The Truth About Email Marketing in 2021

This is the blog transcript of our video “The Truth About Email Marketing in 2021”. If you’d like to see more of our videos, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Is email really dead? Not at all!

Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we jump into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos.

I hear this from people all the time in my business “well email is dead so I’m going to focus my time on social media” or “I’m going to focus my time and attention on WhatsApp” or “My customers never use email”.

I’ll tell you flat out that that is NOT true by any means.

Email is still a HUGE medium to connect with and develop relationships with your prospective clients and customers. And if you’re NOT using it, you’re missing out on a marketing channel that still has the strongest return on investment of any channel out there.

But here’s the deal – no, email isn’t dead, but it’s definitely changed a bit. It seems like it’s getting harder to use it effectively to really grow your business, and that’s because users are getting more savvy with their inboxes, and the email providers are continually changing the rules to make sure that their users are only getting content that they may actually want to engage with.

So let’s dive a bit into what we need to know to be successful with email marketing these days.

Email marketing still has a huge return on investment

The stats you’re going to see are going to vary from article to article. It used to be that email was pretty consistently at a 42:1 ratio, but some studies have dropped that to 38:1.

Now let’s unpack that a little bit. Even if we go with the conservative estimate of 38:1 return on investment, that’s a 3,800% return on your investment!

That’s huge – I can’t think of any other platform that provides that kind of ROI.

Sure, there might be some outliers from time to time and some brands that produce a killer campaign that shoots off a 50% ROI from social ads, but that’s going to be WELL into the exception. Not the rule.

Why does email provide such a high return?

That’s actually pretty easy – email marketing is one of the least expensive marketing channels out there. Sure, it might cost some money to build out your email list, but once you’ve got those emails, it’s pretty inexpensive to continue to market to them because the platforms that you use are incredibly inexpensive compared to most other channels.

That combined with the fact that you CAN market to them on an ongoing basis AND test new campaigns, there’s so much value to building an email list and making email marketing one of your focused marketing channels.

You OWN Your Email List

That brings me to my next point – your email list is one of the only marketing assets that you actually OWN. 

Obviously you own your logo, you own your website (although you only lease the space that it sits on), and you own your other brand assets.

But when it comes to your marketing CHANNELS, you rent all of them except your email list.

What do I mean by that?

Well you can build a huge following on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn and feel like you’re sitting pretty. You’ve created a “well” of contacts that you can dip into in perpetuity, right?

Well not really.

What happens when Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn decides to change the rules about how they’re showing your posts to their users? All of a sudden posts that are getting 1,000 views and creating 100 sales opportunities (or actual sales) are suddenly only getting 100 views…if that. And there are no sales opportunities coming in anymore.

We don’t have to look too far into the past to see this in practice, either. It was just about five or so years ago that Facebook completely changed their algorithm and the way that they were showing content to their users, making a move in favor of getting businesses to pay to promote posts instead of relying on organic reach.

That audience, even though you put all the time and effort into building it, still belongs to Facebook, not to you. They’re the ones who get to control how you get to connect with them.

With email, as long as your message is relevant and people actually WANT to hear from you, you get to make those decisions because once you’ve earned that email address, you own it.

Before we dive into the “How” of using email in 2021, are you trying to use email to build your business now? If you are, drop down and give this video a like so we know where you stand!

Engagement is everything

Now let’s talk a little about how we can get this amazing return on investment using the marketing channel that you own and aren’t just borrowing from a social media company. 

Well, similarly to social media, the rules with email ARE changing somewhat regularly, and we need to stay aware of what they are to get our emails into the inbox instead of getting caught in the spam, clutter, or promotions folders.

And this is where engagement comes in.

Engagement is EVERYTHING when it comes to email marketing these days. The email providers like Outlook, Google, Yahoo, etc. are constantly looking at the way that their users engage with the emails that you’re sending them to make decisions on where your emails are going to end up.

