Email has become an integral part of modern life, stirring conversations of digital disruption among marketers as more consumers integrate email into their daily routines. Checking one’s email, a task formerly requiring screeching dial-up connections and colossal desktops, can now be done with a single swipe on devices that are small enough to fit in our pockets.
With more than 4 billion email accounts in existence across the globe, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email is everywhere, and it’s only getting bigger.
As the number of email accounts has increased through the years, however, many marketers have refused to acknowledge the need to change their approach to email to accommodate the age of digital disruption. During a recent conference held by The Next Web, James McQuivey, VP at Forrester Research, stated that the future of digital marketing “will be about a level of customer focus and centricity that digital enables, and therefore digital requires.”
In the future, it’s clear that whoever holds the customer relationship will win. Unfortunately, many marketers continue to burn countless bridges with their customers through the email channel, turning would-be brand advocates into jaded and weary consumers.
The old way of deploying email-marketing campaigns is over. Email is primed for disruption in a very big way, one that will revolutionize the way brands communicate with their customers. If you’re not ready to embrace the type of communication that customers demand, then where will that leave your company? Why should your organization be getting ready for the next big disruption in email marketing right now?
Why Focus On Email Today?
Recently I wrote an article for Inc.com covering the future of email personalization and the importance of a contextual email marketing approach that connects with consumers. The reason why it is essential for organizations to take their personalization efforts to the next level today is simple: tTremendous value still exists in the email channel. Email marketing continues to yield the highest ROI for marketers of any other channel invested in, placing email in a unique position to give digital marketers the best bang for their buck.
Email also delivers the best measureable ROI of any other channel, meaning that digital marketers can track their investment in email more efficiently. A recent CMO.com article reiterated this point, noting that email eclipsed social media, mobile, content marketing, and display advertising in measurable ROI. In fact, 81% of marketers said they would increase spending on the aforementioned channels if they could track them as efficiently as email. This leads to a single, decisive fact: If you want to know exactly where your campaign spend is going, spend it on email.
Email is profitable, and email is proven. In a challenging economy where digital marketers are under serious pressure to deliver measureable ROI for company execs, now is the time for your marketing department to consider the best channel to invest in that can produce tangible, reliable results: email.
How Can You Prepare For Email 2.0?
Email isn’t a new innovation by any means, but it is certainly changing in a way that goes beyond what some folks do with traditional email marketing. There are several ways your organization can prepare itself for the disruption that is sure to blow the lid off the outdated email marketing strategies of the past:
• Focus more on the individual, less on the audience: Personalized, sincere messages draw us in closer than sweeping, artificial ones. Personalized emails also evoke positive emotional responses, letting each recipient know that they are truly valued as individuals rather than being just another face in the crowd. Stop batching and blasting to lists and focus on building out the individual customer profile.
Organizations that are ready to kick their personalization efforts into high gear can start by applying technology to their marketing campaigns that allows a 360-degree view of customer/brand interaction. With the ability to utilize a single, actionable database of consumer data, your brand will gain valuable insight into each customer’s wants and needs while maintaining the ability to adjust your messaging to cater to the person in real-time.
• Protect your sendingreputation: Saying that your brand values a customer’s time while spamming the masses amounts to little more than hollow words that are sure to build distrust among email recipients. Such methods can also land you on the blacklist of major ISPs, a surefire way for your emails to establish a permanent residence in your target market’s spam folder. With more and more ISPs seeking out ways to protect valued clients from annoying and time-wasting junk mail, protecting your sending reputation as an email marketer is vital to your digital marketing success. One place you can start is by eliminating widespread batching and blasting methods of the past while concentrating on focused, personalized messages that speak to customers as individuals instead of numbers on an email list.
• Contextualize uour email efforts in real time: Intelligently reaching out to your customers with targeted communications can be done through contextual email efforts. Using available data that details a customer’s interests, location, and behavior can help email marketers tailor messages that will encourage new behavior and interactions with their brand. You can reinvent your email marketing campaign to churn out contextual messages by applying the latest email marketing solutions designed to support customizable workflows, dynamic customer interactions based on real-time feedback, and email messaging preferences that can change on a dime–even if the email is already in a recipient’s inbox.
• Focus on richer data and innovative metrics: Measuring the success of your contextual emails using innovative metrics is key to building enduring customer relationships. Concentrating on important stats—such as return on engagement, minutes spent on email, and social sharing—highlights specific areas marketers can focus on to gauge email efficacy. Rich data—like shopping cart abandonment rates, return on email, and average order value—dig deeper into contextual engagement, further helping email marketers evaluate the lifetime value of their customers. Analyzing customer privacy satisfaction levels, user-generated information, and volume of behavioral/transaction data give enterprises the insight they need to deliver the best customer experiences possible.
Email is your virtual home address, and just like your home address, it’s not going anywhere. Email is the glue that holds cross-channel marketing campaigns together, but email marketing as it exists today is long overdue for disruption. So is your organization ready for Email 2.0?
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