As digital marketing services emerge and messaging platforms evolve, the relevance of email marketing always becomes a topic for discussion.
Does it still resonate with younger audiences? Are people tired of seeing their inbox filled? Can it still drive brand awareness or aid in customer retention as effectively as before?
In short: Absolutely.
Email marketing is still king in online advertising, and its unmatched ROI and continuously growing audience are why it won’t be abdicating the throne anytime soon. Don’t believe it? Check out the latest email marketing statistics, what they mean for the future, and our tips on keeping your email marketing campaigns engaging and relevant.
The Price is Right
Marketers continue to see value in email marketing, and are responding accordingly.
A Q3 2016 survey from email service provider Emma found 58% of marketers in the US had increased their email marketing budgets for the following year – a higher response than any other online advertising channel.
An alluring ROI spearheaded a surge in email marketing budget allocation; April 2017 research from Econsultancy found 73% of in-house marketers around the world say email marketing provided a strong ROI for the year. It received the highest percentage of votes in the survey, even surpassing SEO. Back in 2008, SEO ranked slightly higher than email marketing services.
Additionally, according to a June report from OneSpot, US marketing executives said email attributed to 21% of total revenues in Q2 2017 – a 17% bump from last year.
A Grand Audience
As more people adopt the platform, and with the price points of handheld devices dropping, eMarketer estimates email audience numbers will continue to grow.
In 2017, 76% (266.2 million) of the US population used email. By 2021, that number is projected to reach 266.3 million people, totaling 79% of the entire population using email.
Resonating with audiences young and old, internet users of all ages agree that email is their preferred method of communication with brands, according to a July 2016 survey from Bluecore. Email was the top selection among US digital buyers – 65% of Gen Z and 62% of millennial respondents. Nothing else came close.
How to Engage Audiences through Optimized, Relevant Emails
So we know email marketing can provide a jaw-dropping ROI and a virtually unlimited audience when used effectively. So, how do you make sure people are opening your emails, and not sending them straight to Spam?
1. First Impressions Count
You could have the best deal in town or killer content in your email, but if your subject line is uninspiring, your click-through rate will suffer.
Consider A/B testing (more on that soon) alternate subject lines, mixing up your offers or value proposition to see what clicks with recipients. You only have one chance to entice a reader to open your email, so make it count!
2. The Right Look
Like your website is a reflection of your brand, your email’s template design should embody the spirit of your business and reflect the image of your brand. From messaging to feel, the template should be consistent with your branding so your audience recognizes something from your business immediately.
Remember that images should load quickly, fonts must be legible and easily digestible on both desktop and mobile, headlines should be big and bold, and calls-to-action should be prominent.
3. Variable Testing for Best Performance
“Don’t let perfection slow innovation. Brands that move quickly and test, without focusing on getting everything right, are seeing returns and improvements in performance,” explains Kyle Henderick, senior director of client services at Yes Lifecycle Marketing.
Break the cycle of one-size-fits-all blanket email campaigns and start testing different variables in your email marketing campaigns. From subject lines and alternate offers to email layout design and calls-to-action, there are numerous metrics to A/B test that can optimize your email marketing campaign for best performance.
4. Cultivating and Growing Your Subscriber’s List
Populating your subscriber list with new & relevant leads is easier than ever, and you need to take advantage. Buying rented lists is a practice of the past – they can be littered with invalid email addresses, or the recipients may be uninterested in the brand, product, or service. House files (lists developed organically by marketers) see significantly better open rates, CTR, and conversion rates than prospect files (lists bought or rented from a third party).
“Internet service providers know when marketers have junky email addresses on their list,” says Colby Cavanaugh, senior vice president of marketing at Emma. “They can see how engaged those subscribers are. Marketers can’t be buying lists. It’s better to send to a smaller list that is more engaged, and as part of that, you have to provide a great experience in the inbox through relevancy.”
To organically grow your subscriber lists, you must have double opt-in forms on your website, social media, and online purchasing channels to get new email addresses of people who truly want to hear from your brand, which will essentially reflect positively in email performance metrics.
5. Emerging Technologies
While other messaging platforms are budding, email technology hasn’t remained stagnant. There are more technologies on the horizon that will continue to build on email marketing’s already prominent strengths.
Dynamic content, personalized emails based on real-time data, and personalized email content based on machine learning are already surfacing in the US. Email with interactive features burst onto the scene just this year, and approximately 27% of email marketers named it the email marketing trend of the year.
Even artificial intelligence is joining the email boom, with Whole Foods Market, IBM, and Nestle all starting to implement dynamic email content based on users’ behavioral history.
If you don’t think email has evolved like other digital marketing services, think again!
Email marketing’s fantastic ROI, unlimited audiences, and flexibility make it an integral part of any advertising strategy. Personalized email marketing campaigns that are relevant and optimized will always be a reliable and popular way for brands to communicate with new and existing customers.
To get the most out of your email marketing, Eden’s digital marketing team can design, write, segment, and send engaging, must-click emails that your subscribers look forward to opening. Contact us today for more information!