Alex Butzbach

As Facebook enters its second decade, marketers are looking back on where social networking has been and where it’s going. As Brafton reported earlier this week, 62 percent of consumers are more likely to make purchases after seeing social content. Clearly, social media is an undeniable essential for internet marketing success. 

Unfortunately, this gives short shrift to a tool that’s easy to overlook. Email has been around much longer than any type of social media, but more importantly, it’s an incredibly effective marketing tool.

Email hasn’t yielded its dominance

McKinsey just released the results of its iConsumer survey, and companies that have been focusing on social media at the expense of email should take note. According to the research, email is 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. The reason is simple: Over 90 percent of consumers check their email at least once a day.

Companies can’t categorize every single person who might read an email, but there are three basic steps any content marketing strategy can include to get customers back into their inboxes.

inbox email

1. Segment your recipients

The first step in the customer acquisition dance is segmentation, or dividing recipients into different groups. Some contacts may have filled out a form on your website, whereas others might have found their way onto your email list through social media or phone conversations with sales representatives. MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report found that some of the most popular segmentation methods include overall email engagement (55 percent), location in the sales pipeline (38 percent) and user-declared preferences (38 percent).

2. Alter content to match

Email recipients will be more likely to become actual customers if the content they receive in emails suits their previously stated preferences. As Brafton has discussed in the past, some groups respond better to evergreen content while others prefer news updates.  

3. Create a schedule

Almost every industry sees ebbs and flows throughout the year, and being able to coordinate marketing materials with sales events, promotions or holidays is one of the biggest boons of email. Consumers opened 38 percent more emails on Black Friday than Cyber Monday, for example. Companies that know when potential customers are most likely to read their emails can reap the benefits accordingly.

Quite a few marketing tools have become standard weapons in the fight for additional customers, but email has been a reliable stalwart since the beginning. Don’t overlook it in a haste to diversify and improve your custom content toolbox.