In the mobile era, you may think that Emails have lost their marketing appeal, but that is far from being true. Email Marketing is still considered one of the most important digital marketing techniques available, and competes with paid search for the highest ROI and budget volumes.
Traditional Email tactics, however, today don't work like they used to, and that’s a huge problem since they are meant to build customer loyalty and trust. There are few trends, though, that will soon change how you do plan your Emails and the digital customer experience.
Email marketing as we know it is - to all intents and purposes - the digital son of direct mail marketing. But the difference is evident: while direct mail was a world on its own, often separated from all other marketing tools, the Email must be considered as part of a more complex digital customer journey. And mobile devices only make it more urgent to find the point of convergence between the physical and digital engagement.
FROM OUTBOUND TO INBOUND
The Email is the essence of outbound activities: subscribe, download, contact us, sign up, don’t lose your change, exclusive offer; these are common call to actions delivered daily to your inbox, whether you are an unknown user or a potential lead. This may still work for the law of large numbers, but inbound marketing in the Age of the Customer needs a sharper attitude.
As smartphones and tablets increasingly replace desktop computers as the primary channel customers use to search for information about products and services, Emails are forced to move to a responsive design that works across all devices. This evolution has encouraged the focus on context and great visuals, the same rules that preside over the success of push notifications.
THE RELEVANCE OF EMAIL
In the mobile era, customers are less willing to waste their time reading worthless advertising and generic messages, not tailored to answer to their specific needs and desires. Years and years of massive untargeted campaigns have brought to an overcrowding that forces brands into a struggle to draw customer attention and make their voice stand out.
As a result of this flow of irrelevant marketing messages, the opening rates are steadily decreasing, and marketers need to rethink the whole concept of Email marketing, embracing the mobile world and taking advantage of disruptive technologies. A plain call to action, magnificently written it may be, is not enough to attract prospects and engage with customers, particularly those in the first stages of the conversion path.
INTERACTION & TRANSACTION
In the last few years, we have witnessed the emergence of an advanced type of online mail communication, called transactional Email. Deeply rooted in permission and inbound marketing, they already are one of the most powerful tools in the hands of digital marketers. One statistic says it all: they have an average of 50% open rate, compared with the scarce 30% of traditional newsletter and cold Emails.
Higher conversion rates originate from the very nature of transactionals, triggered based on a previous customer’s action with a brand. Their aim is "to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transactions that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender" (Wikipedia). They are perfect to improve engagement and enhance the connection with customers, enabling the company to anticipate needs and wants - raising sales in the process.
4 EMAIL MARKETING TRENDS
The customer experience management is direct consequence of the technological innovation: tools and devices change the way clients and brand communicate and relate to each other. Being the Email crucial part of the customer journey map, the following trends will have a great impact on how you build your digital customer experience.
- iBeacon - proximity marketing is the answer to the prayers of those looking for a tool to connect the digital and physical experience. The iBeacon is considered one of the top inventions that will revolutionize retail customer experience, and - with geolocalization - can also drive new approaches for Email marketing.
- Wearables - the next step of mobile marketing will bring to a full integration of the wearable technology and Email engagement. Google is already planning a wearable-ready Gmail design for Android devices, and the Apple Watch already allows users to have basic interactions within the message.
- Personalization - customized contents motivate the customer to take up the call to action you have defined. It’s a fact that we are moving towards an hyper-personalized marketing, where messages are not only context-aware but also - and above all - build to meet the expectation of the single recipient.
- Predictive analysis - the spread of new mobile devices and the ability to track and locate will enable companies to gather information about their customers, in ways that we could only imagine before. Transactional Emails are just one example of how a previous customer behavior can trigger targeted and relevant messages across all devices.
In the digital era, Email marketing only makes sense when considered in the broader picture of the inbound methodology, a non-interruption process where customers take center stage and we say - finally - goodbye to old push and spam tactics.
As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.