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Email marketing isn’t dead, but maybe your strategy is…

Is email marketing dead? Maybe the problem isn't the email channel itself, but whether the message is rightly conveyed in it.
Email Marketing - Digital Affair

Sorry for these harsh words, but someone had to say it. Yes, there are many new kids on the block of social media, but that doesn’t mean email marketing is dead. In fact, email marketing has proven to be the most cost-effective channel when it comes to the retail industry. So what’s the point we’re missing?

According to Campaign Monitor, 92% of adults who are online use email. That compares to 79% of internet users who have a social media profile. At the beginning of 2021 there were more than 5 billion email accounts, and we all know this number will only continue to rise. 

A report from eMarketer shows us that 81% of retail professionals see email marketing as the best way to acquire new customers, compared to 51% who think the same about social media. This means that having an email marketing strategy can be 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than either Facebook or Twitter.

I came across a Delivra report on Email Marketing Statistics in 2020, and it got me thinking – Should we blame it on email history or on ourselves? This question got me through my inbox, in an active search for the best practices on successful emails. 

2021 email marketing benchmarks – where it all started

As someone who loves numbers and data, I enjoy this time of the year because there are a lot of 2020 activity reports, as well as 2021 trends and predictions. Particularly this year, with so many companies implementing digital strategies, I was really looking forward to seeing what was the result. 

I normally check Delivra’s report on Email Marketing and the 2020 report is quite curious. Among some other data you can discover on your own, here are some interesting key-points:

  • There was a 7% growth in terms of email volume 
  • Open rates in email increased 13%
  • Mobile opening email decreased 11% 
  • Unsubscribes rate are on their lowest, especially media and retail 
  • Government, education, nonprofits and agriculture were the industries that saw CTR values above 4%

With such an overwhelming year, these data show us the importance of commuting in everyday lives, as shown by the numbers on mobile opening emails. The report also points out the need to find something that truly gives a meaning to life, and to incorporate it in email marketing strategies.

At the same time, the need to escape reality by watching new recommendations on media streaming platforms granted great performance results for the media industry. 

The “working from home” mood also changed the day when opening rates are higher. If in 2019 Tuesday was the day with better results in an email marketing strategy, 2020 skipped it to Friday. 

So what are we missing here?

This report got me to the final conclusion that maybe the problem isn’t the email channel itself, but whether the message is rightly conveyed in it. 

With such great potential, I assembled some tips you can easily implement in your email marketing strategy, no matter what industry you’re involved in. 

1. Make it personal

An email performance is measured right before the opening act. A bad subject line is quite a turn-off for anyone. According to Litmus, a good open rate should be around 18%. To achieve this number, having an appealing subject is mandatory. 

Finding the right tone of your message is also another important challenge to overcome. If you’re in a B2B company, I would advise against using any emojis on your subjects. However, if your brand tone is playful and aimed Gen Z’s, why not?

However, there’s room for empathy in every business. How can you help your customer today? What’s his pain point you are about to relieve? A great part of a successful campaign is targeting the consumer by creating a piece of content that identifies with their lifestyle or needs. 

Personalizing your marketing messages will make your customers feel connected to what you are trying to sell. You can take advantage of this by asking questions in the subject line, for example. 

2. Responsive, responsive, responsive

Yes, I know what I said above about commuting and the decrease in mobile opening. However, the same data reveals that more than half of the email users still open them on their mobile. 

Emails that aren’t mobile friendly see a great chance of leveraging its bounce rate, due to poor user experience. 

If you use an email marketing automation software always check the mobile previews first, and then the desktop version. If the template is quite ugly or unappealing in the mobile version, I’d suggest you to choose another template.

email marketing in mobile
At least 50% of emails are opened on mobile, according to Campaign Monitor.

3. Judge your email by its cover

In this case, for its design. It is really essential that all your emails look pleasant and delightful to read. From GIFs to creative content, emails got more stylish, and I would dare to say they are looking more like an art piece.  

Emails that have a quick loading time, feisty CTA’s and colorful visuals typically perform best. However, don’t underrate user experience over information. A newsletter with five kilometres of extension, with the same five year old template will leave your consumer uninterested and with time, out of your database. 

4.Watch out for the metrics 

Tracking results helps to evaluate your future campaigns. Think of them as your grandmother giving you wise advice on what you did right or wrong. 

The numbers behind each metric give a marketeer important insights and details. Metrics collect data on how many people are interacting with your campaign, who they are, when they are doing it and for how long. All this data is important to planning further campaigns. 

For example, if a campaign gets a higher bounce rate than usual, it means that readers are opening emails but not engaging with them. What’s wrong here? Maybe the brand tone isn’t coherent with the subject line? Or is it the content that doesn’t meet the expectation?

I know numbers can be quite hard to digest, especially when you planned everything on your mind and expected it to be the greatest campaign ever. But in this case, they are your best allies since they report what is effectively working or not. 

5. Respect the law!

GDPR. Yes, this four-letter acronym. Standing for “General Data Protection Regulation”, it means that it is assured for the reader that he is given clear, unambiguous permission to receive marketing emails.

Being onboard with the GDPR, you have to make sure your email marketing activity is legal. GDPR was created so consumers know their data is protected and being used by brands they have trusted with personal information. They opt in to emails they’d like to receive from brands they’re interested in.

Because it means that email campaigns will only be sent to users who are genuinely interested in your messages. It also ensures your email marketing messages are compliant with the law.

Here’s another important metric to respect: deliverability.  It’s what some marketers use to measure their email campaingn’s ability to reach their subscribers’ inboxes related to actual delivery.

Issues with ISPs, throttling, bounces, spam issues, and bulking damage an email deliverability and thus reduce the number of your emails that will land in your subscribers’ inboxes.

That’s why your deliverability will impact everything from open rate to clicks to spam reports. To prevent you from this, opt for sending emails using custom authentication, as well as double opt-in database. Avoid using URL shorteners as well as emails with too many images. 

Master email marketing because it’s not going anywhere

Email marketing is really far from dead. Stats have been showing the importance of this channel for retail conversions, as well as nurturing relationships with loyal customers. With GDPR, the impact of an email marketing campaign can be quite higher than social media. 

Forrester Research reports that 90% of emails get delivered to the intended inbox, whereas only 2% of a company’s Facebook followers see the company’s posts in their news feeds.

Email is especially important in business, with the average employee spending 13 working hours each week with their email inbox.

With an average return of over 40 times what you invest, you can’t afford to ignore it. While average open rates and click-through rates are higher than before, it’s therefore an effective way to nurture relationships, rewin potentially lost business, and reactive inactive users.

Any business that’s dismissing email is missing out, and missing out big.

Carla Santos

Carla is a marketing manager who doesn’t like to talk about herself. She prefers to write and talk about the stories she helps telling as a marketing manager. Her professional path is connected to content marketing strategy, copywriting and social media management. She’s passionate about travelling, reading biographies and cooking a new recipe every week.

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