I have a few questions for you.
If it is so old school why is email still the most effective way for you to reach your customers today? Why are people writing a thousand articles a week about foursquare when it can hardly be shown to work in more than a handful of cities? I am waiting for a reason. The answer is simple; Email works, but it is not sexy. The thing is that the choice may be: you can be sexy and poor or effective and rich. Your call.
Email works because it is a direct line of communication between you (and almost exclusively) a proven or interested customer. Email is opt in, meaning they choose to get the messages. So what is it that you should be doing with email marketing?
Three Shifts to Start Today:
1) Build Your List Organically. Do not buy a list, rent a list, steal a list, or borrow a list. If you are not building this from individuals who are sharing their email intentionally, you are running the risk of being labeled a spammer, you are definitely alienating potential customers, and you will see dramatically lower returns on your effort. People often think that it can’t hurt to just send the emails to as many addresses as you can get your hands on. Wrong, the lasting negative feeling toward your business is very costly.
That being said, every day you should ask customers to join your list during the course of business, you should encourage your current list members to forward to friends, and you should make it easy to sign up on your site and marketing materials. QR code anyone?
2) Be Mobile Accessible. Many of your emails will be opened on mobile and discarded, forgotten, or not read because they are difficult to read on a mobile device. Avoid large images or graphs, flash, and be to the point. Open your next email on your smartphone to see how it is delivered there.
3) Segment your list. Then speak to specific interest groups within it, to achieve higher effectiveness. What people do on your site, and the links they click in emails, can help you do this. For more on segmentation see my post “Why My Emails Get Opened More Than Yours.”
Far from dead, email marketing can be the most effective thing you do, and it is a vehicle to deliver the content you create for your business to some of your biggest fans. Do it right and reap the rewards.