This touches on the quality of your email list, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

It’s important that the people to whom you’re sending emails are actually opening those emails, clicking on links, replying…you know…ENGAGING.

If you’re sending emails to people who aren’t engaging with them then you’re telling those email providers that you’re not paying attention to your list and don’t really care if they engage or not – you’re just going to keep sending them emails.

If you do continue to send those people emails, they’ll start directing your emails to the clutter box, then eventually to the spam folder. And eventually, they’ll just stop letting your emails get through at all!

And when that happens, you’re in real trouble because it takes a LOT of work to restore your reputation with those email providers.

Don’t stop testing

Testing is everything in marketing, and it’s no different when it comes to email – regardless of whether you’re sending a newsletter, a webinar announcement, or a sales email.

Don’t stop testing.

Test the subject line to find out what’s going to get your emails opened. Test your email content to find out what’s going to get people to click or reply. Test the colors and the formatting and the font size to see what gets people to do what you want them to do.

The great thing about email marketing is that you can track reads and clicks (and sometimes even more than that) so you can make small changes over time to hone exactly what’s going to make your message pop.

Some email platforms even have campaign optimizers where you can create four or five different variations of an email to see what performs best. 

These tools are available to you so make sure you use them!

Quality is more important than quantity

The quality vs quantity conversation is one that I’ve been having a lot lately. It’s a conversation that’s important to have because there are still a lot of people out there who focus on developing these massive email lists and talk about it like a badge of honor.

Nevermind the fact that only 10% of the people on that list actually ever open their emails.

To be completely frank, it doesn’t matter how big your list is if no one on that list is actually paying attention to what you’re saying.

Building and maintaining a quality list is significantly more important than building a huge list. It has a significantly bigger impact on your business too.

Going back to the point that I made earlier about engagement being everything, if 90% of your list never engages, why would you continue sending emails to them.

To put it differently, if someone has ignored every one of your emails for the past three months – what makes you think that the NEXT email is going to be the one that finally gets them to open?

They’re not, so there’s no point in keeping them on your list. Again, engagement is everything so their lack of interest is actually doing more harm than any good than them seeing a random email could ever do for you.

So keep your list clean. Make sure that, if someone hasn’t opened an email in a few months you stop emailing them. Give them a bit of a break and then try to re-engage them. 

If you can get them to open an email and do something that tells you what kind of emails they WANT to get from you, you’ll be able to be more segmented with the content that you’re sending to them and your open rates will continue to rise…and so will your deliverability.

Fortunately this is another process that can be automated so you don’t have to do it manually, but it’s an important one to put into place. 

Yes, you can still do cold email…carefully

Now we get to the subject of cold email.

Does that email that you’re sending out to introduce yourself to your buyer count as a cold email? Yes. Does it pass SPAM muster? Well, that’s a bit more of a challenging question.

Yes, technically you’re allowed to send off that cold introduction email, but technically you’re not supposed to send it through third party systems like Mission Suite. 

Companies like ours are pretty consistently keeping an eye on the spam ratings of our clients to see if there’s anyone that we need to restrict, so if you’re sending cold introductions out to people and getting hit with a bunch of spam complaints then your sending capabilities will be restricted. And if it’s bad enough, your account might even just be cancelled without notice.

And, even if you use a Gmail account or something to send them out, if you get hit with too many spam complaints there, your deliverability will suffer and you could end up in email jail, which is super hard to get out of.

So yes, you absolutely can still send cold emails to people. Just make sure that it’s well targeted, loaded with value and not overdone.

Back to You

Some of these things that you need to do to keep your email list clean can be pretty labor intensive if you’re going to do them on your own. Fortunately there are systems out there that can do them for you.

Systems like Mission Suite. 

If you want to see how Mission Suite can help you keep your email list clean and do all sorts of other marketing and sales functions, drop down to the description and click on the link to register for a demo.

Hey I hope you got something out of this video. And if you did, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and maybe a share so that others can see it too. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos and while you’re at it, check out these videos too!

We’ll see you next time around!

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