What’s new in email marketing. Since the beginnings of email marketing in 1978, the use of this tactic has nothing but skyrocketed over the years. However, by 1998, consumer frustration with spam mail had also skyrocketed, leading email providers to respond by creating junk folders.
In more recent years, marketers have had to navigate regulations like the GDPR, the rules governing marketing efforts in the European Union. The incredible value of the EU market makes it imperative for organizations to conform.
Despite the stress that the GDPR brought to email marketing teams around the world, in the long run, it acts as an advantage by improving the quality of your audience.
The limits on email marketing imposed by the GDPR—like requiring recipients to agree to receive promotional emails—acts as a filter that works in your favor. By targeting the respondents who actually subscribe, your emailing list will become much more effective.
Advantages of email marketing
The benefits of email marketing include:
- Cost- effective – the costs of email marketing can be much lower than many other forms of marketing. There are no advertising fees, printing or media space costs.
- Permission-based – your marketing list will be made up of people who have actively chosen to receive email communications from you. Customers who are genuinely interested in your products and/or services are more likely to engage with your business.
- Flexible design – you can send plain text, graphics or attach files – whichever suits your message best. A choice of design options gives you scope to convey your business branding.
- Scalable – email marketing can be used to reach large audiences or smaller targeted lists.
- Personalisation and segmentation – with email marketing you can personalise messages. You can also segment your marketing list, so that your customers receive messages from you that they are interested in – this will help boost their engagement with you.
- Shareable – it’s easy for people to forward and share your email content, building your reputation by word-of-mouth or viral marketing. This may help influence new customers to become followers of your brand.
- Conversions and increased sales – if you have a new promotion people can click on links and follow your call-to-action immediately. Email marketing is also effective at every stage of the buying process. For example, you can influence someone to choose your product, nurture the customer relationship post-transaction and also encourage future purchases.
- Measurable – you can evaluate the success of a campaign by using web analytics software. You can easily test different copy, subject lines and designs to see which is most effective. This allows you to optimise future campaigns.
- Benchmark – you can compare your results against others in your industry. There are many free email marketing benchmarking reports available – you will find these by searching online. Benchmarking data can help you to evaluate and prioritise improvement opportunities.
- Test before you send – A/B testing of subject lines, calls-to-action, personalisation, email copy, images or messages ensure your email content is as effective as it can be before you send it.
- Less intrusive – unlike telephone marketing, recipients can read your message at a time that suits them. Customers can also update their preferences if they would like to receive different messages from you or unsubscribe if they feel they no longer want to receive your email communications.
- Environmentally-friendly – email marketing is better for the environment than direct marketing by postal mail because nothing is printed.
- Time-saving – through automation you can trigger emails to be sent to customers based on an action they have performed on your website – eg. send a welcome email when a user signs up to your website, or issue an email offering a discount incentive if user abandons an online shopping cart. Once you have developed a template you can reuse for numerous email campaigns.
- Real-time marketing – through email marketing you can connect with customers in real-time. Using automated triggers, such as website activity, recent purchase or shopping cart abandonment, you can reach the right audience, at the right time, in the right place and with the right offer.
Disadvantages of email marketing
Some of the potential problems of email marketing include:
- Spam – commercial email or ‘spam’ irritates consumers. If your messages aren’t targeted to the right people, the recipient may delete your email or unsubscribe. You need to make sure that your email marketing complies with privacy and data protection rules, and that it is properly targeted at people who want to receive it. The ‘click through rate’ for untargeted emails is likely to be very low.
- Undelivered emails – poorly designed emails may not get delivered. Emails that use certain spam keywords or characters in the subject heading or content of the email, eg £££s, FREE, click here, are likely to be filtered out by email software and internet service providers. If you don’t keep your marketing lists up to date, you will find incorrect email addresses mean your messages won’t reach the right person.
- Design problems – your email must be designed so that it appears as it should across multiple devices and email providers. You may encounter a trade-off between design and functionality. Some people opt to receive text-only emails, consider how your message will look if this is the case.
