Each year forecasters predict a “demise” in email marketing…
As far as I can recall, whilst observing the predictions in marketing trends, email marketing is one that always seems to take the hit. It’s no surprise really that people (marketers and customers) think this way about digital marketing’s oldest and most glorified son.
After all, our inboxes are crammed with junk every single day of the week. It’s now become a daily chore to sift through and deleting the irrelevant – a lousy chore at that. And add the nosedive that response rates are taking due to spam filtering etc., no doubt that email marketing is a skill that’s getting harder to master. But not an impossible one. Far from it actually.
With email marketing’s cooler and more social younger brother taking the limelight yet again this year, email marketers have had to get smarter. To get customers reading emails rather than 140 character tweets. They’ve had to evolve. Because no longer can the same old, same old “cash cow” promotional email be hurled out to the masses. It’s now a game of content and personalization. And it’s a game that lasts a full 90 minutes, and then into extra time, and beyond that into a sudden death penalty shootout.
But fear not. In a recent poll, 71% of B2B marketers and 65% of B2C marketers explicitly use email marketing in their campaigns. Why is this? Simple. Email marketing is still the biggest driver of sales and customer acquisition that’s available to us and our digital colleagues. So what do marketers need to do to make sure those emails are read? Well, there is no secret method. But could you keep that secret if there was one?
First of all, email lists need to be segmented using some form of CRM system – as long as you’re doing this so some extent, you’ll be marginally successful. This kind of laser-targeting needs to be a common practice throughout, as it definitely isn’t about “one size fits all”. Optimizing them emails is also an absolute must, as your customers or subscribers or leads will be reading in a hurry on mobiles and tablets. That’s a guarantee. Finally simply tweak those emails, keeping in mind to write human-friendly – and personalized – emails that provide a healthy dose of high-quality content with minimal direct response. But don’t take this lightly. Even though content must always be king, your call to action and sales material is crucial. The same goes for your subject line. You get your open, you get your sale.
And don’t get me started on customized landing pages…
So a lot more work for sure (in some respects). But all is not doom and gloom. Think about this. Sure, Social Media is on the agenda for every digital marketer this year, but a well-prepared email can prompt sales more than double that of social media channels, and is generally a spectacular forty times more effective (Mckinsey). And that email doesn’t have to be an essay, this isn’t SEO. Short and sweet will do just fine.
Therefore in reality, there is no demise in email marketing at all. The end is only near if you drop the ball and fail to test, to research, to examine the trends, and to evaluate. You, me, and every other email marketer just needs to stop and think. To be smarter. To be a little bit more unorthodox.
Personal, relevant and targeted. That’s how email marketing is going to work from now on. Oh, and did I mention personalized?