It may be hard to believe, but email marketing celebrated the big 4-0 in 2018—and though it’s changed significantly since it appeared on the scene, it’s aging like a fine wine, evolving and remaining relevant instead of fading out of style.
But does the longevity of email marketing thus far mean that it will stand the test of time going forward? As technology continues to permeate all aspects of our lives, we feel strongly that the answer is yes. Email will always be a part of the world of digital marketing. Here’s why you should be investing in email as the core of a strong digital marketing strategy for today and the future.
A Very Brief History of Email
The very first marketing email in 1978 only reached 400 recipients; it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way since then.
In 1989, the Lotus Notes email software hit the market and made 35,000 sales in its first year. By 1996, Hotmail had begun to offer a free web-based email service that armed marketers with incredible tools. A little over 20 years later in 2018, 64% of marketers said emails had become their most effective marketing channel.
Today you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t have their email accounts on their phones, right in their pockets, which leads me to my next point.
Why Marketers Love Email Strategy
Marketers aren’t just partial to sending emails because it’s modern and fast. When done right, email marketing offers you a powerful and direct channel to your consumers for advertising products and services, gaining leads, and receiving feedback — and it works.
Here are some reasons marketers have stayed true to email:
- Impressive ROI: At least one study found that email has a whopping ROI of 122%. That’s four times higher than other online channels, even social media.
- Recipient Control Over Engagement: Email marketing puts your message recipients in the driver’s seat. They can act immediately to either engage further or opt out of communication, which makes culling your marketing lists and speaking to the right people much more efficient.
- Segmentation: Every customer has their own needs. Email segmentation means marketers can reach different types of people with varying messages for the same product — in other words, the right message to the right person at the right time. Email marketing makes this task much easier than social media or traditional mail could.
- Reaching Large Audiences: Perhaps the primary advantage of email marketing is that it continues to provide access to huge audiences, and that’s only expanding, with an estimated 3 billion people expected to be using email by 2020.
The Future of Email Marketing
While some online channels (like Vine) have risen to stardom and then faded into the sunset, email marketing isn’t going anywhere soon. As long as it continues to reach wide audiences and convert leads into new business, the focus will be on improving it, not replacing it. Here are three trends that will shape the future of email marketing and increase its potential impact:
- Personalization: A personalized message speaks directly to the recipient, telling them that you understand what they want and need. As email marketing continues to grow, we can expect to see new means of personalizing emails based on consumer behavior.
- Transparency: Data breaches seem to happen on a regular basis these days, and consumers are anxious to confirm their data is safe in a company’s hands. Thanks to GDPR legislation and others that have followed it, businesses are being held more accountable for transparency. Increased compliance in the future could make email more trusted than other channels.
- Permissions: Another way email marketing trends will shift is by continuing to offer recipients greater control over what they receive. Asking for permissions at every step of the process ensures higher quality leads and a better reputation for your brand when it comes to respecting your customers.
The bottom line is that email must be a part of any successful digital marketing strategy. The ROI alone speaks for itself, and the advent of the smartphone means people are checking their email in bed, at lunch, and on the go, so you can market to them on their schedule.
If you can reach your customers in a manner they find timely, why wouldn’t you? Today is the day to take action and develop a winning email marketing strategy. RelationEdge’s expert digital marketing team can help you understand which email marketing and marketing automation tactics are right for your business. Contact us today.