With the emergence of so many new technologies and platforms, it’s hard to believe that email is still the reigning champion as the channel marketers turn to for the highest return on investment.
But with so many companies planning to increase their spend on email marketing comes an inevitable pressure to increase the amount of emails sent in order to deliver on revenue. And for consumers, that translates into inbox overload, frustration, and often, negative brand sentiment.
To avoid the risk of getting lost in the clutter, or sounding repetitive to customers who may receive upwards of thousands of emails a year, marketers need to balance the need to deliver high impact email campaigns with positive customer experiences.
So, how can marketers gain back trust and reverse some of the inbox blindness consumers now experience as they scroll through droves of commercial emails in search of value?
The key lies shifting focus back onto what email was originally intended for - person-to-person communication.
Consumers Want Personalization, Brands Expected to Deliver
In an independent research study of over 550 consumers, Dynamic Yield found a clear desire for more tailored, highly curated, and relevant email messaging.
Across the globe, the vast majority of people shared that they would respond more favorably to an email which looked like it was created specifically for them. And that makes sense - consumers have not only become accustomed to the top-shelf experiences of Spotify and Netflix, they now expect them.
As reflected in the numbers, it’s crucial for brands to know and understand their customers in order to deliver the superior, hyper-personalized digital experiences necessary to match those demands.
This is especially true via a medium like email, which, as noted, is intended to be one-to-one.
Breaking Through Inundated Inboxes
But instead of treating email as a personal communication channel, strategies are typically modeled after a 'spray and pray' approach in which generic lists of users are sent the same content in bulk as an attempt to capture the largest possible audience at the top of the inbox.
With such a high volume of emails hitting consumer inboxes each day, influencing the selection process becomes critical on the part of the business - and for those who can implement personalized email initiatives, the payoff is significant.
Case in point being that of Amazon, the number one brand cited by those surveyed in North America and Europe as their favorite brand to receive emails from (Qoo10 in Asia which closely resembles Amazon). And what does Amazon do best? They leverage data like behavioral signals, historical preferences, and user affinities to better serve relevant experiences to their customers across channels.
The correlation is simple: more personal = more favorable.
Breeding Loyalty with Value and Context
While creative and messaging are crucial to a successful email campaign, without the right data to support the variety of content you create, a marketer is really just taking a shot in the dark.
Thankfully, with the availability of vast amounts of customer data ranging from CRM, on-site behavior to mobile activity, companies can activate their data with precision to build custom content for key segments.
As consumers continue to interact with a brand over the course of campaign creation - across touchpoints, channels, and devices - businesses need to be able to tap into the constant flow of customer data available, in order to produce the most relevant, up-to-date email experiences.
These experiences should feel congruent to the on-site experience and cohesive across channels. While it's easy to think of email on its own island, data within your ESP should not be trapped or siloed, but instead, unified with other data and leveraged to influence other customer interactions.
When asked how businesses could make email experiences better, only 13% answered with “Nothing, I’m very pleased overall when I receive emails from retailers.”
Consumers enjoy email when personalized, but brands still have a lot of room for growth when it comes to delivering on that true one-to-one experience.
As marketers budget their spend on email outreach this year, the opportunity to improve the current state of the channel is too large to ignore.