The Journey of Email Marketing
Did you know email is the No. 1 tool for marketers? And it continues to be the most effective resource for return on investment? Emailcenter's latest whitepaper, The Journey of Email Marketing, gives an overview of the journey email marketing has taken by analyzing data that's been aggregated from hundreds of millions of emails over the past four years.
The assumption that email marketing is on its way out couldn't be further from the truth. There's a steady year-over-year rise in open rates, as well as a downward trend in unsubscribe rates. This is backed up by a recent study that found email to be almost 40 times more effective in acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter. Not only that, data from numerous trusted sources have consistently shown that email marketing often outperforms Google AdWords and Facebook paid advertising.
In fact, research suggests users actually prefer being targeted by email marketing campaigns compared to other forms of online marketing. This makes sense when you think about the rise in spam on other online marketing channels (e.g., social media), which offers very little in the way of spam filtering.
So how has email changed? Well, to start, subject line lengths don't necessarily matter like they used to. Our data highlighted a rise in open rates across the board apart from subject lines containing just one word. Success comes from writing subject lines that don't get caught by today's intelligent spam filters.
Email automation based on behaviors and triggers is also now a must for any company serious about email marketing. It really isn't as impersonal as it sounds. In fact, it's an incredibly effective relationship builder — if you do it right. Spend time on the initial set up. Delivering content that's triggered by the behavior of your leads drives more traffic to your website, increases social engagement and ultimately brings you a higher conversion rate. Even setting up an automated email campaign can provide a more human touch due to triggered emails seemingly conversation-like nature.
It's also time for email marketers to prioritize mobile optimization. This may not come as a surprise, but for more forward-thinking companies, this is a great opportunity. An adjustment period while mobile optimization plays catch up is a great time to get ahead of the competition. It's also become essential that emails are responsive and optimized for small screens. If you fail to do this, you can expect to lose half of your conversions. Mobile has also affected the way we react to marketing emails. For example, mobile has made it easier for commuters to catch up on their email before getting into the office. This behavior is great for some types of marketing emails, but it all comes down to the conversion goal. Commuters on crowded trains are less likely to make a purchase, but much more likely to read a newsletter.
There are two essential tools at your disposal when it comes to making the most out of an email campaign — recipient feedback data and email analytics. Each and every one of us is unique and will respond differently to different emails, even if those differences are only minor. To ignore this kind of data is a recipe for disaster. At the end of the day, email marketing is all about trial and error. Learning what works and what doesn't will eventually allow you to push your email conversions to the next level.
Rupert Adam is the marketing manager of Emailcenter, the U.K.'s largest independent ESP.