Targeted marketing is a significant factor in achieving business success. It’s about exposing your target customers to key communications about your products and services. Essentially, it’s maximizing the number of people that see your messaging, specifically ‘the right kind of people.’ Marketing professionals everywhere recognize that getting front and center of their target audience is only half the battle.
Marketers also understand that the top form of business communication is email. This dominance has endured for decades and shows no sign of losing its preeminence. In fact, market research studies state that around 350 billion emails are sent daily; each is a potential vehicle for relaying targeted marketing content.
Email versus ad-based marketing
However, email is not the only targeted marketing channel to use to increase your exposure. Using targeted digital advertising is an equally effective way of reaching recipients that taps into live, intent-based behavioral customer data. Digital advertising campaigns can harness the power of global platforms and compelling, demand-driven budgeting models that put dollar values on individual views/impressions and clicks.
The currency of these campaigns is often expressed in cost per mille/thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per click (CPC). Both enable marketers to make like-for-like decisions on budgets and campaigns and evaluate results and return on investment (ROI). Email marketing cost models are broadly similar, allowing for the usage of third-party opt-in lists (solus emails) on a per-recipient or per-message basis.
How trust influences marketing value and cost
Trust is the challenge that all forms of digital marketing (email marketing, PPC, content marketing, etc.) face. Trust is what makes communications stick. This is reflected in how highly-trusted targeted marketing activities are budgeted.
High-trust targeted advertising properties cost more to place in. High-trust search terms attract the most significant bids. Endorsements from trusted influencers cost more and are more resource-intensive to cultivate. High-value email recipients – those that actively give their trust and consent to be opted-in or otherwise safe to send to – are worth far more.
This is also represented in the economics of email marketing and digital advertising. Email marketing, even in a GDPR-compliant world, must contend with spam filters and the overall fatigue potential customers now feel from being constantly inundated by sales and marketing messages. But sending thousands, if not millions, of mass-market emails comes at an incredibly low cost.
PPC (Pay Per Click) is far more surgical as a targeted marketing channel. However, it is far more costly and still is known for driving traffic, market segments, and inquiries that are never 100 percent relevant. A frequently cited statistic for email marketing is that it offers returns of up to 44 times the investment. This is when compared to perhaps only twice the investment in digital advertising. The reality is that ROI will differ significantly according to various factors, including trust.
Looking at email as a trusted communications vector
Email is universal, democratic, simple, flexible, and robust. It supports both one-to-one and one-to-many communications effortlessly. It also represents individual identities in profound ways. For example, being the conduit for trusted access to digital services and subscriptions.
Think of a service you consume or any digital access you have; it will always be connected to an email address. The other aspect of this is email’s place as a unique identifier. All email addresses are different, and virtually nobody – at least from a business perspective –shares the same email address with anyone else.
This sense that everyone can be reached makes the specter of email spam and malicious forms of email-borne cyberattacks all the more troubling for people to accept. However, this cheapening of some emails paradoxically makes others more valuable. Physical junk mail through the letterbox arguably makes the birthday card you receive more cherished.
So email from a trusted source that you are freely corresponding with receives undivided attention. And when an email is known to be trusted, it offers the perfect opportunity to use precise audience targeting to land tailored and targeted marketing messages.
Trusted versus untrusted engagement
The average open rate for email marketing campaigns is around 21 percent. Assuming that well-curated, fully opted-in recipient lists sustain these rates, four out of five emails are never opened by seemingly relevant and interested recipients. Click rates are even lower at around 2.5 percent. No one can tell just how many emails are being read other than it must be somewhere (probably toward the lower end) between these two figures.
Our research found there were no statistics available for reviewing the actual open rates of emails received in the course of business correspondence. But unless the figure was at or close to 100 percent, surely it cannot not be classed as correspondence. One has to confront the reality that when people exchange emails with one another in the course of business, these emails are invariably opened and very probably read in their entirety.
Other forms of digital media continue to suffer from trust issues, particularly social media which experts agree is in decline. Advertisers are increasingly wary of placing their brand and messaging into free-for-all environments continuously subverted by disinformation, hate speech, and personal attacks.
How trust and familiarity influence existing customers
Maintaining your existing customer base is a business investment worth making and protecting. The cost of acquiring new customers can be high, and the ever-present risk of customer churn undermines the ability to retain and grow profits. But existing customers can also become another source of revenue for your business.
The success rate of using targeted marketing to sell to a customer you already have is 60-70 percent. This is when compared to just 5-20 percent with new customers. Being good at not only retaining customers but also upselling to them offers a significant opportunity for marketing decision-makers to make a massive difference to their organizations.
The leverage organizations have over existing customers boils down to trust, familiarity, and convenience. If buying from you worked out well the first time, it will feel safe to do it again. This can be habit forming, though the best organizations never become complacent enough that repeat buying behavior can be counted on.
In some cases, repeat customers have been found to spend 300 percent more than new ones. Targeted marketing activities are essential to supporting these objectives and achieving increased wallet share from the captive audience of existing customers.
Email signatures – highly targeted marketing on maneuvers
Amid these considerations of trust and engagement is a unique place for the humble email signature. What makes it such an interesting targeted marketing tool is that it can be “silently” attached onto a trusted business exchange discreetly.
When used correctly, an email signature can easily communicate calls-to-action that make perfect sense in one-to-one email correspondence. They can then promote opportunities without making them feel like a hard sell.
Think about all the standard corporate emails that are sent from your company. The recipient will often trust the sender. They either already have a business relationship, or they’re in the process of building one. Trust is difficult to come by over email, particularly given phishing scams and the high level of spam out there.
But if you trust the person you’re communicating with, you will be more receptive to what they have to say. You then take that simple contact block you’ve appended to your message and take it to the next level with targeted marketing elements. These include your branding, display banners promoting your latest offerings, adding links to your social media and award recognitions, and so on. You then clearly, yet discreetly, promote your latest marketing efforts in a way that is seen by a recipient but not presented in an intrusive manner.
However, without centralized control, there’s little room for targeted marketing strategy and planning. This is where Exclaimer comes into play. Exclaimer ensures that all email signatures have consistent branding, and it also lets you create templates that continually drive engagement for the customers you serve and the team members they interact with. With Exclaimer, you always deliver the right message at the right time and then use comprehensive analytics dashboards to measure the results.
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