Given the current situation we face as a society, many organisations have been forced to innovate and use all kinds of techniques to achieve a minimum of sales. One of them is email marketing, which aims, in addition to maintaining contact with potential customers, to minimise sales losses. A few days ago we asked Jose Argudo, Marketing Manager with several years of experience in the sector and author of the book Textos de venta más efectivos (in English The most effective sales texts), what was his opinion about the potential of email marketing in customer acquisition and why companies should dedicate part of their investment to it.
What role should email marketing play in an organisation, and do you think this strategy is suitable for all types of companies?
Email marketing is first and foremost a communication tool, which is why it can be used both to keep in touch with customers as well as to sell. With equal effectiveness. During this pandemic we have seen how many businesses used email marketing to communicate with their customers (and suppliers), reassure them and explain what they were doing to overcome the situation. This has been very useful for these businesses. On the other side, many have continued to use it as a sales tool, with great success. In my opinion, seen from this perspective, yes, it is very useful for all kinds of companies.
Do you think more and more companies are aware of the potential that email marketing has for their brand? And what would you say to someone who is not yet doing email marketing? Why should they start doing it?
The truth is that email marketing has been one of the most effective marketing tools for companies for many years now. It is common knowledge, but it is possible that some more recitent companies have seen the pandemic as an excuse to start using email marketing. Perhaps they didn’t have the time before, or they had other concerns, and the new situation has forced them to act. I would say to a company that if it already has customers, a very effective way to get sales is to send mailings to those customers. In other words, any company that already has customers can make a lot of money by working that customer list. The funny thing is that many companies do not do it.
What is the most common mistake made when using email marketing?
Well, there are several. One is the one I mentioned before. A large number of companies prefer to buy a database of contacts (of dubious quality) instead of working with their own customer list, which would offer a much higher profitability. The other most common mistake is not understanding the environment and sending mailings that are simply an image, as if it were a flyer printed on paper. It’s not the same format, and that doesn’t usually work.
Today’s lifestyle and the rise of social networks mean that we have less and less time to check our email. Do you think that all of this has a negative effect on attracting potential customers through email marketing?
Do we really have less time to check email? Maybe younger people do not check email as much, I don’t know. But the first thing that happens when you start working in a company is that they create an email address for you. We check the email:
- To see if we have notifications from work.
- To see notifications and progress of purchases.
- To see notifications from some social networks / forums / daily digests
- To keep track of our favourite sites and their offers
- Emails sent by friends and colleagues
I would say that nowadays mail is consulted more than ever. Is it possible that there are niche markets where it is not used as much? It is possible, but it is also possible that they are niches with less economic relevance for companies.
In the context of the previous question: Email marketing vs. social media, do you think that the technique will have to adapt and change in the future?
Unfortunately, there is no debate here. Social networks with their algorithm changes have meant that there is practically no return on their use (except in exceptional cases) unless there is a large financial outlay. On the other hand, there are many email marketing tools that offer free accounts. That is, what you publish on social media, if you don’t pay for it, will probably only be seen by 5% – 10% of your followers. If you send a mailing, I won’t say that 100% will see it, but between 75% – 90% will. It is clear that if you want something to reach your contacts, social networks are not reliable. And in my day to day I use both, you have to use all the tools at your disposal.
Since we have already talked about inbound, apart from social networks, are there certain channels that you consider appropriate for lead generation? Do you think that corporate blogs add value or do they only serve to improve SEO? What do you think of podcasts?
This depends on each company, but I have always believed that we should use all the tools at our disposal. Blogs are still very profitable if they are used correctly, of course. Perhaps what I have noticed is that more and more effort needs to be put into them. But this is going to be true on all fronts. Many new companies are emerging, many others are going digital. Competition is definitely going to increase, not decrease. About podcasts, it is true that they are a useful marketing tool, but as in other cases, they are also going to become more popular and therefore it will also be more difficult to stand out there. My recommendation for companies is that they select the tool they think will be useful and that they dedicate their efforts there, that they don’t diversify too much (if they don’t have the resources). In other words, a small company with almost no media cannot have a podcast, a YouTube channel, Instagram, blog, etc. If there are no means, the best thing to do is to focus and choose a means of attraction, such as the blog and networks, even Google Ads, and a means of conversion, such as email marketing.
How could we take advantage of platforms like Medium and similar ones?
I’m not a big fan of these types of platforms. I have always thought that the effort spent on these platforms would be much better spent on the company’s own blog. This is a personal opinion, maybe some people don’t share it.
Newsletter as part of email marketing: Is it ethical to send it cold, without the person signing up? Is it true that the importance of Lead Nurturing and lead conversion via this channel is decreasing a lot?
Well, I will not talk about ethics, but my personal opinion, and the experience of 10 years, tells me that sending cold newsletters is much, much less effective, and in some cases directly problematic, causing serious economic losses to the company that performs this action. Blocked domains, blacklisting, reduced effectiveness of campaigns. These types of actions can cause many problems in the short and long term.