Email marketing’s relevance in age of social?

4 min read
Nidhi Hola

Article first appeared in Businessworld on 5 September, 2017

Among the several channels that marketers have used to take their brands to the customer, email marketing is perhaps one of the oldest in the digital world. Email marketing, when used in effective conjunction with other channels such as social media marketing, can drive customer engagement, thereby affording more opportunity to increase conversion rates. Regardless, in this fast-moving digital world, the focus should be on the customer and her journey, instead of choosing email or social.

The channels of communication are merely means to an end, and not the end itself.

This shift in thinking is critical to driving growth for your business.

In using digital channels to further your marketing efforts, it is first imperative to define the goal as that will ascertain the appropriate channels. It would be important to answer these questions prior to proceeding. For example, does your business model require a large base of small-ticket orders, or a small base of high-value customers? Is customer LTV your key target metric, or is the order value — irrespective of new or existing customer, more important? Depending on the goal you wish to pursue, either a broad-reach or a targeted outreach approach needs to be adopted.

Let us look at these two approaches, and where email marketing fits in.


As a business, you have spent significant resources — time, effort and money — in building a mailing list of prospective customers, which adds onto your existing customer list. You have a broad understanding of their interests and preferences.

It is now important to segment your audience list in line with the clearly defined goal— specifically, the action you want them to take pursuant to your email campaign.

Is it to increase the awareness of your brand, or for a specific product? Is it to get information on the latest trends, or their account activity? Or is it to renew, activate or enhance usage of your product?

While building out email marketing campaigns, it is important at the outset to pen down the follow-up strategy. It is useful to track metrics such as opens, click-throughs, and follow-up action for these sub-sets within the respondents. Other metrics of relevance are email deletes and time spent on emails. These will help improve your message quality, and also help choose a more effective time of day/day of the week.

Your email content should be relevant and aligned with what your customers want, to ensure that they stay subscribed, and to give you valuable feedback to refine your marketing efforts based on what works or doesn't.

Targeted outreach

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hot topic currently, particularly in the B2B domain, as they prioritize the acquisition and continuous engagement of high-value customers through personalized and relevant communication— email is an important channel here.

ABM strategies are deployed to both accelerate the sales pipeline, and once converted, to engage the existing customers to fuel growth. With ABM, your objective is typically to build authority of your brand, grow the number of leads, drive revenue and grow value. This approach is quite the opposite of traditional lead generation model; here, you flip the funnel and focus on customer experience. Through effective email campaigns, you give yourself a good shot at meeting these objectives.

Overall, whether you use account-based marketing or traditional email marketing totally depends on your business goal.

The discussion today needs to move from comparing email marketing with social media marketing to driving customer experience through the customer journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house (Businessworld). Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.