It is shocking to think how much the world of direct and digital marketing has changed since the 90s. The first ever email was sent 46 years ago, and today technology has evolved into one of the most cost-effective forms of direct marketing.
Suddenly businesses were able to contact clients and prospects quickly with this brand new tool, and even today it still continues to be more popular than other channels like social media, display, and programmatic advertising. But what does the future hold?
Data protection laws and spam filters introduced in the noughties, along with considering different mediums of email access, made it difficult for businesses to reach contacts’ inboxes. Nevertheless, with the rise of automation, today, things are getting much more interesting. In fact, there are so many things that organisations can do with email now versus the beginning.
By driving traffic from social, PR, and blogging, then placing leads into a relevant email campaign with tiered content, marketers could see a significant increase in sales conversions. This is even more important with the new EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) laws as well, as this will mean marketing to data that hasn't double opted in will result in huge fines. Its vital to focus on getting data opted in now – including current customers – then build a strong relationship through nurturing campaigns.
Engagement is the most important thing to define in email marketing, as engaged and non-engaged data needs to be marketed in different ways with different content. Finding a new way of measuring this more reliably would make a huge difference in the marketing world – and replies might also be a new metric to think about. This could identify how emails should be formatted for higher engagement; for example, often there are more replies from an outlook-style email than heavily design led templates.
Email can be so powerful when used correctly, but even the smallest mistake can get you a really bad reputation. We all know that accidents happen, but they can leave a lasting impression – that’s why it is so important to make sure businesses are using email in the right way. Mass emails are also a big blockade. Old design-led mass-market emails are out, whereas clever automation using personalised senders and content are in. It’s just not good practice to send impersonal emails anymore - it sends the wrong message to your contacts.
Personalisation has definitely also been a key focus in marketing for quite some time now, but we’re starting to see different ways of using it for more of an impact. This is especially clear when marketing and sales team begin merging (something we are seeing more of). However, it is time to take things further than just “Hi [First Name]” as things continue to move along. One great way that marketing personalisation has evolved is through the use of dynamic content, which allows different content to be fed through to different contacts depending on their past behaviour and engagement with different campaigns.
Campaigns need to be driven by the data you have, namely from your CRM and through discussions with your sales team, so that the emails you’re sending out are as individual, personalised and as relevant as possible.
In the end, email will always continue to evolve. It’s been around for over twenty years, and it’s not showing any signs of fading away.
Victoria Dyke, Marketing Manager at CommuniGator
Image source: Shutterstock/kpatyhka