Don’t Be Hating on Email Marketing

I went shopping before work again. No, not in a store. Online. And it’s all because I feel compelled to look at my email when I first wake up. There was a sale, there were these boots… and the next thing I know I’m $100 poorer (but infinitely more stylish) before 8 a.m.

That’s the thing with email. It finds you…wherever you are, it is there, enticing you to check your inbox with curated deals you can’t pass up and the day’s news and information delivered straight to you.

To anyone who says email doesn’t work, I ask you this: Have you stopped using it in your own personal life? Is it no longer the main mode of communication at your job? While there are innumerable tools out there like Slack or Skype trying to reduce the volume of email, the reality is that email is still a central communication and marketing tool for people at home and at work.

It’s like that for educators, too. We know educators’ engagement rates with email have held steady since 2015, and that they are opening and clicking through emails during the school day as well as in the evening and on weekends.

So then, why the hate on email?

When email was first introduced to the masses in the late 1990s, it was the marketing equivalent of lightning in a bottle. Finally, here was a direct marketing method that offered a compromise between the immediacy of an in-person meeting or phone call, and the one-to-one personalization of costly, time-consuming direct mail. Printing and postage expenses suddenly vanished. Email campaigns could be created and sent quickly, and the response was virtually immediate. For quite a few years, educator email marketing was like shooting fish in a barrel. Open rates and clicks were sky-high; leads and sales grew exponentially.

But as time went on, email marketing became mass marketing. Everyone was doing it. Repetitive campaigns and overuse from blanket marketers and spammers caused fatigue, overloading email inboxes with unwanted and ignored messages. Newer marketing channels like online and social advertising, influencer marketing, and SEO have diverted attention and dollars from email budgets…not to mention the high volume of emails educators already receive daily, which means getting their attention in the inbox is even more challenging. Email has become a mature marketing channel, and it has competition.

However, mature doesn’t mean obsolete. Despite other marketing tools that have come and gone over the years, email has continued to drive results, delivering your message or offer directly to the person you are targeting. It is more personal than online advertising, more direct than social media, faster than direct mail, and much less expensive than sales calls or in-person meetings.

Dollar for dollar, email is still the most direct, fastest, and most cost-effective method of one-to-one communication with customers and prospects. Short of showing up on their doorstep, ringing their bell, and standing there with an offer in your hand (not a very practical or scalable method), it is the best way to reach your customer. But to get the best return on your investment, it demands being smarter and more strategic about campaign planning.

Check out our Email Marketing Playbook for best practices to supercharge your email campaigns!

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