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Emails have a poor reputation. We receive more than we can read, and they’re typically a working tool that we can’t escape from using every day. Is email marketing dead?
The idea that emails are obsolete has spread over the Internet in recent years. This idea might be partly explained by the fact that email is one of the oldest digital marketing channels known to humanity, used even before we coined the term “digital marketing.”
As email marketing senders, we all have to thank Gary Thuerk, a pioneer marketing manager known as the “Father of Spam,” for back in 1978 having the idea of sending a promotional email to a database of 400 users.
The appearance of new ways to interact, such as social media, chatbots, and communicational WhatsApp, has reinforced the view of email marketing decadence. In Europe, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR – have fun reading it) also helped spread email marketing’s death.
But, is email marketing truly gone? According to Hubspot, most people still check their emails every day, and there are over 5.6 billion active email accounts in the world. Additionally, 35% of marketers said that they still send 3 to 5 marketing emails every week (read more about it here).
Data such as this suggests that email marketing is far from fading. Instead, it is changing into something more complex. In the following topics, we discuss practices that must be taken into account by modern email senders.
Aim for better segmentation
Nowadays, we hardly believe that the same email that Thuerk sent to an undifferentiated audience would produce the same results ($13 million worth of sales on DEC machines).
With email becoming more popular and broadly used, receivers started getting pickier regarding which emails to open, which ones to read, and in which ones to click. Knowing and managing the user interests is a key-effort marketers must do to create target-fit emails that have higher chances of success.
As an email subscriber for a pet brand, I commonly receive emails with dog products, even though I’m a cat owner. The same goes for a shoe company that recently sent me an email with a product for kids, which doesn’t make any sense, considering I don’t have any kids.
By bridging the user profile with the message, marketers will probably notice an overall improvement in most key metrics, getting better results for their companies (higher open rates, fewer unsubscribes, more sales).
Test more and predict results on email marketing
A/B testing is a major part of any digital strategy, regardless of the channel. Specifically, in emails, there’s plenty that can be tested: from segments, subjects, and structures to images and content. If you’re lucky to have a large database, consider creating samples of segments that you can use to test different emails.
These days, Customer relationship management (CRM) predictive models can be done based on your customers’ previous behaviors. For instance, if you have a different segment of customers that typically only purchases your products when you offer them a discount, then you can send promotional messages to them only instead of using the entire database. By doing so, you’ll avoid fatiguing other customers, while still taking advantage of the benefits of sending a promotional message.
Be aware of data sensitiveness
Recent research shows that people are becoming more concerned about their data and are likely more cautious when providing personal information.
As a direct marketing channel, email marketing often requires dealing with users’ data. Well, this is the key to understand which data your users are willing to provide and under which conditions.
Studies also highlight that users weigh factors such as subscription relevance, intrusiveness, or control when considering granting permission to receive emails. Providing them the possibility to edit or remove the data will likely increase the chances of subscription.
Become more agile with automation sequences
When subscribing to a newsletter or email sequence, users expect to have an immediate reply. Automations allow the process of onboarding to become smoother and easier, even though sequences are quite hard to create.
When creating sequences, marketers must consider the same questions as well as when launching email campaigns. However, one common mistake is to create sequences as a one-task only and keep them untouched for a long time. As with any other marketing activity, sequences must be reviewed and optimized over time, so they can become more effective.
Lastly, if you like marketing and enjoy receiving interesting emails, check Marketoonist, a project by Tom Fishburne that’ll probably put a smile on your face. I’m a fan.
👋 Psst! We also make pretty funny and useful newsletters. Subscribe here and check it for yourself.