Why email – NZ Retail magazine article by Glenn Edley

Posted by Spike Email Marketing, Opinion and commentary

The latest issue of NZ Retail magazine is out now, with our regular column feature – check it out.

Why email?

Far from being a dying art, email is not only alive and well, but it is also a vital tool for retailers.

For many people – both historically and, sadly, still today – email marketing means spam. It’s also seen as the poor cousin of marketing channels.

However, the reality is that when executed properly email marketing outperforms all other marketing media – often returning greater than ten times the initial investment.

WHAT ‘ACTUAL’ E-MAIL MARKETING IS – AND IS NOT
Real, or actual, email marketing is email marketing that is linked to your business objectives – creating ’email with purpose’. Yes, it allows you to stay actively engaged with your customers, but it should always relate back to what the business as a whole is trying to achieve.

Email with purpose is a client engagement project, not an IT project. It’s about engaging with buyers and referrers, rather than just creating large databases of unqualified prospects. As we mentioned in our article in the February 2013 issue of NZRetail, it’s not numbers for the sake of numbers that you want, but quality leads that are interested in your products or services.

It doesn’t much matter what software system you use, so there’s no need to get caught up in the confusion over the latest marketing channel fad. What matters is that your emails look professional, build brand value and make the most of the opportunity to engage with customers and create value for your business.

As you can see, it’s not a function that should be relegated to a marketing junior or the IT department. Fully managed email marketing by experts in the space brings insight, purpose and results to both your marketing efforts and your business.

SO, WHY E-MAIL?
If you’re still not convinced and want to get beyond the theory, here are some examples of real-life retailers doing fabulous things with email.

The first is a clothing retailer who was looking to drive traffic in-store for a special three-day clearance sale. An email was designed and built for three different offers within the sale, which achieved record sales over that period of time. The return on investment was more than 20 times the expenditure, i.e. for every $500 this retailer spent on email marketing, they received over $10,000 in sales.

The second is a national coffee franchise that wanted to build a VIP database. They offered a cool prize – an Apple iPad – and asked people to sign up online. Due to the value of the prize, and the desire to build a list of valid buyers, consumers were asked for a lot more information in the sign-up process than usual.

For example: date of birth, mailing address and favourite store – the last of which allowed the retailer to do future store-based marketing. Once signed up, they were entered into the competition and sent a VIP card in the mail for use in their favourite store. The result – using the combination of SMS, email and direct mail – led to a very personal and targeted marketing strategy. Growing the VIP database from zero to 3128 in only two months again illustrated how email forms a vital part of a retailer’s overall strategy.

“Email is powerful – especially for retailers – with the potential to provide huge returns. It’s plain to see ‘why email?”

The third example is that of a luxury car dealership which wanted to gauge interest in a new model and encourage the purchasing of the vehicle at a launch event. It’s not often the sort of item that people make an impulse buying decision about, so they knew some warm-up activity was needed.

An email was sent to the entire database, asking those who were interested to click a link. Those responding then received a thank-you email and follow-up emails as more information and videos became available. In this way, the database was narrowed down to those who really wanted to attend the launch night.

An invite was then sent by mail, with a reminder email the day before and another on the day – so they had exact numbers for catering and logistics. The outcome was six cars sold on the night and another three the following week, with a total value across the vehicles of approximately $1.4 million. With the cost of the campaign sitting at $1500, the total return was 900 times what they invested. Additionally, continued email marketing has meant consistent vehicle sales over many more years.

Email is powerful, especially for retailers – with the potential to provide huge returns. It’s plain to see ‘why email?’

As featured in the April 2013 NZRetail Magazine

April clipping - Why email - NZ Retail magazine article by Glenn Edley