Why Email is More Relevant Than Ever
According to the Radicati Group’s Email Statistics Report for 2020, the number of worldwide email users will top 4 billion this year, which means that half the world’s population now uses email. That number is expected to grow to over 4.4 billion by the end of 2024. Despite the rising popularity of social media and messaging apps, a 2019 Adobe email usage study found that the average American spends 5 hours per day checking email.
At Ingredient, we believe that the fundamental value of email marketing is more relevant than ever. In fact, of all the strategies in your marketing toolkit, email has many distinct advantages:
- Email is an opt-in tool. That means consumers are reaching out to you. When customers self-identify, they want to hear from you, and you have an opportunity to more deeply engage.
- You have control of your communication. You aren’t paying for placement or fighting against an algorithm; you call the shots on who receives your message, when it’s sent, and how it’s presented to your audience. With the ability to provide personalized and geo-specific content, email can foster more relevant connections with consumers.
- Email marketing automation can be based on site behavior or other user-specific attributes, such as date of opt-in, birthday, date of a specific website visit, etc. — which, in turn, can increase ROI.
- Email doesn't have the same restrictions on character length or graphics as some social platforms, so you have more flexibility in your content. While we generally recommend keeping copy brief, email allows you to say as much as you need (including those pesky legal requirements) and cross-promote other relevant content within the same message.
- You have the power to make your email stand out in the inbox. The subject line is your opportunity to make a first impression, and you have the ability to test it a multitude of ways to find the best message to connect with your audience.
- Email is also very measurable. When you get insight into which content people are interested in, you can fine-tune your message to be more relevant and become a trusted resource for information. Rather than the composite data from social media, email can provide deeper insights into customer engagement.
- From a consumer perspective, email is easy to engage with. It doesn’t require a login or the need to download updates on a regular basis. Content is available whenever people are interested in consuming it.
- Email also doesn’t disappear as easily as social posts. Users can archive and use it for ready reference in the future.
What makes email marketing most effective?
One of the advantages of emails is the ability to send, test, and change. The iterative nature of sending email on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to refine both your overall strategy and your content in a way that drives continuous improvement.
A few things to keep in mind to improve your email strategy:
ABS: Always be segmenting. The more you know about your readers, the better you can tailor your message to fit their needs — and when users receive emails that fit their needs, they are more likely to interact with them. There are several basic ways to segment your list, including by demographic information and geographic location, as well as how users interact with your emails — what they click on, how often they open emails, etc. As you segment, it can be useful to follow these best practices:
- Start broad and get more in-depth over time. Start by identifying common characteristics in order to help create segments. As you gather more information, you can further refine your segments.
- Try not to make your segments too small. Marketing to a small group of readers may not be worth the effort. Make the segments big enough to help generate revenue but small enough to feel personalized.
- Use data, not assumptions. This may sound obvious, but many marketers let their personal feelings guide their content, versus gathering actual data from their customers.
- Get data from multiple sources. Many marketers turn to tools such as Google Analytics for broader segmentation data. It’s also helpful to ask users directly what they’re looking for.
ABT: Always be testing. It’s essential to help define segments and optimize your email results. Whether you’re looking at content, subject lines, design layouts, length, or time of day, there’s always something to learn.
Mobile first: According to Adobe, 85% of users use smartphones to access their email. For those aged 25-34, that rate is even higher, at 90%. (Source: 99 Firms)
Integrate and align: The best email experiences are integrated with your other marketing channels, so you can build a holistic communication strategy across platforms. Consumers don’t think of things in terms of individual marketing “channels;” it’s all about creating an overall brand experience. Ensure maximum effectiveness by designing a consistent message throughout all your marketing efforts.
Keep it fresh: Without new content, it can be challenging to keep consumers engaged. Having a master content calendar is essential for an effective communication plan. It’s also important to know what your consumers want to hear from you. At Ingredient, we use our proprietary Topic Priority Schema™ exercise to help clients define their audience and determine which content to slot into their calendar.
Manage what you measure: It’s great to gather data, but it’s worthless unless you do something with it. Your customers can give you a great deal of information; make sure you use it to your advantage to help build and strengthen your email strategy.
Regardless of age, email remains a highly competitive method of communication. As of November 2019, all age demographics use email relatively equally:
- Ages 15-24: 90%
- Ages 25-44: 93.6%
- Ages 45-64: 90.1%
- Ages 65+: 84.1%
(Source: Statista, July 2020)
Wondering when those sought-after millennials check their email? According to an Adobe study, 40% of millennials will check their work email while watching TV or a movie and 35% will check while in bed, 40% while on the phone, 26% while in the bathroom, 26% during a meal with others, 49% while in a work meeting, and 29% while in a video conversation. The percentages are much higher for checking personal emails: 66% of millennials said they check their personal email while watching TV and movies, 67% while in bed, and 48% while in the bathroom.
Gen X also topped the list for checking personal emails while watching TV and movies at 72%, followed by checking them while in bed at 49%, checking while in the bathroom at 33%, and checking while on the phone at 32%.
Despite the ever-evolving landscape of social media, email continues to be an integral communication tool and an essential part of any marketing plan. At Ingredient, we have over two decades of experience in designing, building, and implementing email campaigns. As your agency partner, we can work with you to develop an email strategy to expand your reach and increase customer engagement, and build a content plan to help support your long-term communication goals.
Interested in strengthening your email marketing plan? Contact us here to get started.