Despite the continued, rapid growth of new channels, email continues to be one of the most effective ways for brands to communicate with their customers. Nearly 145 billion emails are sent every day. And these are still being hugely read. In fact, our recent Email Benchmarking study showed that 39% of emails sent by brands to consumers are being opened. But, despite its obvious benefits, email marketing still needs strategic focus and creativity to make it as effective as possible. Marketers can’t put it on the backburner and stick to old tactics while paying more attention to ‘sexier’ marketing techniques such as social and search.
Marketers shouldn’t think that everything that can be done with email has already been done. This kind of thinking can only lead to , uninspired, and potentially unappealing content that might not entice recipients to take action—which is an even more important goal than the open. Whether this is by including imagery, video content or highly relevant, behaviour-driven content, you ultimately want to still be focusing on the most innovative and creative ways to arouse their interest and ultimately, get them to click through to your site.
I’ve heard of email marketers deploying the quantity over quality approach on a number of occasions – running a stereotypical email blast campaign and crossing their fingers that this will lead to some conversions. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this works. But it can just as much upset the consumer, or push them into unsubscribing, as it can get them to buy your products. Instead, the key is to get the right mixture of quality and quantity. A consumer won’t mind you sending them emails as long as they are relevant. This ability to personalise and individualise is, in my opinion, proof that email isn’t restrictive.
Ultimately, customers respond better to brands when they feel like they are actually being treated – and valued – as an individual. Today’s consumers already have an understanding of what they’re looking for, so you need to email them at the right time with the right product or offer in order to significantly increase the chances of them making a purchase from you.
The key to this is making the most of your existing data. Marketing is awash with ‘big data’ at the moment – marketers are struggling to make sense, or get insights from, all of the information they have available to them. But it shouldn’t be hard. In fact, there are tools available that can easily automate and make sense of all this data – whether it’s topline information such as the gender or age of your customers or even more in-depth, behaviour-based details, showing when they open their emails to the kind of products they’ve been looking at recently.
It’s hard to stress just how important personalisation is, but emails with personalised subject lines are a massive 22.2% more likely to be opened than those that are just blasted out—and this is just the basics. For this reason, I’d argue that personalisation and relevancy is a shot in the arm the email marketing industry needs. Don’t treat email marketing like something that needs to be subdued or kept in the background.. It’s not restrictive, so get creative and help it live up to its full potential. If you bring your email marketing to the fore and treat it like you treat your customers – with consideration –you’ll soon be seeing a dramatic increase in conversions.
John Watton is Senior Director – EMEA Marketing at Silverpop.