Leadership Perspectives | You thought email marketing was dead? Think again
Email marketing is dead. You’ve probably heard this statement a million times over the past few years, but it’s simply not true.
Certainly, social media now plays a key role in business marketing across a plethora of industries, with brands flocking to various platforms in a bid to engage with new and existing customers.
But what social media offers in terms of brand visibility, it sorely lacks personalization, says Jude Duncan, email marketing manager at schuh.
Jude is a vocal champion of email marketing and the benefits it can bring to brands, and is keen to highlight how impactful and effective email can be.
“Email is not dead,” she says. “This rumor has been circulating for years now, but the data shows that is simply not the case. We need to talk about it more.”
Indeed, research from HubSpot shows there are over 4 billion email users worldwide, while insights from Unbounce suggest that email visitors are most likely to convert on forms. .
Likewise, according to Litmus, more than three-quarters (79%) of marketers cite email marketing as one of their most effective channels. So why does email marketing have a reputation for being somewhat outdated?
Jude believes this is due to a culture where “vanity metrics” – such as opens and clicks – and follower counts have been used to mask lackluster and unimaginative marketing practices. And the coronavirus pandemic has brought the issue to light.
“People seem to view email as a bit ‘old fashioned’ and assume that social media and other modes of communication are more appealing,” she explains.
“But during the pandemic, we changed the way we communicate, and email has proven to be one of the best tools for brands to convert and engage with customers.”
The power of personalization
Amid a time of digital fatigue and saturated social channels, Jude says email marketing has been a lifeline for marketers struggling to maintain vital relationships with their customers. And a key differentiator for email during this time has been personalization.
“Personalization is a big reason for the continued popularity of email marketing. And when I say that, I don’t just mean showing someone’s name at the top of an email. I’m talking about personalization and making sure you’re sending the right content to the right person,” she says.
At schuh, Jude says personalization can be as simple as not sending an email promoting sneakers to someone who frequently buys sandals.
This is what really separates email from social media marketing. The unique and polished messaging that brands can deliver via email leaves a positive and lasting impression on consumers, unlike the mass communication that can be seen on social media.
“Social media is like standing on top of a Munro, shouting and hoping someone hears you – and a lot of hikers will hear you, but chances are they’ll forget it soon enough “, she explains.
“Whereas email is that little light in your inbox that reminds you of a great product or service.
“It’s personalization. You just don’t get that on social media. You can’t get the same interaction with that person as through email – it’s about making someone feel special and valued as a customer.
beholden to no one
Another issue that has become apparent in recent years has been the power of big tech and social media platforms, Jude believes. Relying heavily on social media marketing means brands are left to compete in a saturated market and beholden to a platform’s algorithm.
“With social media, you’re in the hands of tech companies and relying on their algorithm,” she says. “So there are times when you have to wonder if the customer you’re targeting will even see your message.”
With email, the marketer knows with at least some degree of certainty that a message is going to land in a customer’s inbox. Of course, their commitment depends on the individual, but the power is always in the hands of the brand and the retailer – and that cannot be underestimated.
“The control you have over your email marketing is key,” she says. “You don’t have that level of control over other platforms. With email, you know an algorithm isn’t going to disrupt your messaging or your ability to connect with customers. »
Avoid saturation at all costs
There’s a lot to be said for social media saturation, but Jude would like to add that email saturation is an issue that many brands forget to consider. And it has a serious impact on their messaging.
“I think there’s a growing saturation problem in email,” she says. “I think that’s why it’s so important to make sure you personalize, segment, and offer your customer something of value.”
Segmentation is an area where Jude thinks many companies fail. Gone are the days when brands could spam an entire database and hope for the best, there is a bit more strategic thinking needed in 2022.
Above all, she says, brands need to realize that not everyone is interested in your message. Yes, they could be a customer. But people interact and engage in their own way – and some just don’t care.
“Businesses need to understand that not all customers care about your latest post, your goal, or your latest products and services. But it’s not all bad. Once you realize that, it’s a huge plus. for marketers because you can segment people and make sure you’re only directing messages to customers who really care and like to engage.
“And ultimately that means they’ll be less likely to hit that unsubscribe button.”
In the 2021 State of Email Report, over 90% of survey respondents told Litmus that email marketing is now “somewhat essential” to the overall success of their business. Additionally, almost half (41%) say it is now very critical – up nearly 30% since before the pandemic began.
This, says Jude, underscores the positive impact email marketing has had throughout the pandemic. As brands continue to rely on email, she believes this mode of communication is far from dead.
Scotland MarTech Summit | Join the conversation
Jude Duncan will discuss email marketing at the MarTech Scotland Summit, taking place live and in person at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on May 10.
In her keynote, she will present actionable tips for email marketers to maximize audience reach, improve customer engagement, and discuss the key benefits of email marketing in 2022. .
To register for a free* place at the Summit, please visit: www.martech-summit.com
*A criterion applies for participation. For full terms and conditions, visit the event website.