It may have been the first exciting way to send instant messages across the world via computer, but email’s reputation has always been volatile. Reaching all the way back to 1973 when the earliest email messages were sent using the fledgling ARPANET, the modern world’s relationship with email has been a long and chequered one.
From a ground-breaking form of communication in the 80s, to a viral joke-plagued and chain-email-blighted world of weirdness in the 90s, and an increasing drain on our time in the 00s, email has had its peaks and troughs in contemporary society. And ever since our inboxes and our phone screens became one and the same, it’s been harder and harder for us to shut out the noise.
Is email being rehabilitated?
Yet, in recent years, perception of email appears to have shifted. Although we all rue the lost hours, days and weeks we plough into our inboxes (this study suggests US workers lose 6.3 hours daily), more and more brands are embracing email as a channel through which to connect with consumers…
In the 00s, the general consensus was that email was a less-than-brilliant blend of work messages you didn’t want to deal with and spam claiming to make different parts of your body bigger (or smaller). In short – it was just plain no fun. In the 2010s, however, that picture started to change.
Email trumps social
Today, email is widely viewed as a more powerful marketing tool than scattershot social media, despite the huge surge in social media marketing which took place in tandem with the rise of the medium. With some social platforms proven to be unreliable and often ineffective as a marketing channels, many businesses have re-evaluated the power of email, honing their technique for today’s consumers and using of-the-moment marketing automation techniques to squeeze more from the channel.
Did you know…
- You are six times more likely to get a click through from an email than from a tweet?
- Email is forty times more effective at winning new customers than Facebook or Twitter
- 72% of people would prefer to receive promotional material via email, while just 17% would prefer to receive the same material via social media?
Do call it a comeback
The factors behind email marketing’s “come back” aren’t purely due to the increasingly obvious ineffectualness of social media marketing. The key reason email marketing earned a bad rep was the introduction of the spam filter.
In 2009, Return Path revealed that around 30% of commercial emails never reached inboxes, with “irrelevance” comprising the main reason consumers actively opted out of the emails which did get past the filters. With so many emails not making it through (and those that did enjoying a woeful click rate), many marketers simply abandoned the medium.
Sticking at it
Not everyone was such a quitter, however. Over the past five years, many marketers have been making in-roads with email marketing, learning more about today’s inboxes, today’s consumers and how to make email marketing work for both consumers and brands in the 2010s.
Visit any half decent B2B or B2C website for the first time today and you’re almost bound to be greeted by a welcome pop up offering you an incentive to subscribe to an email newsletter. This gives brands a 100% chance of reaching subscribers’ inboxes, while they harness the latest technology to finally make promotional email truly relevant to every recipient.
No, we’re not talking about automatically adding your name to the start of every subject line, we’re talking about sophisticated marketing automation systems which send you a reminder email when you’ve not completed a purchase, or which include information about fresh discounts on items you’ve previously looked at. In short, email marketing is finally offering genuine benefit to consumers.
Many digital marketers have learned valuable lessons from other areas of online marketing. Having understood that “providing value” is one of the very best ways to squeeze the most from online consumers, marketers are applying the same principle to their email campaigns.
From engaging content on topics recipients care about (often cleverly divided down demographic lines), to real-time UGC (User Generated Content) displayed within emails, there are lots of smart techniques email marketers can now harness to build trust, increase brand awareness, elicit click throughs and trigger conversions – even from within busy email inboxes.
There’s plenty more where all of that came from. The future’s looking pretty darn bright for email marketing, with lots of innovation coming soon to an inbox near you. Tech, tools and advances to look out for over the next five years will likely include…
- Smoother, more affordable workflows between web tracking, social media, BI solutions, CRM or ERP systems and email marketing – all making email smarter, slicker and more carefully targeted.
- Ever more sophisticated machine learning, allowing for hyper-personalised email marketing campaigns.
- Increased use of mobile-friendly video in email as download speeds and smartphone tech becomes even more powerful.
Ready to rethink email marketing? Learn how to add compelling, click-driving UGC to your marketing emails today. Contact us to REQUEST A DEMO TODAY!