Beyond 2020: Why email marketing will be relevant for a long time to come

pau casals email marketing junk mail unsplash

Email is rapidly approaching its 50th anniversary, having been with us since 1971. And while most technologies invented half a century ago now feel hopelessly outdated, email continues to outperform other new channels when it comes to marketing ROI.

Globally, there are more than 2.9-billion email users, with more than 111-billion consumer emails sent every day.

Small wonder then that email remains one of the most powerful ways for businesses to market to their customers, despite the emergence of other channels including instant messaging and social media.

Even as those technologies continue to evolve, email’s popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Here are a few reasons why.

Customers prefer it

Outside of the fact that email’s user numbers make its reach higher than almost any other form of digital customer communication, it remains most people’s favoured form of communication.

According to a study by Campaign Monitor more than half of US consumers prefer to receive email communications from businesses over direct mail, SMS, and push messages. Importantly, that preference extends across age groups and genders.

In South Africa, the picture is similar, with a survey by Everlytic showing that  86% of people prefer to receive promotions via email. In addition, 84% said that they trust email as a platform to receive invoices, statements, and other sensitive information.

The bulk of the research conducted around email suggests that this holds true across multiple industry sectors, including retail, travel, entertainment, non-profit, and digital media.

Proven ROI and engagement

Given how much people prefer receiving marketing messages via email, it should hardly be surprising that it provides an incredibly high return on investment (ROI), especially when executed properly.

According to research from OptinMonster, email marketing has a potential return on investment of up to 4400%.

That’s largely down to the fact that once you’ve gone to the expense of building a list, sending out emails costs almost nothing. Additionally, the people who opted-in to your list are genuinely interested in what you’re offering, meaning that they’re more likely to engage with it and, ultimately, spend more money with you.

And while there were fears that regulations, most notably GDPR, might have a negative impact on email marketing, they’ve actually forced companies to keep their databases clean, ensuring that the only people receiving their mails are the ones who want to.

It’s likely therefore that email will continue to see higher engagement rates than other forms of digital communication. According to OptinMonster, the engagement rate for the “big 3” of social media isn’t even 0.6%. Compare that number with email’s average open rate of 22.86% and even its click-through rate of 3.71% and it’s easy to see where the real engagement lies.

Email is evolving and integrating new technologies

As much as email is incredibly effective today, it wouldn’t be if it hadn’t evolved. A whole host of emerging technologies have integrated with email and will continue to do so in 2020.

With most emails now opened on mobile devices, our inboxes will likely become increasingly contextual.

Behavioral data, geolocation, and the like will ensure that consumers receive the information they need the moment they need it. Data is at the core of concepts such as a single view of the customer (SVOC), hyper-personalization, and micro-segmentation, which are all key to an organization’s ability to build and create the kind of personalized email communication that customers expect. Artificial

Intelligence will also continue to evolve, helping companies predict customer’s needs and address them with hyper-personalized communication.

Using email effectively

While it’s clear that email, in and of itself, will continue to be relevant far beyond 2020, it’s up to individual organizations to make use of that relevance.

Email is a great marketing tool, but only if it’s used in a human-centered way that prioritizes individual customers’ wants and needs. Marketers must ensure that they don’t waste this relevant, resilient, and highly adaptable resource.

Feature image: Pau Casals via Unsplash

Ross Sibbald


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