The Relative Value of Email Marketing to Other Investments

We met a friend the other day who does a lot of SEO and technical marketing. His specialty is generating traffic to websites, but when the topic of email marketing came up, he was almost immediately disinterested.

His perspective, he explained, was that, while email marketing was a good thing to do, he couldn’t in good conscious recommend it to his clients because SEO and other technical changes were a better investment. We promptly got into a bit of an argument, because if you read this blog much at all, you know we think email marketing is easily one of the best investments you can make.

Immediate Value vs. Long Term Value

The problem we see people have with email marketing is that, even in an ideal scenario it takes time. You won’t see results overnight because even if you sign up 1,000 people to your list tomorrow, it will take a few weeks to drip feed them the emails you’ve prepared and build the trust you will one day leverage into conversions.

It’s a slow play.

But it’s also one of the highest percentage moves you can make in terms of creating a recurring, passive income stream, and while we don’t like comparing SEO to email marketing (two very different goals), let’s take a look at how it pans out.

SEO vs. Email Marketing

Search engine optimization is designed to do two things – increase trust from your prospects and improve your position in the search engines so more people can visit your site. So, ideally, a good email list will help with both.

The problem is that most SEO’s and the people they provide services to don’t see it like that. They see the ultimate goal as traffic. More traffic and higher SERPs mean you’re doing something right.

But, tell us this. Would you rather have 30 top ten SERPs, 50,000 hits a month and no conversions, or 5 top ten SERPs, 5,000 hits a month and a conversion rate of 8%?

You could have 20 visitors a month and if you convert more sales, it’s a better site. Email marketing is not about getting traffic but retaining it once you’ve gotten it. The return on investment is subsequently massive. The one time investment to create an opt-in and the one time investment to create a series of emails is a pittance compared to the fact that any one prospect could be on your list for months, buying multiple products or services and building your brand.

Smart Investment Thinks Long Term

SEO is a necessary investment for any website. You can’t ignore the value of a good content marketing and inbound link creation campaign. However, if you go to all the trouble of generating that traffic and driving it to your site, do yourself a favor and do something with it. Keep it active and increase the chances that any one lead could convert in weeks, months or even years. That’s what email marketing does for you.