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Email Marketing to Drive New Customers

Blogger: Jordan Buranskas

My exploration of email marketing to drive new customers yielded contradictive results.  Some studies that emerged assert that email marketing is a dying art unlikely to yield profit, while others advocate in favor of email marketing, suggesting that is a practical investment that shouldn’t be ignored. Although the search was complicated by the need to filter legitimate sources from statements made through advertising efforts by email marketing service providers.

The most prominent result came from the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly report, which proclaims that “the decreasing influence email marketing has on ecommerce, how tablets are overtaking smart phones in online retail, and social media’s impact on ecommerce.” According to the report, referral traffic to ecommerce sites and conversion rates from email have decreased since last year. Referral traffic has plummeted 37%, while the conversion rate has dropped another 6%. On the other hand, average order value is up almost ten dollars ($89.43-$99.93) in the fiscal period between the second quarter of 2012, to the second quarter of 2013. This presents an opportunity for brands to exploit direct email transactions if they are able to create more engaging email experiences. This study is conducted by analyzing a random sample of over 600 million online shopping experiences.

An opposing argument on this top came from the “Icontact” blog written by John Hayes who has an extensive library of blogs related to the field of email marketing and social media marketing news. Hayes asserts that email marketing “provides one of the most cost-effective marketing solutions available to today’s marketers”. Unlike many of the costly alternatives to direct cyber traffic toward a given company’s website (such as paid advertisement), email marketing is a retention marketing tool; it is cheaper to hold onto old customers than acquire new ones. Hayes argues for the importance of bringing in new blood, and thus the effectiveness of PPC at accomplishing that, but having to pay every time you attract a visitor can create a fine margin between cost and profit. The addition of email marketing to your alternative marketing strategies (SEO, social media, PPC) will improve your ability to generate substantial return on your marketing budget (Hayes.)

His article segments the process into four steps. The first is to develop a strategy that involves using email marketing to retain and drive repeat business at minimum cost. This is followed by adjusting the website to capture user info; facilitating the process of clients joining your e-mailing list. Encouraging a correlation between the social media and email platforms. And finally testing the methodology by temporarily suspending the alternative forums of online marketing to ensure the email marketing pursuit is time and cost effective.

Clearly the topic of email marketing is highly controversial. With so many competitive digital platforms to reach consumers, research and theory offer different interpretations of this segment of online marketing.

New Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Finds Diminishing Returns from Email Marketing in Driving Ecommerce; Tablets Outpacing Smartphones in Device Share. “Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report.” September 12, 2013.

Email Marketing – The Profitable Component of Everything Else You Do Online to Promote Your Business. John Hayes.  “Icontact”, The Official Blog.  September 18, 2013.