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Why We (Still) Love Email

AcxiomJanuary 25, 2016

Like fashion, trends come and go in marketing too. Some channels and tactics are more “popular” or hot one moment to the next. Some fade because they don’t deliver results, and some will never fade because they truly deliver. And email has consistently delivered results and revenue for more than 20 years.

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Email makes money and it’s effective, as you can see from the chart above. As a marketer, I love email. It’s great for driving awareness, traffic and revenue. It’s an addressable channel, like SMS, Push or Custom Audience targeted media, which ensures my message is targeted for that specific person. I can also fully customize the design, content, timing and device where I deliver that message, leaving nothing to chance or an algorithm I have no control over. And the user numbers with email don’t lie. There are close to 2.5 Billion email users across the world. That beats the 1.5 Billion Facebook users and the 1.17 Billion using Google.

The secret to email success is in the data. You likely have more data than you know what to do with – site activity, purchases, channel engagement, demographics, preferences, etc. But, “with great power comes great responsibility.” It’s important to define the right data for the best customer experience. Here are a few recommendations to drive better email performance with the right data:

  1. 1:1 Targeting: An email address can lead to so many other places than just an inbox. Matching email addresses to Facebook and Google allows for custom audience targeting of ads and search results. Allocate a little budget for the targeted ads on these platforms to boost performance on your next email campaign.
  2. Get Personal: Stop sending the same message to your entire database. Sure, inserting a name is fine, but let’s think a little bigger. A simple place to start is using purchase or preference data to target messaging. If a customer stated a preference for green crayons, send her content or offers on green crayons, not generic black markers. You can also use tools like Movable Ink or LiveClicker to support easy dynamic content like changing an offer or image based on where and when the email is opened. A little upfront effort can deliver 3x open and click rates and revenue per email.
  3. Think Omnichannel: Yes, we’re talking about email. But your customers don’t think in terms of channels, anymore. Think bigger! They want to be engaged in rich experiences—great experiences—whenever and wherever they interact with your brand. Like Atlanta (ATL) is a major airport hub, email is a major marketing hub connecting your app, website, paid media, social and other channels. Whether an email is acting as a destination or a jumping off point, you have to think of email in the omnichannel context to deliver truly great and engaging marketing experiences.
  4. Go Beyond The Click: Still looking at open rates and click-throughs? Opens are vanity metrics. Think bigger! Think about revenue. Focus on the post-click. Where are you sending people? How are they converting? How valuable is that conversion? Start measuring the impact of email on engagement in other channels, and vice versa. Start looking at what actions customers didn’t take too. Start doing more A/B and multivariate testing—across channels. Your data is telling you what you need to know to succeed. Are you listening?
  5. Fresh Perspectives: Feeling stuck with your email program? Look out to other channels for inspiration. Ask the social crew what type of content is driving engagement and traffic? Use that to refresh your copy or CTAs. Ask your SEO or Paid Search team about the most popular search keywords and questions. You can use that to improve your lead nurture or abandoned cart emails. Don’t work in a silo, get out and learn from the other channels. You’ll also see that there’s a lot you can teach them too.

Email is the best marketing channel to take advantage of targeted data and the newest innovations in data-driven marketing, especially if you have the right perspective.

For more big, new trends and expert insights, sign up for our latest issue of Trendsletters on www.acxiomimpact.com.