Written By: Donovan Hardenbrook

I was talking to a business colleague of mine who is in the high end residential real estate business about his marketing. He creates beautiful brochures for the million dollar plus homes he sells. I asked him what else he did for marketing. He said that he used to spend a lot of time and resources doing online marketing especially with social media and was disappointed with the results. The only online marketing that seemed to work for him was e-mail marketing. While I didn’t explore why his social media marketing didn’t work, I do find many businesses have a lot of success with e-mail marketing just like my colleague. While some experts may say that e-mail marketing is going away I would have to disagree. I’ve been using e-mail marketing since I started my business in 2007 and have found it to be extremely valuable.

Here are five reasons why I believe that e-mail marketing should be a valuable tool in your arsenal as well.

1. Your Online Driver’s License

Everybody has an e-mail account. As matter of fact most people have several e-mail accounts. I personally have over six e-mail accounts (it’s tough to keep track of them all!). Regardless how many you have, no one can register for an online account without one. It is your online driver’s license. For us a business owners, we can’t market to somebody unless we have their contact information and that starts with an e-mail account. While we don’t need a lot of information we need at a minimum an email address to market online. The key is to exchange something of value like a free e-book or coupon in exchange for a prospect’s email address.

2. Email Marketing is Legit

E-mail service providers (ESPs) monitor their users to make sure that no one abuses the integrity of the system. If someone one is using an ESP to spam people then their accounts are immediately suspended. If the prospect or customer no longer wants to receive your e-mail then they can easily remove themselves off your list within a few seconds. Since we want to target only those who are interested in our products and services we should be happy when folks opt-out. All of this works because systems, processes and tools are in place.

3. Metrics That Matter

Email marketing can provide very useful statistics on open rates and click through rates. Knowing what people are interested when sending out offers newsletters. We typically see open rates from 15 to 25% or more. Click through rates are even more valuable since it shows us what really interests and engages subscribers. This is valuable feedback that we can use to improve our product and service offerings through product improvement or better marketing.

4. Robust Technology That Integrates Your Online Presence

There are many full-featured e-mail marketing solutions such as AWeber, MaleChimp, Infusionsoft, Vertical Response and Constant Contact [Full disclosure: I’m an Authorized Local Expert for Constant Contact and a user]. Advances in e-mail marketing allow you to integrate it with your website, blog, and social media. These solutions continue to get better and easier to use.

5. It’s Affordable and Effective

If you compare the cost of e-mail marketing to any other marketing tools you’ll find that it’s very cost effective. A business can send newsletters or offers to thousands of prospects for less than $50 a month. Compare that to direct mail which costs you $.40 per individual and doesn’t even taking account the cost of printing the materials. More importantly, those emails get opened by 15 to 25% of the recipients. According to the Direct Marketing Association, The ROI on email is $28.50 compared to direct mail which is $7.

In summary, e-mail marketing needs to be a vital part of your marketing system and integrated into your total online presence. While some may consider it old school, it is still an excellent and affordable marketing tool for any size business

About the Author:

President, Leap Innovation LLC, Donovan uses his 29 years of marketing and engineering know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he held a variety of management positions with Intel Corporation, Sandia National Labs, Orbital Sciences, and Salt River Project. Donovan regularly hosts workshops and webinars.