Despite the glut of new ways to connect with people anytime and anywhere online, email is still one of the most effective business tools available. With millions of emails sent and received every day, it’s a channel that cannot be ignored.

Content can be sent in a wide range of formats and most people are familiar with email, so it makes sense to use this method of communication as effectively as possible. However, many of today’s businesses take email marketing for granted or they overlook it entirely. And in many cases, they are not using email in the most effective and efficient ways possible to reach customers. So, we put together a short list of ideas, or maybe reminders, on how you can use email more effectively to give your customers a reason to care, a reason to engage, a reason to buy, and most importantly, a reason to stay with your business.

1. Finding Customers

Sometimes we forget that email is essentially ubiquitous these days. Most everyone will have at least one email account. Email search services are a great tool when you’re looking to proactively identify target customers. If you have an ideal target in mind, this type of service allows you to skip the guessing game and search for and reveal peoples’ email addresses. This way, you can avoid the price tag of buying (frequently out of date and inaccurate) data or engage a costly email fulfillment company to deliver your campaigns, and you can build your own targeted list of potential leads.

2. Reaching Customers Where and When They Are

Email has really come into its own thanks to the introduction of a wide range of mobility technologies. Today, thanks to your mobile device, you’re almost always reachable. You can access your emails from anywhere without having to lug around your laptop or boot up your desktop PC. The fact that you can view and send emails on the move means you have much more flexibility to engage whenever and wherever you desire.

For marketers, engaging with customers on their terms means they are far more likely to engage with your brand and respond to opportunities and offers. According to Campaign Monitor, email opens on mobile devices grew 30% from 2010 to 2015.

Of course, you must design your email campaigns with the form factor in mind.You have to keep all screens in mind. If you’re still formulating your email marketing strategy for the desktop computer era, it’s a safe bet the audience you’re trying to reach will never open or read your emails. Fortunately, the code has been cracked on how to optimize emails to assure that you’re delivering email marketing campaigns that will be opened, clicked, and converted. Most marketing automation tools have realized the importance of this and allow you to preview your emails across a multitude of screens.

3. Driving Conversion

Marketing to people through email is still one of the most effective ways to engage across the Customer BuyWay and build trust with suspects, prospects, leads and existing customers. A targeted, well-designed and relevant email marketing campaign has been proven to convert a high number of prospects into customers and existing customers into advocates. According to a recent Jupiter Research Study, marketers who take the time to segment their lists, making them more relevant to the audience in the process, can improve conversion rates up to 355% and increase revenues by an amazing 781%!

An effective email marketing campaign doesn’t interrupt and try to grab attention – it provides value to the audience… it’s relevant. You can’t just blatantly focus on promoting your products and services. Respect the audience and reward them for their time and attention to your Brand Story. YYourgoal should be to retain subscribers to your email list and nurture them over time to take the actions you want them to take, such as buying or advocating for your products and services.

4. Retaining and Winning Back Customers

Converting a prospect to a customer is exciting – it’s one of the things that marketers and salespeople enjoy most about the profession. However, in most categories, the cost of acquiring that customer can be substantial. Actually, it’s likely much more expensive for you to acquire a new customer than it is to keep them. If you can’t successfully develop and retain that customer relationship, or if you lose that customer, your business may end up worse off than if you never acquired them to begin with. Therefore, retention and win-back of customers is so critical to maintaining momentum when you are growing your business.

The good news is that email marketing has proven to be highly effective in helping to retain and win-back customers. A recent study conducted by email deliverability experts, ReturnPath, analyzed 33 different win-back email campaigns by different ecommerce stores to see how effective they were at turning a non-active customer into an active customer. The results were impressive:

Ninety-two percent (92%) of the emails made it to the customer’s inbox – this means inactive users were receiving win-back emails.

Open rates were twelve percent (12%). This is a respectable number considering that many of these customers had not even interacted with the brand for an extended period. If you’d like to learn more details the essentials for successful win-back email campaigns, check out 25 of the best examples from world-class brands.

Email is one of the simplest and most effective business communication tools, but it’s not always used to its full potential by today’s businesses.

By following these best practices and focusing on being respectful to and relevant for your email subscribers, you’re on your way to email marketing success. Be sure to download our Marketing Automation Conditions for Success Diagnostic to help you facilitate the transformational changes you need for a successful Marketing Automation journey.