is the type that will be responsive to email marketing.

The short answer is that every consumer will respond to the right email message, but, if you're thinking that certain types of segments perform better, then you're right.

Without a doubt, the hospitality and travel industry and the entertainment industry receive the highest delivery, open and click-through rates of any industries, according to the Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index. For all industries combined, the average open rate to an opt-in list is above 20% and click-through rates are 5% or more. What this shows is that, across all industries, users will respond to email marketing. However, there are some factors that you should keep in mind.

Is Your Demographic an Online Demographic?

One of the largest factors in determining how responsive your user list will be to email marketing is simply this: "How prevalent is it to purchase your product or service online versus going to a brick and mortar location?" While both types of consumers respond to email marketing, they respond in different ways and to different techniques.

If your product or service is primarily online and consumers typically purchase or research it online, then email marketing is a natural and somewhat easier fit for you. Travel services are an excellent example of this. By far, the majority of travel purchases made each year are made online. This is one of the reasons that the travel and tourism industry's email marketing campaigns perform as well as they do. People operate in a primarily online environment for that sector. However, in order to make email marketing relevant even if your product or service is primarily an online product or service, you'll still need to follow a few key steps.

Keep Offers and Content Fresh: Just because a person purchases your product or service online, it doesn't mean that they want to be told every week about the quality of your brand and your top selling product. If they think that they're reading the same content every time you send an email, they'll stop opening!

Link Directly to Product Pages: Promoting a product and then linking to your homepage from the email just leaves users having to search through your site and often giving up on ever finding the product that they wanted to begin with. Link straight through to the product page for the specific item that you're talking about.

Personalize and Segment: Inboxes are crowded places these days, and people spend less time in them. Use personalization in your emails and segment your list based on user behavior.

What if my product or service is primarily purchased offline?

You're still safe to use email marketing! You just need to structure it differently. A great example of this is the clothing industry. People often prefer to purchase clothing in stores so that they can try it on. But you can still incentivize them to be interested in your email in several ways.

If you have a brick and mortar store, send them to it! Include printable coupons for your brick and mortar locations within the email. Make sure you mention those coupons in the subject line to increase your click-through rate.

If you're online and offline, promote the benefits and offers: Even if something is primarily purchased in stores, there are benefits to purchasing it online (convenience, uniqueness) that you can promote. Also, offers are even more important here.

Purchasers of products that are often purchased offline will be receptive to email if there's something in the email that they truly want. Just be sure and provide that to them!

Is this all true for B2B as well?

It is, though be aware that B2B email is much more difficult and you should expect slightly lower open and click-through rates. Business decision makers have more crowded inboxes than an average consumer. Additionally, they spend time in their inboxes (or at least the inbox of the email address that you're likely to have) differently than regular consumers. A B2C consumer is in his or her inbox during leisure time, often looking for activities to create interest. A B2B consumer is in his or her inbox during work hours, usually conducting business, and must be even more incentivized to open your email in the rush of other activities.

B2B email marketing obviously works as it's the staple of many a marketing campaign, but you'll need to be even more diligent about subject lines, content and standing out as something exciting.

There's an email solution that will appeal to just about any type of customer in any type of demographic. You just need to be dedicated to taking the time to find out what that is and optimize it. Take the time to think about what your customers would really want to see in their inboxes. And take the time to test several different ideas and see what users will really respond to. Email is a key customer communication touch point regardless of what type of customer it is!

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