This is not going to come as a shocker to most of you: The PR industry is changing.
And I don’t mean changing as in “going digital.” I mean revolutionary, blurring-the-lines, redefining the industry change.
As recently as 10 years ago, PR and marketing were two separate-but-equal efforts that competed for dollars and maintained an uneasy truce at the client’s table, but generally had minimal overlap.
Today, however, PR agencies are learning that clients want to put their trust in a team who can look at their brand and recommend – and implement – best practice-based solutions that go well beyond media relations.
And tomorrow? Odds are good that top PR professionals will be as adept in content marketing and CRM strategy as they are in pitching editors and writing in AP style.
With that horizon in sight, more and more PR practitioners are looking for ways to meld modern marketing tactics into their plans. And many are discovering that email marketing is one of the best crossover tools in their evolving arsenal.
Why? I could give you a hundred good arguments for email marketing (although I might be biased). But here are three of the best reasons why agencies should get on board – and fast.
1. It’s insanely effective.
As marketers, we know PR agencies are constantly being charged to find new ways to quantify the fruit of their labor. So, here’s a stat you can share with your clients: Automated emails get 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails. They speak directly to customers at just the right time. It’s a high reach tactic that provides opportunities to take quick action.
PR pros are also frequently tasked with creating sales. Unfortunately, PR alone isn’t often directly responsible for bringing dollars in the door. But by integrating email marketing automation into campaigns, you actually can increase revenue. B2C marketers who send automated emails see conversion rates as high as 50 percent.
Email marketing is also effective because it helps you get more mileage from your existing content: Sending automated emails helps marketers repurpose 61% more content than marketers who don't use automation. These efficiencies pay off when it comes to showing the return on investment of your work.
2: It delivers quick feedback on your campaign’s effectiveness.
In marketing and PR alike, research-based campaigns are the gold standard. Email marketing allows agencies to build segments, and then automate communications based on subscriber data like demographics, spending history, tenure — any data point you store. (Imagine how you could put that to use in your next grassroots or community engagement campaign!)
Unfortunately, most data-driven programs take time to develop and implement. Traditional PR could best be described as a slow burn. To be most effective, you have to cultivate relationships with media, learn about a reporter’s area of interest, seed stories through targeted outlets and wait for coverage to turn. Then, you have to wait to see if the coverage drives sales (easier for some types of media than others) and hope those sales can be attributed back to that awesome press release you wrote.
Email marketing, however, allows you to put your message to the immediate test. If your headline isn’t compelling, your open rate will reflect it – in a matter of hours or at most, days.
3. It can help drive video views or social campaigns
Video is a must-have for marketers for many reasons. First, it boosts awareness: Videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%. It also is a powerful conversion tool. Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.
Email marketing is a great way to get attention for your client’s videos. A report from Outbrain revealed headlines that promised video content had click-through rates 27 percent higher than average. So, when you add product videos, testimonials, tutorials or behind-the-scenes vignettes to your emails, make sure to promote the video content in the subject line, and you’ll boost conversions – and get more attention for your video content, too. It’s a win-win!
Christopher Lester is the vice president of sales at Emma, where he leads the team of experts who provide strategic and tactical services to all Emma clients, as well as specialized support to large senders and significant brands. Follow Emma: @emmaemail