Email Marketing is just as effective now as it was before the rise of social media. We explain why, and share our tips for making the most of this crucial channel.
Email marketing in 2021
Email marketing isn’t dead. Some people see email as an archaic marketing channel that can’t produce results in a world of social media and programmatic advertising. The word ‘e-mail’ may evoke memories of using AOL dial-up connection on your Apple Macintosh, but the practice of email promotion is very much alive.
In fact, many of the reasons email is so effective today is because of its (digitally) old-fashioned style. Much like the real-world format it replicated, email is delivered directly to the user’s mailbox. It’s not at the mercy of social media algorithms. Mailers have a 100% delivery rate, assuming it beats the spam filter – we’ll cover this in more detail shortly.
Because your emails are more likely to be seen, they’re more likely to produce customers. A study by eMarketer found that email marketing beats all other channels in terms of customer acquisition and retention. Yes, even more than organic search and social media. Of course, this study only covered small US businesses, but the results are applicable to UK business. The consistency and uniformity of email is one of its winning factors – everyone knows what to expect. It’s not a total mixed bag like social media.
Email can also cut through digital noise like a knife through butter. By sending a notification directly to the user’s phone, it commands the user’s attention immediately. Before you go saying that email didn’t make the leap from PC to smartphone like other channels, know that 46% of all email opens are on mobile devices. This number is only increasing.
The other 54% is probably employees religiously checking their emails at work (myself included). The average person checks their emails 15 times a day. That’s 15 clear-cut opportunities for your email promotion to be opened and acted upon.
Why do we check our emails so often? Much like social media, we like the ‘thrill’ of seeing a new email. Refreshing your emails is a bit like pulling the lever on a slot machine. The next pull could be an alert saying your order has been dispatched, or a 20% discount code from your favourite retailer. It could also be your boss asking you to work overtime, but it’s all part of the excitement.
How to create a compelling mailer
1. Make it interactive
Although the consistency of email being one of its benefits, this doesn’t mean your emails should be boring. Take inspiration from your social media strategy – fill your emails with images, GIFs, and CTAs. Blocks of text are acceptable in mailers, but don’t make the experience too text-heavy unless it’s important. Opening your emails should be a fun experience that provides value the user won’t find elsewhere. This could range from exclusive discounts and flash sales to behind-the-scenes footage.
2. Make it personal
Another beautiful benefit of mailers are the ability to personalise en-masse. Services like Mailchimp offer the option of adding each recipient’s name to the message intro or subject line (provided you have their name in your mailing list). Remember how we said earlier that email marketing tops the charts for customer acquisition and retention? That’s largely due to targeted personalisation. Users are 25% more likely to open an email with a personalised subject line.
2020 was all about ‘humanising’ marketing and we expect this to continue into 2021 and beyond. It’s a good idea to sign your emails off from a ‘person’ rather than the business itself. In a similar fashion, you should also try and send mailers from a real email address instead of a ‘no-reply’ email address. Emails should be a two-way conversation.
3. Make it trackable
‘Data is the new oil’. The term has become something of a cliche for a reason. Mailers feed into your greater digital strategy and you should be measuring its effectiveness. If you’re using a service similar to Mailchimp, you can connect it to Google Analytics. This lets you see if recipients are clicking through to your website via the email. This is great for building funnels and testing which CTA (Call-to-action) is best for driving traffic.
Even without Google Analytics, mail services can provide a wealth of useful data. This includes open rates and click rates. You can even see which specifically which elements of your email recipients are clicking on. All this data can feed back into your email marketing strategy. You can learn your recipients’ goals and motivations. You can figure out, to adapt an old saying, what ‘makes them click’.
4. Make it deliverable
Earlier we mentioned that email has a 100% delivery rate. The obvious caveat is that you need to get past the spam filter, which can be harder than it seems. Although there’s no guaranteed way to stop your emails going to junk, there are a few mailer best practices that can help.
Aside from these tips, you should ensure your emails are consistently of a high quality. The more people that click and interact with your mailers, the less likely they’ll get flagged by spam filters.
Hopefully we’ve opened your eyes to the potential of email. It’s easy to assume it will go the way of the fax machine – a redundant technology in the age of social media and instant messaging. On the contrary, email is firmly embedded in digital culture. Much like real-life mail, consumers appreciate the direct nature of email. No creepy ads following you around the internet and no social media algorithms guessing what you want to see. Let’s not forget that checking your inbox is insanely addictive.
Email isn’t going anywhere, but your email marketing strategy should be. Give your messaging some character, use personalisation and beat the spam filter.