For a while email marketing was getting compared unfavourably to text message marketing, as having less response from recipients. Then there was the rise of Facebook and Twitter for business. Now it seems like email marketing – where you connect with customers via their inbox – is having a revival. The truth is, while it may have been overshadowed for a bit, like all good marketing techniques it never went away. Today though, there are new ways to get subscribers to your list.

Smartphone users open more emails than computer users (and will soon overtake computer users full stop). Mobile-viewable sign up forms and QR codes – on shop posters for instance – take advantage of that. Facebook integration allows your page fans to opt in without leaving their favourite hangout. And of course sign-up forms, as always, can go on your website too.

So why email marketing? Emails give a business the opportunity to engage one-on-one with a customer. Signing up to receive your emails is something a customer has chosen to do, and means they’re interested in your business.

Customers can read your emails when it suits them. Compare that to social media, where the constant streams of information can make it hard for a customer to keep up with your posts – or even see them at all.

As they’ve opted in to receive your emails, subscribers are more receptive to their contents. Putting a special offer inside an email is almost like getting customers on demand. Make it a good offer, and they’ll respond.

Some businesses use emails to send out newsletters; others just for offers. Ideally, you want emails to be a mix of useful information and promotions. That keeps your subscribers happier – no one likes constant sales pitches.

Emails don’t have to be lengthy; in an age of reducing concentration spans, short can work too. It really depends on what your customers want. Of course, you can ask them by including a survey with your emails now and then (that’s a great way to discover what they really want from your business too).

You could, in theory, collect email addresses and send them manually to all your subscribers. However, aside from the time factor, you run the risk of having your emails land in spam folders (certain words trigger the filters), or even being accused of spamming because some people forgot they’d signed up. That in turn can mean your website and email account being closed down.

An online marketer knows the best practices for email marketing, like double opt-ins to protect you. They can set up the sign-up forms, schedule your emails and make sure your campaigns run smoothly. In this instance, hiring a professional is the best way to go.

Summing up
The most important aspect of email marketing is that it builds customer relationships, and gives them a reason to keep doing business with you. For any business, that’s invaluable.