Marketing approaches evolve with the times. Once upon a time, it was simply a matter of advertising what you had on offer. More recently, social media has taken on added importance. It is all about finding communities and attempting to develop campaigns which go viral, taking on a life of their own, garnering a greater response than had ever been imagined.
The problem is that social media is a tricky beast. For every viral marketing success story, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of relative failures. The message may not have spread as expected or it may have spread but had minimal impact. There are many variables and plenty of places to trip up.
Many companies don’t really have the budget or inclination to risk such a campaign. They want an approach which guarantees far more of a return on their investment. This is why email marketing is still incredibly popular.
Direct mail has long been regarded as a decent marketing approach for the right kind of business, but email marketing can be more effective still. The costs are significantly reduced but campaigns can be much more carefully targeted and honed.
The internet allows for very accurate databases to be kept and managed. This means that you can target a direct email to a very specific audience and ensure a more enthusiastic response. You can even send what is essentially the same message in different ways according to the audience.
By better targeting your emails, you ensure people continue to read them because if people only receive what is relevant to them, they won’t delete messages as a matter of course. This is hugely advantageous because you can’t achieve much if you’re forever eroding your own audience. Direct email allows you to keep people onside. By only offering them things they might actually be interested in and by doing it in an appropriate way, you retain a long-term audience while profiting in the short-term.
Direct email is also very personal. You aren’t addressing a household – you are addressing an individual with a very specific set of interests, needs and desires. This means you can focus your writing, tailoring it for that particular person (or to that demographic, at least). By using a different tone for different recipients and appealing to different things in them, you ensure a far better response than were you to adopt a more generic approach. Direct email works if you provide people with something of value.
[author ]Ian Firswood relies on Exact Target to support his marketing efforts.[/author]