The first ever email was sent in 1971, over 40 years ago and long before the web first came online in the early 90s. These days, as a form of communication, email is taken for granted – it’s the base level of communication in almost all workplaces, and forms the backbone of how we communicate in the modern world, professionally and personally.
Despite this, people have been calling the death knell of email for years. Recent entries to the workplace communications market such as Slack have made these calls more prominent. What’s more, with more forms of communication available to us than ever, from Whatsapp to social media platforms, many are questioning whether the end of email has finally arrived.
However, despite the rising popularity of these other types of communication, using email for marketing remains to this day the cornerstone of any successful business, from your local independent clothes shop to a multi-national corporation.
Why is this the case? How can we, in an age of email overload, still count on this communication protocol to do the job? Why is email still a marketing strategy that you need to take advantage of? Below I’ve compiled the top five reasons why email marketing is still a go-to marketing strategy for businesses in 2016, and why it’s not going anywhere.
Email is what your readers are expecting
Surprises are overrated, especially when it comes to email. According to Adobe’s August 2015 email marketing study, 63% of customers prefer to receive marketing promotions and offers through email. Email is the medium through which your customers prefer to receive your messages, plain and simple. If you’re going to deliver your marketing messages via email, do it right: this means displaying subscribe fields prominently and providing easy access to an email preferences centre.
Email marketing is measurable
When it comes to direct or mail-based marketing, there aren’t many ways of measuring the efficacy of your efforts. By contrast, social media marketing provides you with almost too much choice: subscribers, retweets, share of voice… it’s never that clear what you’re supposed to be looking at.
Email marketing offers the right balance: you have plenty of metrics to be looking at, but not an overwhelming amount. Through email marketing, you can track who opened your message, what mail they use, when they engaged with your message and what they actually clicked on. Best of all, these are time-honoured measurement techniques that you can trust.
Email marketing is customisable
Email marketing remains one of the best ways to target your messages to specific audiences. Rather than just guessing what will work, you can segment your recipients, greet them by name, and tailor content that is specific to them. This allows your brand to connect with them in a stronger, more meaningful way, and that ultimately leads to higher conversion rates.
Unlike online advertising, social media management and the like, email allows you to start small. You don’t have to set up a dozen different variables before you’re ready to send your first email: you can add more complexity as you go. If you don’t currently segment, you can start by introducing one segmentation variable, then another and another, continually learning as you go. You can segment such that you’re communicating with a large audience – say, every customer you have in the UK, or you can segment down to a one-to-one basis for super personalised communication.
Email is mobile
Any modern email service provider offers easy ways to create adjustable emails that are optimised for mobile as well as desktop. As a marketer you’ll already know that mobile can no longer be ignored or left at the bottom of your list of priorities: according to HubSpot about 53% of people check their email on their phone. Think about the experience of using email on a mobile device: you’re unlikely to want to compose lengthy emails on a small screen. Instead, emerging patterns of behaviour are suggesting that people are reading emails on their phone and then answering or actioning them later on desktop. When viewed in this light, it seems that mobile-optimised email is even more important than desktop email.
This is a huge and captive audience: people are spending more time shopping and interacting with content from brands than ever before, and if marketers can optimise their efforts for mobile it will certainly pay off.
Marketing email is no longer considered ‘junk’ or spam. Nowadays people have a more mature understanding of marketing and promotion, and as long as your email is offering them something useful, readers are happy to give your message their time and attention.