Alive and Kicking: Email Marketing in 2015

     

Published: August 12, 2015

For some people, email marketing brings to mind spammy messages peddling various pills and contraptions that often have nothing of value to offer the recipient. Today’s email marketing is savvy, creative, and focused on the customer. Most of all, people want to receive it.

That’s right, according to a 2012 study, 77 percent of consumers prefer to receive promotional messages by email. The next runner up is direct mail, and only nine percent of consumers prefer it. Email is crushing the competition, and for good reason.

The Castaways

To remain such a viable communication channel for promotional messages, marketers have had to make a few important changes to their methods. The first thing to go is the idea of the “email blast,” or a single message that is sent to every person on the list in hopes of something sticking. Complicated formatting has also been set aside for simple, to-the-point messages that are fast and easy to read.

Another important castaway is the idea of sending messages without permission. Buying email lists is a fast way to compile a huge list of people complaining about you to your hosts and providers; it is not a way to earn new customers. This single improvement is one of the biggest reasons why people are embracing email today because the messages they get are the ones they have asked for.

The Newcomers

Once the worst offenders were crossed off the list, a host of new-and-improved ideas about email marketing replaced them. These three practices are helping email stay at the top of the list for customer communication

  1. Responsive Design. The latest numbers have smartphone ownership at 56 percent for American adults. That number jumps up to 80 percent for young adults. Responsive email design allows marketing messages to look great on every device so mobile users have a great experience.

  2. The Double Opt-In. When you enter your email address on a web page to start receiving offers or a newsletter, you are opting in. When you click a link in an email to confirm that choice, you are double-opting in. This practice makes sure that every single person on your list is there because they want your messages. Remember, there’s no point in having a huge list if too many people are going to delete your messages and click the “spam” button.

  3. Targeting and Trickling. Sometimes, you have an offer so great that your whole list needs to see it. This is especially true for small businesses and niche retailers whose customers are generally interested in every product. For everyone else, segmenting the email list by what the customer is interested in and by what stage in the buying process they are at helps to ensure that every message is on point.

Looking to the Future

The future looks bright for email marketing—provided that marketers continue to listen closely to what their customers want to hear. By focusing efforts on the needs of the customer, marketers can bring in more leads, better qualified leads, and convert more of them to paying customers without having to harass the people who are never going to buy.


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