Having graced the world of digital design, marketing and email for over a decade, I’ve read lots of the prediction pieces that get shared at the end of every year, but over the past few years, I’ve noticed that the bit that keeps getting forgotten is the why.
Why are certain trends being put forward? If I was an email marketer, the number of shiny things I should be using in my day-to-day life, based on predictions articles and innovation conferences, would be overwhelming. And being told I should have dynamic content; interactive carousels, hyper-personalisation and countdown timers, doesn’t actually help me define what my challenges are, or how best to solve them.
Some things remain the same for email marketers:
1. People don’t treat email as a priority channel – despite regularly being the most popular form of communication (according to the DMA 2019 consumer email tracker report) and having one of the highest ROI of all channels.
2. Unclear or non-specific channel objectives.
3. A lack of long-term investment in moving email and CRM programs forward.
So, this year, I’m not going to predict. I’m going to hope. I’m hoping that we can revive the true meaning of innovation and start using email effectively again.
There are a number of questions to ask yourself before sending out any email. What do you want your users to do once you’ve sent that email? Are you including ‘innovative’ elements because you can or because you are clear on the effect you think it will have? Having answers to these questions will allow you to develop a more focused and purpose driven email marketing campaign, and get results.
You will be constantly fighting for consumer inbox time. With most of us spending 21 minutes a day over-checking our email inboxes and 77% of people turning to their email in moments of boredom, there are plenty of opportunities for consumers to read your emails but also thousands of competitors that may be lying in wait.
In the email marketing world, your competitors are not necessarily the standard business competitors, but any other brands in the inbox, and the average consumer is signed up to 12 mailing lists with each individual receiving up to 121 emails per day, 51% of these being regularly deleted without being opened. Why should the consumer open your email over anyone else’s?
There’s a difference between being ignored for a while and being unsubscribed from. Zettasphere and Emailmonday’s report shows over 50% of unengaged consumers are simply waiting for the right moment or offer in which they are more emotionally engaged.
The challenge is to deliver genuine value to your audience, not have just one successful email with a high open rate. If you want to start being able to build a relationship with your users, you need to send emails that tell you something about what they engage with.
This is a great reason to use interactivity – you can use tracking pixels to record what groups or individuals click on without asking too much of them. Presenting a ‘hard’ call to action such as ‘Shop Now’ or ‘Find out more’ is asking for a level of commitment from your users. An arrow in a carousel or drop down is only encouraging them to learn a bit more without starting a new journey. This means you have the opportunity to include more content and allow people to explore your offering in fun or engaging ways without asking too much of them. You might find fewer people click the hard link but those that do will be more committed to the conversion journey. If you’re using tracking pixels to understand how and what people are doing inside the email then you can not only add that to your overall CTO rate, but also begin to personalise the types of content you show to individuals based on actual data.
Emails can’t be a quick fix but they can be hugely effective when used correctly. Use the channel appropriately and respond to what people tell you through their behaviour. This will get you the best results when it comes to consumer engagement and satisfaction. I would love to be attending conferences next year and reading prediction pieces all centred around customers and their needs. It’s great to shout about what is possible in an email, but we need to use these as tools to complete a job, not as the goal itself.
My hope for 2020 is that brands will begin to be able to effectively articulate why they have an email program – both internally to the business AND to their potential users – and what is in it for the customer, then use all the attractive shiny tools at their disposal to live up to that promise over the long term. More importantly, they can measure more effectively whether or not it’s having the impact they expected and start to tailor the offering to what people actually tell you they are interested.
Article originally published on Digital Doughnut on 9/01/2020