- Size issues – files need to be small enough to download quickly. Emails containing many images may take too long to load, frustrating your audience and losing their interest.
- Resources and skills – for a successful email campaign you must ensure that you have the right copy, design and marketing list. If you don’t have the time or skills in-house, consider outsourcing some of these elements.
So what’s new in email marketing?
The perceived image of any professional robust email marketing scenario starts at the bottom with an exhausted individual business owner, scrambling to exist, aware that all the stats have reassured them that email marketing delivers one of if not the highest ROI of every alternative where they spend their money. This of course after establishing their website, and achieved sufficient SEO to get it seen by the search engines and social media alike. The more powerful corporates among us has the alternate perception of a room full of highly skilled marketing minds, eager to eek the next dollar from every audience participant they can.
So the biggest buzz currently is the rise of personalisation, obliterating segmentation in any and all guises. This has become possible by ever greater appreciation of the data being captured online, and how powerful it is in comparison to audience segments determined by antiquated systems. Just how powerful the distinction was quantified by McKinsey and Statista in a variety of reports, concluding in as much as 20x (twenty times) the return from traditional email marketing, triggered, and omnichannel campaigns combined. Putting that into perspective is like offering your company 20x the gross profit for the whole of last year! No wonder the dawning realisation of this prowess is causing shock-waves among traditionalists.
So beware the software that gaslights the truth offered to you, about their solution. Segmentation is not personalisation, it never was nor will ever be. You can’t lump people together because of some nefarious reason and agree they they are the ones most likely to buy a specific product. Instead imagine the ability to have solutions offer you individuals (the ultimate segmented audience #1) that not only have a high prevalence to purchase a specific item, but then actually offers that product to them on the day and time that data offers the highest probability of them making that purchase.
True and Complete Automation
We better make a clear distinction here before we lose you, by automation we mean that no human-being at any stage, has any involvement whatsoever with the process. None! As a pirique test enter “email automation” in Google, and see what comes up. We’ve done the same. Up come all the usual suspects each saying “You can set up our process to automatic” without pointing out it is only for for such and such an element. And therein lies the rub. If so much data is being analysed from that captured on your site, a human being doesn’t stand a chance of knowing what’s going to deliver the highest returns even if tables are delivered for them. Why? Because it is a moving feast. No sooner have you collected and collated the information than it has changed. You can’t hope to keep up.
Therefore you need a system that not only collects, collates but then implements the solution for you. So new to email marketing is predictive personalisation software (PPS). One such example is offered from Microsoft Partners, SwiftERM the personalisation SaaS. This simple plugin, can be adopted by SME and Enterprise ecommerce retailers alike, delivering the exact product selection for each and every individual consumer at exactly the time they are most likely to buy it. Thereby completing the wheel, and a traunch of marketing is thus addressed completely.
With any PPS software AOV skyrockets, and the consumer only sees products most akin to their current thoughts – i.e. what they looked at last night or even this morning. This is quickly followed in performance as return rates fall through the floor. Who is going to send product back that they want? Plus if they are buying products they want, why on earth would they also buy products they didn’t want? Just to satiate some spurious emotional demand? No, they were searching but not finding, it took an algorithm of each individual’s own personal unique actions to offer them the pinnacle of that search – what they wanted.
This then all culminates in ever greater customer lifetime value, and the natural progression of that, their loyalty. You are going to loose far fewer customers if you only ever offer them what they want. In our own comparison of suppression rates, between PPS and a leading ESP, reduced by 99%. Consider how that would reflect in sales, it’s huge. Let your competitors envy the obvious and enormous warmth and appreciation felt by your consumers over theirs – who, by the way, become easy pickings for those without it.
It should be explicit said about PPS software, that it negates the need for marketing professional to be involved in one element alone – personalisation. By all means complement marketing and promotional offers, segmenting where that requirement is a necessity, but never forget that the most expensive element in email marketing – employing staff, is a long way shy of being that which delivers the greatest ROI.