By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users is set to hit just shy of 3 billion people, continuing to grow despite the enormous popularity of instant messaging, social networking and chat apps.
2.4 million emails are thought to be sent every second – approximately, an astonishing 205 billion messages every day.
How many precisely are from Nigerian princes who have left millions in their wills we’ll never know, but these stats and others like them present an inescapable truth for business owners, especially smaller companies and SMEs looking to grow.
Despite the ever-changing nature of the digital marketing landscape, email is still one of the most important growth tools in your arsenal to reach out to potential new clients and keep existing customers coming back for more.
Not just creating emails, but also using email data to target potential new B2B and B2C clients.
Email’s a crucial weapon for social targeting
Take LinkedIn for instance. It’s the latest social media platform which is allowing users to target potential B2B leads through email addresses.
The feature is called ‘Matched Audiences’, and is nothing new. Facebook and Twitter have long allowed for advertising based on email addresses, while Google AdWords introduced the practice back in 2015.
Despite that it’s still huge news, especially for small businesses wishing to attract a highly-targeted audience of B2B clients that they want to work with and generate more focused commercial leads.
Huge news because LinkedIn offers a potentially higher match rate than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to commercial social networking; one reason being that a lot of LinkedIn users have both their work and personal email addresses within the platform’s database, increasing your ads’ chances of being seen.
This is also why it’s essential to have a transparent and ethical data collection plan as part of your inbound marketing efforts; email addresses especially. The more relevant email addresses you can collect in line with your future goals then the more chance you have of putting yourself in front of new prospects in a creative, effective way.
What about businesses that don’t want B2B leads?
That’s fine – as we’ve mentioned, email social targeting is also a feature present on Facebook, Twitter and Google AdWords. With the addition of LinkedIn, that gives small business owners and SMEs more scope than ever before to target more relevant B2B and B2C leads.
Using email addresses as part of your custom audience on Facebook for instance can be a crucial way to cultivate a better relationship with existing customers and clients, and serve them with new products and offers in the right places at the right times.
Complemented with other pieces of data and mixing those addresses with people you’d like to target as part of your wider inbound efforts, you could achieve higher sales and returns if you market to both people who already shop with you and expose yourself to new customers in equal measure.
Combined with a strong search and content marketing strategy, your email strategy and the way you complement it with social marketing is a way of inbound marketing that can attract the most relevant leads almost instantly and long-term.
Almost instantly, if you have a budget…
If you do inbound marketing right, research your market and where it spends its time online, identify keyword trends and targeting, and complement it with creative content that makes your audience think, then you can build a strong long-term online presence in more affordable ways than traditional outbound methods.
Putting some budget to one side, though, gives you enormous potential to get in front of the right people on social media and search engines almost instantly. Budget is the key word though; the more budget you put into these platforms and their incredibly deep targeting options, the more likely you’ll be introduced to the people who matter most to you and your business.
Get the creative messaging and targeting right and it can give you an instant boost to your ROI and quicken other natural aspects of your campaign. Again though, research, planning and a strong strategy is essential to paid search and social success, as it will be for the rest of your inbound campaign.
Email needs to be about more than social targeting
Again, this is where collecting email data in ethical ways can be essential to business growth and hugely important in social targeting.
But while incredibly useful for social outreach, it’s important to remember the other – and arguably most important – benefits of collecting email addresses: to reach out to people on a regular basis, nurture leads and build strong lasting relationships with people who are most likely to tell their friends and family you exist.
Though email marketing is still one of the best channels to experience hugely positive returns, the medium is still being under invested despite driving an estimated £29 billion in UK online retail sales last year.
Why? Despite email segmentation delivering impressive results, a lot of small business owners have their heads turned by social media and tend to put all their eggs in one basket. Research by Constant Contact (within the US) suggests that 49% of small businesses simply don’t know how to use their marketing data to their advantage.
Could that trend be reflected over here? Possibly; we also think it could be easier for small business owners concentrating on running their company to log into Facebook and post a quick status update instead of building a creative email and sending it to a constantly curated and segmented audience.
Easier perhaps, but nowhere near as effective. Partnering with an agency experienced in email marketing, social targeting and even marketing automation can refine the inbound email process, reach out to customers, nurture leads and potentially improve your ROI as your organic campaign takes hold, giving you time to concentrate on running and growing the most important parts of your business.
If you’d like to know more about creative email marketing and how it can help you build relevant audiences for social targeting speak to a Webpresence representative today to find out more.