The Importance of Email Marketing for eCommerce Startups
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a shift in the marketing world. With increased uncertainty for Twitter’s future, and uneasiness about the rapid changes in social media algorithms, many marketers are beginning to embrace email marketing more than ever.
This is because a business' website and email marketing strategy are completely controlled by the business. There is no CEO of email, therefore it cannot be censored or canceled or deprecated. Marketers are beginning to put more focus on email marketing because it's something they can depend upon.
For many startup founders, email marketing may seem like something to kick-off down the line. It’s tempting to focus solely on social media because it provides instant engagement. Though, any marketer will tell you that you need more than one strategy for building brand recognition.
As we’ll see in the article below, email marketing is not a trend that will fade like last year’s Tik Tok dances. Email marketing has been around for 50 years. Startup founders should embrace this form of user engagement and add it to the marketing stack from day one.
To get some perspective, let’s look back into the digital marketing history book.
Email Marketing Through the Ages
The first emails were sent in the early 1970s. Surprisingly, the first email campaign was launched in 1978 and resulted in $13 million in sales. Groovy!
In the 1980s, we defined the words “email” and “spam” in the dictionary. Email was now beginning to take off with the launch of AOL in 1989.
In the 1990s, Web 1.0—also known as the "Static Web"—allowed users to find information on the internet and some of the first clickable ads were invented. But, if you wanted to flirt with someone online, you’d need to send an email. Want to go back in time?? Watch the 1998 classic, You’ve Got Mail.
In the early 2000s, the dot com era brought in Web 2.0—also known as the "Dynamic Web.”MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter became popular and allowed businesses to market their products and services using HTML. Email marketing also became more sophisticated in using HTML to create aesthetically pleasing emails direct to customers.
In the 2010s, we began to see the marketing world as we know it today take shape. YouTube and Instagram launched, and brands and celebrities began sharing their thoughts with the world. Email marketing could now reach an individual’s computer, cellphone, and tablet all at once!
Now, in the 2020s, we see individuals creating their own “personal brands” on sites like Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Twitter. Influencers are used in ad campaigns because posting a simple ad just doesn’t cut it anymore for businesses.
It’s a very complex and complicated world for digital marketers, with trends shifting faster than you can grasp them with any confidence. But one thing remains constant: the growth of email marketing.
As we head into the 2030s, Web 3.0 will make its debut. We’ve dabbled a bit in the Web 3.0 world with blockchain technologies, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and talk of “the Metaverse." But, in truth, Web 3.0 has not yet come to fruition.
How will email marketing transform?
One thing is certain: email marketing will have a place in this new Web 3.0 world, as it has been held as the most effective form of marketing throughout digital marketing history.
Email Marketing Benefits
In fact, in 2022, email marketing’s return on investment (ROI) is $36 for every $1 spent on advertising. It’s no wonder that brands globally are increasing their email budget this year.
So, how is email marketing different from most marketing tactics? Let’s look at the main benefits of sending out email marketing campaigns:
Nurture leads and build customer loyalty
Generate sales and build hype for upcoming launches
Build brand awareness and obtain prospects
Collecting feedback and testing different headlines
Generating traffic to a business’ website
No risk of your messages being censored
These benefits are especially valuable to startups launching new products and services.
Email Marketing for Startups
Email marketing is especially beneficial for startups. As we’ve mentioned above, email marketing is continuing to prove an effective marketing tactic. In order to really pull value from email marketing, you’ll need to begin building a list early in your startup journey.
Foundr, a company providing expert advice from successful ecommerce founders, grew their email list by 56,000 subscribers in just 30 days using run-of-the-mill email marketing tactics and pop-ups on their website. Of course, the traffic to their website and other marketing channels absolutely were influential in their email marketing success.
Though we can't guarantee you the same level of success as Foundr, you can build an email list through this simple, tried and true process:
Create a website.
Create click-worthy and valuable content that appeals to your target market.
Use social media, SEO, and ads to push targeted users to your website.
Gather email addresses when users visit your website (pop-ups), sign up for your service or purchase your product.
Begin pushing your valuable content via email to your email list.
Create lead magnets that gather new email subscribers. These could be quick cheat sheets, an eBook, access to an online course, product giveaway, an exclusive podcast, or some other freebie that brings value to users.
Create a drip campaign that sends automated emails every few days after a user subscribes or purchases your product/service. Note: You can even segment this based on the user’s actions (ex. The user didn’t open an email, so a follow up email is sent).
Continue to nurture your growing email list.
Startup founders may want to consider hiring a digital marketing agency to handle email marketing, creating valuable and click-worthy content, and working to nurture current and prospective users through various campaigns.
It is absolutely critical that you create your email list organically. Do not purchase email lists, as they can potentially harm your IP reputation among other scary consequences.
Trends come and go, as well as the platforms that instigate these trends. But one thing that will never go out of style is electronic mail.
In 2022, the world reached a population of 8 billion humans. 4 billion are daily email users, and 99% of users check their inbox every single day. Startups cannot afford to put off growing email lists.
As you begin your marketing plans for your startup, do your future self a favor and begin email marketing from the start. Elon Musk may take down Twitter, but he can’t take down good old-fashioned email (at least, I hope not).