Though digital historians don’t always agree on who invented email in the 1970s, marketers generally agree that email is far from a thing of the past. In fact, email marketing and customizing emails remain highly effective ways to reach, convert, and retain customers, share information with readers, build loyalty and trust, and guide consumers through the various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Marketers wavering on email marketing are wise to consider its reach:
- Volume of users. By the end of 2019, nearly 4 billion people will be using email. Statista
- Volume of accounts. By the end of 2019, active email accounts will reach 5.6 billion. Statista
- Volume of users checking email. 99% of consumers check their email daily. Hubspot
- Hefty ROI. Email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent. Litmus
Email marketing continues to be an effective vehicle for messaging—and the trend is upward.
Making It Personal
Customizing emails to each consumer through personalization treats each recipient like an individual. Customers want to see themselves in messages targeted at them, and this approach works; people are more likely to open a message that’s relevant to them. Campaign Monitor reports that personalization increases open rates by 26%. According to Experian, personalized emails prompted 6x higher transaction rates than generic ones.
Online retailers, airlines, department stores, and networking sites are just a sample of businesses that use their email lists well. Even local vendors like dry cleaners and veterinarians have leveraged email lists. A word of caution: Be sure to set up actions appropriately. For example, following a recent new-vet visit, we received two birthday messages for our pets (wrong month) and two messages that our pets were overdue for services (which they had just received).
Making email marketing simpler is every marketer’s dream, and automation is a good place to start. According to VentureBeat, automated (also called triggered) emails drive 624% higher conversion responses, 381% higher click rates, and 180% higher post-click conversion rates than batch and blast emails.
Rather than blasting emails based on a schedule, automation reacts to actions of the consumer based on preset triggers and parameters. Topics like welcoming new subscribers, anniversaries of the first transaction, end of a trial period, the buyer’s birthday, product or service review after purchase, and other data points work well to re-engage consumers.
If customers and prospects don’t open the first email, schedule the same email to go out through your CRM, but precede the body of the email with a message to get their attention, such as, “Hi, [name]. I want to make sure you saw this message from the other day.” According to business growth expert Josh Fechter, this works well because chances are recipients either forgot the original value proposition or never saw it.
Moving to Mobile
Marketers who want to get email right must get it right on mobile. Consider these statistics curated by Campaign Monitor:
- More than 70% of people read their email on a mobile device.
- Three seconds is how fast it takes most mobile users to delete poorly-formatted emails.
- Consumers read email more on mobile than on their desktop or laptop. Consequently, conversion rates are higher on mobile than on other platforms.
There are some simple ways to get mobile emails to work well. Perhaps most importantly, consider going mobile-first. Find a good responsive template, or even an interactive one. Then write copy in small chunks, and test, test, test. If marketers get mobile wrong, it’s hard to overcome and get consumers to engage again.
Second, schedule emails for the morning, unless a specific time of day is relevant to the offering. Most readers open emails in the morning, but if an offering is afternoon- or evening-specific, it may make more sense to schedule the email to coincide with the offer.
Finally, consider using buttons for calls to action because links are tough to tap on mobile.
A Word to the Wise about Compliance
Even experienced marketers can be unaware of the laws and rules about email marketing.
The Federal Trade Commission offers practical guidance for how to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Marketers will be in compliance if they follow these guidelines:
- Be up front about the sender. Let recipients know the sender-company name.
- Write a genuine subject line. The subject must reflect the content of the email.
- Be clear that the email is an ad. This will also keep you compliant with the European Union’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). VerticalResponse helps businesses stay informed about GDPR compliance. (Click here for an in-depth look at GDPR.)
- Include a physical postal address. This keeps businesses compliant and legitimizes the company in the eyes of the reader.
- Provide a way readers can opt out. Every message needs a way for subscribers to unsubscribe.
- Remove an opt-outer quickly. Marketers have 10 days to remove those who unsubscribe. Requiring fees and further information is forbidden.
- Take full responsibility. Companies who use third-party email vendors are still accountable for the vendor’s email business practices.
Stretch the Reach of Email Lists with Retargeting
Marketers who want to make the most of their email list can retarget subscribers on Facebook, which helps build authority and renew interest. Simply use Facebook Business Manager to upload an email list, and create a custom audience to which to serve the ad. Facebook will search user profiles to find matching email addresses and serve the ad. Voilà — another way to reach those already interested.
Though some marketers may think email is a nostalgic way to reach people, the rise of mobile phone use has given way to a rise in effective mobile marketing — email included. Given widespread opt-in practices, marketers have permission to email prospects and customers.
Personalizing, automating, and using responsive templates that work well on any platform, as well as complying with regulations and retargeting email subscribers, make email marketing a smart choice now and in the future.