Phillip Othen takes a close look at the world’s biggest media technology platform – email – and provides some business marketing tips.
The number of sent and received emails per day is astronomical. In 2020, it totalled 306.4 billion and is expected to hit 376.4 billion by 2025, according to data firm Statista.
Some 87% of B2B marketers employ email as a distribution channel, while 79% of B2C marketers rely on it to spread their articles or blog posts, says Kinsta, a managed WordPress hosting provider.
The reasons are clear: it has the biggest reach of any technology-based media platform, far surpassing popular social media platforms, and is a professional choice of communication.
This also explains the burgeoning market for news-based emails. It’s a relatively ancient technology that has stood the test of time.
Email marketing: The biggest challenges
Potential leads and customers owning and regularly using their email accounts are just the start – they then need to notice, open and engage.
Given the huge volume of spam (non-personalised, unsolicited communications sent in bulk), just getting readers to open your email is the first challenge.
Tanya Casey, head of newsletters at GlobalData Plc, says: “The changing way we consume emails has led to a cultural shift over the past year. As consumers we are now looking for a more personal connection with brands, and finding ways to create that connection is key for marketers.
“This means increasing personalisation of emails, and while these interactions can be the most difficult to create, they are also the most effective in ensuring every communication is meaningful and relevant.
“We should be considering customer behaviours from the outset and creating a nurture programme to encourage engagement and increase conversions.”
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How to break through the wall
When it comes to getting the desired messages in front of a target audience, it helps when that audience is receptive to the message in the first place.
With clever targeting including methods such as propensity modelling (mathematically predicting someone’s most likely action), tailoring each missive for the individual or segmented group pays dividends.
“Companies want to deliver value, and put the right thing in front of the right prospective clients at the right time, and that’s when users want to get it,” states Dan Sirk of Anyline, a data-capture software provider.
According to personalisation platform SmarterHQ in 2020, “80% of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands who personalise their experience”, while in the same year, cloud-based software company Salesforce stated that “almost 75% of business buyers expect vendors to personalise engagements to their needs”.
By building these relationships via email, you increase the quality of leads and their likelihood of conversion.
Email marketing tips for business: Engaging the machine
Aside from hiring marketing content writers worth their salt with the ability to pen concise and appealing copy with engaging calls to action, and optimising through A/B testing or using control groups, technology can be a game-changer.
In 2021, Smart Insights found the overall average open rate for a marketing email is 16.97%, with a 10.29% click-through rate (CTR) across all industries. The average Facebook CTR in the newsfeed was just 1.1% in 2020.
To increase your already high chances of user interaction, a large number of companies are now employing automation into their strategy.
In fact, nearly half are using automation, with that figure up to 55% in B2B, according to Moosend, an email marketing platform.
Email automation frees up valuable time for those in marketing; once the work is front-loaded, the rest should sail smoothly. It also helps the personalisation process by combining data sets to consistently add in details such as name, company, location and so forth.
More significantly, this technology can follow up on emails once opened or acted upon per individual, leading to a meaningful dialogue and nurturing process.
As with most technology, however, there is often a cautionary tale, and automation is no different.
Dominic Walters, a B2B marketing specialist and author of Harnessing the Power at Your Fingertips – A Leader’s Guide to Marketing Communications, says: “As we become more automated, it’s crucial we mustn’t forget that at the other end of this exciting and innovative technological revolution are customers that still wish to be engaged with as humans – not robots.
“The winning brands are those that manage to leverage the power of technology whilst maintaining real relationships and conversations with all their audiences.”