Is Email Marketing a Waste of Time, Energy and Money?

One of the most frequently discussed topics for us with clients and prospects alike is around email marketing and to be more specific, does it still work in 2022?

The short answer is yes, absolutely! But, there are some nuances to email marketing in 2022. Sales and marketing via email is still the most effective and inexpensive way to make sales, but we have to have a different mindset and approach to how we handle our email and marketing strategy as a whole than even just a few years ago. 

In 2022, it is estimated that consumers are exposed to more than 3,000 marketing messages a day. While that number sounds absolutely insane, the reality is, everywhere you go you are being sold to. From the billboards you pass driving down the road, to the ads on social media, or a direct mail postcard, sales are everywhere. The key to getting prospects to open your emails is knowing this and adjusting your approach.

In 2015 if you googled how many touches does it take for a prospect to take action, the results would be somewhere between 5-7. In 2022, that number has increased to upwards of 13-20 touches and in some markets, that number might be even greater! What’s more startling is that while the number of touches has increased, the number of touches most business owners make hasn’t changed and still remains only around 2-3 touches, which means that their messages are likely having little impact and this only solidifies to those people that email marketing doesn’t work.

So what do you do to make sure your emails are effective? Here are four tips to help you create email content that sets you apart:

  • Have a clear CTA (call to action) in every email – Gone are the days of celebrating open rates of emails. Not only is this a false sense of security (thanks to IOS and other efforts to protect consumer privacy), but it is a poor indication of consumption. It doesn’t matter if you open my email, it matters if you read my email. The way I know you read it is to ask you to do something. Click this link, download this freebie, reply to this email. All of these are examples that when the action is done, will tell you that your reader made it, at least, to that point in your email, but it also gives you an undeniable metric. You know exactly how many people consumed that content. 
  • Avoid having competing CTA’s – Did you notice in my tip above that I spoke in the singular? This is important. When you give your reader too many choices, they are left overwhelmed and confused. If you’re the expert and your content is giving them exactly what they need, then it shouldn’t be a consultation and 3 different product options to choose from. One call to action, puts you in the expert seat guiding them to the destination that is of greatest service to them. 
  • Segment Your List – Another benefit of CTAs is it’s an opportunity to learn about your readers and use this data to improve the way you communicate with them. As a simple example, let’s say you are in the business of selling hot beverages and you ask them in an email or a poll online which do they prefer and 100 people say they like coffee,100 people say they like tea and to make it easy, you also have 100 people who say they like both. We don’t want to send an email selling coffee to people that say they only like tea. I recommend that as you create your content that it is this kind of specific that you track and use in your future marketing. Segmenting your lists allows you to cater your marketing based on the recipients preferences, thereby increasing the likelihood that a coffee-lover will open your coffee email and not to waste time or energy sending them tea emails. This helps you build your reputation because people will know that you send only relevant emails, while also keeping your emails in the inbox and out of the spam and promotions (directly related to how people interact with your content).
  • Be Authentic – As a result of the more than 3,000 marketing messages we are exposed to per day, we are savvy consumers and no one wants to be sold to. Consumers expect more from us, and the internet has made transparency accessible to us all. The more authentic you are, the more effective you’ll be in your messaging.

As I wrap up this blog post, I want to share three things that I know will help you get the most out of your email marketing:

  • Consistency is Key – Create structure that sets you up for success and that you can keep up with. From day one, you are teaching your prospects and your customers how to interact with your content. So, if you promise a blog every Thursday, make sure that’s something you can live up to as your audience will be paying attention. Teach them that their emails from you contain important information and content. It will help your email reputation and help set your prospects and customers up for long-term success. This builds the foundation of know, like and trust with your brand.
  • Become BFF’s with Automation – Many business owners love batching their work (setting a block of time to do one thing, such as write emails). The reality is, 13-20 emails is just one tiny part of the customer journey…that’s so overwhelming (PS – we have a solution if this is  you…it’s called Business Automation in a Box)! The reality is, if you want your email marketing to be effective and you ever want to eat or sleep or see your family, you can’t manually send out 13-20 emails to each individual person, track who did and did not open them, respond to replies AND maintain this cycle consistently over time. That’s where automation comes in. Write your amazing email content and then set it up to run with automation…even better, the automation will know the next step when they do the one thing you’ve been asking them to do in your CTA’s!
  • Know Your Numbers – This can be many blog topics all by itself, but in short, know how your list is engaging. The average shelf life for someone on your list is about 90-days and shrinking. Continuing to send to people who are not consuming your content is only going to help you over the long haul, because as I said earlier, it could take up to 20+ touches before someone is ready to purchase from you. Tracking your numbers means understanding what kind of content people enjoy, what falls flat, when do people start to disengage so that you can either give them a graceful way to unsubscribe, or you offer them an opportunity to get back involved. 

As business owners, we want to make sure our time, money and energy are focused on the things that are going to give the best results. I can understand why some business owners are doubtful about whether it’s still worth their time and effort. My last thought is when you’re trying to decide if it’s worth it to be in the email market or not, know that your competition is still part of the 3,000 sales messages your ideal client is getting every single day. Email marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Our job is to adapt to the changing landscape, so when our ideal customer is ready to buy, we are ready to serve them.


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