The death knell for email has been predicted for a while. With social app after app after app promising to make communication faster than it already is, it’s become a common theory that if the last nail in email’s coffin hasn’t been hammered yet, email is at least languishing in the hospice with little hope of recovery.
Of course, not everyone agrees. If you look closer and don’t get seduced by all the other apps available, you might actually notice that Email has evolved, from the original go-slow killer to a data-driven, customer-centric fox of a form. In fact, some say email is actually the leader of the pack.
Thanks to the expansion of user-generated content, segmentation and automation, brands are turning to email as a way of merging the best of today’s real-time data boom with the holy grail of personalization.
The idea that Email, as a means of communication, would be obsolete within a matter of years has been bounced around for some time by tech-heads and communicators worldwide.
John Brandon, contributing editor at Inc.com strongly suggested the huge threat of social media to email when he wrote in April earlier this year, “I’m predicting that a new communication channel will replace email by 2020. In fact, there are already signs that business is starting to move away from email as a primary form of digital communication. We have so many alternatives. You can send a text message or a DM on Twitter. You can drop someone a note on Facebook or start a chat.”
At Digital Fuel, while we agree with Mr. Brandon’s assessment on the growing number of new communication channels we have at our fingertips today, we still hail Email Marketing as a very under utilised tool in the digital marketer’s kit of tricks that very efficiently builds long-term brand trust and engagement.
Let’s look at some numbers:
- As of August 2015, there are over 4.1 billion email accounts, and this number is predicted to reach 5.2 billion by 2018, which is a growth of more than 26% (Radicati Group)
- 72% of US online adults send or receive personal emails via smartphone at least weekly. (Forrester 2014)
- 72% of consumers say that email is their favored conduit of communication with companies they do business with. (MarketingSherpa 2015)
- One in five consumers say they read every email newsletter they receive just to see if something’s on offer, and in 2014 consumers deleted less promo emails without looking, down 25.4% relative to 2010. (Forrester Research 2014)
- By the year 2017, 1.779 Million people will access email via their mobile device. (Radicati Group)
- 30% of consumers now read their email exclusively on mobile devices. (Yesmail 2013)
Read on to learn several ways email-marketing experts say the industry is embracing the very trends that were expected to make it obsolete:
Making customers part of the content, in real time Marketers no longer have to shoulder the entire weight of creating all the digital content consumed by their audience. Actually, it’s sometimes better to incorporate user-generated content, as consumers often trust it more than if it comes directly from a brand. Good images and videos submitted via social channels or promotions can often be repurposed for an email newsletter – with the creator’s OK to do so, of course.
But the new range of email content opportunities extend well beyond simply cross-posting images from other networks. Integrating email with a real-time marketing plan can be highly effective, particularly when dealing with event marketing.
For example, say your local wine bar is hosting a wine tasting. They snap a picture of a couple enjoying themselves at the event and post it to Instagram. Next, they take the beautifully filtered Instagram picture and also send it via email to those who had RSVP’d for the event but have not yet arrived.
This now generates two audiences (Instagram and Email) who realize that they are missing out on a fun time, and it should lead to getting a few more attendees at the wine tasting as a result.
Talking to the individual, not the crowd While a lot of marketers emphasize the benefit of user engagement on ostensibly social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, most brand activity in social still tend to be more like broadcast ads aimed at the masses.
Email can provide more keys to personalized marketing, especially since an email address can be linked to a myriad of other data, like shopping preferences and behavior.
Email has the capacity to enable one-to-one custom relations and dialogue. The challenge with social media is that brands still use it as a bullhorn to their customers rather than as a personal conversation.
The shrewd email marketer is even going beyond personalizing targeted messages based on past activity, and are starting to shape messages based on what you’ll likely do in the future, known as predictive analytics.
With the wealth of data available today, it’s not just what has happened in the past, it’s about having a really firm grasp on each individual user that becomes important, and knowing what they are likely to do next week, in six months time, or even a year from now.
Measuring and adapting every day
There’s no doubt that big data drives much of the target segmentation behind today’s email strategies, but a giant database isn’t necessarily a ticket to mammoth results.
Today’s email marketing industry is dedicated to learning something from each email blast, each call to action and each lost subscriber. It’s still about trial and error, about a Marketer experimenting not just with messaging and structure, but also with new creative options like animation and video.
Email no longer has to be thought of as a restrictive medium creatively, as a lot of the obstacles to making them more interactive and visually appealing for the recipient have been removed.
The most successful email teams also don’t work in a vacuum. Instead, they make it a habit to work collaboratively with other key marketing teams overseeing the social, advertising or direct pieces of a campaign. The lessons learned from one often translate easily to another.
Thankfully, today’s marketers largely don’t look at one digital channel as a silo. Instead, they look at what’s happening and what’s working across these different channels, and understand how to adapt them to fit another component that makes up the digital marketing effort.
Where does Email Marketing sit?
- 55% of companies generate more than 10 percent of sales from email. (Econsultancy 2014)
- Email is almost 40-times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. (McKinsey and Company 2014)
- 88% of marketers say email marketing is bringing them a positive ROI. (ExactTarget 2014)
At Digital Fuel, we are definitely in the camp of those who consider Email very much alive and not just kicking, but kicking winning goals.
Email marketing is about building deep-rooted trust and engagement with your brand. We understand that every email should be part of an integrated approach within your social media strategy to improve engagement, brand loyalty, conversions, and drive revenue.
Not sure where to start?
The Digital Fuel creative and design team can help to develop your email communications to ensure that they are consistent with your brand, of interest to your audience, and in sync with your business delivery KPIs.
The Digital Fuel Email Platform is designed for the multi-screen world of digital marketing and ensures that your email renders according to the customer’s device, be that desktop, mobile or tablet. With our fully responsive email design and in-platform email templates, your message will be optimized for all mobile and tablet screen sizes while providing an all-important boost to your open and conversion metrics.
We also offer the following Email Services:
- eDM campaign strategy
- Template development
- Content coordination
- Campaign production
- Set-up of triggered messages
- Data management & sourcing
- Split testing and reporting
- Lead generation
- Dedicated account management
When reaching new audiences in today’s climate of strict data protection and spam regulations, it is vital to ensure that you are not only finding your target audience, but that they want to receive your communication. Digital Fuel partner with some of the global leaders in data collection to ensure that all campaigns are effective in what they are trying to achieve but also compliant with the regulations of that territory.
So, if your email efforts are falling flat and not generating the results that you’d like, please click here to get in touch. Let us help. We’re ready and waiting to improve your email performance and build more profitable relationship with your consumers.