Kevin Gao, CEO of Comm100 Network Corporation, is highly optimistic of the potential of email marketing. Quoting stats from Radicati group, he claims "email accounts is expected to increase to nearly 4.1 billion by year-end 2015".
In an exclusive interview with this reporter, Gao reveals some of the compelling reasons for popularity of email campaigns.
Why do you think email is the best marketing strategy? Or, do you think, it is?
I’m not going to nominate any single marketing method as the ‘best’ one since there will always be a different recipe for different businesses. However, I do believe that Email Marketing is one of the most efficient ways for businesses in today’s market. For years, email has been the major as well as most essential portal for communication, both personal and business. Stats from Radicati Group show that the number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from an installed base of 3.1 billion in 2011 to nearly 4.1 billion by year-end 2015. This represents an average annual growth rate of 7% over the next three years. Even with the new-arisen social media networks at hands, most people still check their inboxes 5 ~ 10 times everyday. So why not email? By a gentle click on the ‘send’ button you are greeting hundreds to thousands of your customers.
Isn’t it strange that most people think business and advertisement related emails as nuisance, yet, email marketing remains most popular? Your comments?
Email marketing should be popular. In my opinion, there’re quite a few compelling reasons for that:
• First of all, email marketing is cost effective. As mentioned above, email is so widely accepted by people and more importantly, the cost of sending an email is much lower than most traditional marketing methods such as TV and PPC advertisements. That’s probably why some marketers began to abuse the power of email marketing in recent years, but this is not going to change the fact that being affordable is one of the top benefits of email marketing, especially for small-to-medium businesses.
• Secondly, email is non-intrusive. With the development of our business world, customers today are actually flooded with promotional offer under the sun. However, most people obviously don’t like those advertisements that just fall on their faces and have become quite defensive, which makes marketing a lot harder these days. Under such a circumstance, ‘non-intrusive marketing’ methods started to get popular, among which email marketing is a very typical one. Compared with broadcasting or SMS advertisements, email is less disturbing to people’s daily life. As long as the business has a good relationship with their recipients and gets the right content and reasonable interval between each send, their marketing emails will likely be accepted by the recipients, which makes email marketing a great tool for building brand recognition and maintaining customer relationship in the long term.
• Thirdly, email is ideal for rich content. Email marketing enjoys a combination of text and graphics to present one’s marketing message, and moreover, businesses can always design a landing page for a certain link in their email to further engage the recipients.
• Fourthly, email is a perfect platform for re-marketing. With Comm100 Email Marketing software, clients will be able to track the open-rates, click-through rates and other stats for their email campaigns. Moreover, they can easily integrate those figures with their site interaction data. This is going to provide a clear ‘picture’ of each customer, which will then enable them to better segment their lists and send more personalized and targeted emails to follow up.
Is email campaign effective in all business communication (off line and online) or are there some businesses where email technique is less likely to be fairly successful?
Any marketing campaign has its limitation on the range of audiences, email marketing as well. Generally speaking, email marketing is more suitable for long-term relationship building than real-time communication. It works with any business who would like to build up a brand in the market and maintain good relationships with their customers. We have been serving for more than 55,000 clients from multiple niches including technology, education, ecommerce, etc. Results vary from client to client, but we haven’t yet spotted any specific type of businesses that didn’t enjoy a positive result.
Customers today are expecting to receive more specific emails than before. In order to help our clients to better target their customers, we released our ‘behavior-based trigger email campaign’ and ‘automated trigger email campaign’ earlier this year, which provide even more customization for different businesses.
There must be many among hundreds and thousands of email recipients that are not active. How do you ensure that most of the hundreds and thousands of emails you send to the prospects are being at least seen and read?
For online marketing, data tracking and collecting is an indispensable part and to some extend, the only way to evaluate how exactly a marketing task is running. There’re two important indicators in Email Marketing as ‘open-rate’ and ‘click-through rate’, which are used by businesses to analyze how many recipients are actually opening and reading their emails. Comm100 provides reliable tracking tools and robust reports to our clients for those two indicators and many more in order to help them gain and record related data, and avoid future sends to inactive prospects.
On the other hand, status of a recipient is not totally unchangeable. As long as an email lands on a solid email address, there will always be chances that the recipient finds it and opens it to read. Content is the King here. With the right content, an inactive recipient can also be converted to a loyal reader, and that’s why we set up personal coaching and support for every client. When using our service, clients will receive practical advices on how to design an email template that stands out in their recipients’ inboxes. This may includes quite a few elements. For example, a good subject line could improve open rate from, say, 4% to more than 30%.
What kind of guarantees, if any, do you give to your clients?
We, Comm100 Email marketing team are always dedicated in helping our customers to improve their business performance by offering our best service and support. For our email marketing services, we guarantee all our clients an average delivery rate of 90% or above, and an even higher one of 99.6% for VIP clients, which may bring 15% extra sales per month as reported by one of our clients GDLsystems.com.
Do you have refund policy in place in case customers are not satisfied with your services?
Comm100 provides a 15-day free trial for all of our products with no credit card required. Clients are welcomed to check our products and services out at any time. After the free trial period, clients still have 30 days to submit a refund request if they found our products or services not satisfying. We will then follow case by case to ensure that we stick to our original commitment to the clients.
Do you help clients build the list? In what ways?
Most of our clients came to us with their own lists. However, even if they don’t have anything in hands, they can still start by using our tool to add a fully-customizable ‘sign-up box’ or ‘subscription form’ to their sites, which will then help them collect email addresses from their site visitors. Besides, we also provide tools to help clients import, prune and manage their existing lists in order to keep a healthy list for the long term.
Do you advise clients on improving campaign, if success doesn’t appear with their ongoing campaign?
Definitely yes. We’re here to help our clients grow and develop. Personal coaching and services are available to all clients. Besides, we also provide open Email Marketing Resources, including a start-up level Email Marketing Tutorial, a more comprehensive Email Marketing White Paper and an Email Marketing eBook on our site to guide all email marketers who are striving for a successful email campaign
A good email marketing campaign is never a one-time done thing, one has to keep testing and improving. We always suggest our clients to do careful list segmentation and only send relevant information to a certain group of recipients. Meanwhile, we also offer professional review of our clients’ emails to help them create better campaigns.
Finally, what future do you see for email marketing five or ten years down the line?
Personally, I think email as a marketing tool is not going to slow down in the near future. There has been studies showing that email is still the top-popular text based communication tool for 2012 and will continue to be for several years, and that will simply keep email marketing a highly profitable activity for businesses.
Though Email Marketing will surely stay with us, the platforms and devices people use to check emails have begun to change. With the break out of smart phones and tablets, mobile email marketing can be the next trend. Stats from June this year say that 36% of emails are now opened on a mobile device, with 33% for desktop and 31% for webmail, which has put a mobile-friendly email campaign on many email marketers’ agenda. On the other hand, the popularity of those mobile devices is also pushing the email marketing industry forward. People are now ‘carrying’ their inboxes everywhere, helping businesses’ marketing emails to be around all the time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com