Email marketing is having a renaissance. And with good reason.
Most marketers don’t talk much about it much. But it is true. The best performing marketing channel 10 years in a row is email marketing. It just keeps on working when other channels don’t. Just have a look at this:
l want to become a renaissance person. It may not be cool. I might not become the centre of attention at the odd marketing gathering. But I can live with that, as long as it gets me results.
Email marketing and the stupidity of jumping on another bandwagon
Like so many others, our team (at Markedu and GIDMA) has put a lot of effort into (too) many different channels in the past years. In the process, we mistakenly neglected to give the best performing marketing channel the attention it deserves. That is, of course, email marketing.
Because – truthfully – the email marketing channel has never really let us down. Sure, at times it didn’t perform as well as we hoped. Other times we didn’t do what we had to do to make it work.It’s a travesty, I know. But also a fact of life in any business.
That said, there really is no excuse. We jumped on the bandwagon blindfolded. I suppose we were hoping to see that huge pot of gold in the promised land of social media.
But as a small consolation, it’s not just us. For example, In The State of Email Marketing Europe – (download it here) – we discovered that marketers perceive email marketing to be a high performing channel.
Not really surprising. Many reputable sources – including the US DMA – have reported email marketing to be best for high ROI. But it does make me wonder: why have so many brands large and small increasingly favoured investments in other channels over the past 5-6 years? Wouldn’t the smart move have been to continue to invest in the best performing marketing channels?
The answer is yes and no. Logic would suggest YES. But – as is often the case in the world of marketing – there is an emotional decision process in play here. Marketers want to have fun too. And social media has been a whole lot of fun.
The good news for businesses and the C-Suite is this: email marketing has been resurrected. Even after death, it has come back stronger. Many highly respected industry luminaries now talk about the email marketing renaissance.
This email marketing renaissance begs the question: why, and why now?
I think there are a number of reasons why more brands are shifting focus. Here are three of them:
- Email marketing is so much more than newsletters. Today we are able to leverage data in a much better way. The result is better targeting, better timing and increased relevancy. That in turns lead to better results.
- Social media isn’t really organic anymore. Facebook, Twitter etc. are merely advertising platforms. Just think about reach. Most brands are in a celebratory mood if their Facebook reach surpasses 6%. Kind of pathetic, if you think about it.
- Marketing automation and triggers are no longer reserved for big-brands with big-budgets. Even tiny businesses can implement these techniques. And get results.
There is no question that content is still important. The increased focus on producing a steady flow of good and relevant content will help email marketers to get even better results.
That’s why the future of email marketing is an interesting topic. Did you know that:
- Artificial intelligence is making quick inroads in email marketing and marketing automation. We are already seeing actual examples of that in industries such as travel and hospitality.
- Video in email marketing is a reality. Some email marketers now play videos directly inside the email. No need to click on that link and view the video elsewhere. Just think about the impact of that – in particular for your mobile audience.
- Interactive content is your new playground. Adding gifs, scratch-it, quizzes etc. in emails generates fantastic results. This type of interactive sits well with most audiences. Executed properly and with relevance, it also gets you results.
Speaking to marketers immersed in data-driven marketing (with email as the main delivery vehicle), the future of email marketing is promising. The ability to leverage data in new ways brings with it new opportunities to increase relevancy, timing and quality of the message. This, in turn, seems to improve ROI whilst offering audiences a better engagement experience.
And that, in my book, is what’s it all about.
Open your mind to new possibilities. Be a renaissance person. That is someone who masters multiple skills and yet isn’t shy about following their own path.