As we all know, digital marketing is not really a new phenomenon, even though many company’s approach to it would support the complete opposite. It’s been around for over a decade, it’s only now becoming more mainstream and simultaneously being widely misunderstood and badly implemented. Something that has been around longer, a lot longer in fact, is email. Whilst MAILBOX and SNDMSG existed in 1965, it was actually Ray Tomlinson who is credited with inventing email in 1972.
So we have had quite some time to get used to the tool. A tool that we have a total over reliance upon here in the Middle East. Mainly used in conjunction with the CYA (Cover Your A**) approach to absolve us of responsibility and firmly point the finger of the recipient. If you sent the email at 5.59pm on Thursday, you have a record of you doing your bit and therefore any delay or problem or mistake was most certainly not yours!
The thing is, that whilst many are still trying to get to grips with digital marketing as a whole, most people consider email a bit passé, especially as a marketing tool. But this is primarily in part to misuse and the fact that it’s been a staple part of our professional and social lives for decades now. As digital marketing techniques have become more visible and people can see that you are trying to harvest their email address in order to Spam them to death with all the products in your catalogue, they have become much more protective of their inbox. Aggressive filters are set, fake email addresses are setup and suddenly the opening rate of your email newsletter has dropped 40%. Unopened emails have gone up 40% and you deem email marketing ineffective. WRONG.
What it actually means, is that as a marketer you have to work a little bit harder. You have to create content that your target market actually wants more of. It needs to be interesting, topical, shareable and most importantly, RELEVANT. If you start to do this, it’s amazingly simple. People will give you their name and email address if they know they are going to receive something of extreme value to them. If you can demonstrate to them the kind of value you provide, why would they give you a fake email address? You are showing them how you can help them fix whatever problem it is they went looking to solve when they jumped on the Google machine.
As the above infographic from Attractivo demonstrates, opening of emails on mobile devices has increased 30% in the last two years, but engagement is down. And in fact that same person opening the same email on their desktop is more likely to click through. For us, this makes sense because people still aren’t creating their email content with the user on a mobile device in mind. Marketers have to incentivise their recipients to click through, with great email content and clear calls to action, but when they do click through, they need to land on mobile optimised content that they can consume easily on a smaller screen and still get what they want from it.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tools out there. Like most things though, it has to be done right and have the right supporting infrastructure in order to be successful.