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Email: Some Say It’s Dead. But It’s Actually Evolving.

Is email marketing dead? Simply stated, no, it isn’t. Truthfully, it never died. What led to this notion of the death of email was the ineffective way it was being utilized by businesses and how that in turn was received by consumers. This created the negative perception it once had. In reality, email is currently one of the most important strategies to include in a marketing campaign.

Email marketing made its debut nearly 40 years ago, when the “Father of Email Marketing,” Gary Thuerk, sent out an unsolicited mass email promoting computer products from the now extinct Digital Equipment Company. This email was sent out to hundreds of computers over ARPANET, which was the foundation and precursor of the Internet.

That email from Thuerk is regarded as the first spam email. In the late 1990’s, with the popularity of dial-up internet and AOL, spam messages experienced an explosion like none other. Because inboxes were filling up with these unsolicited emails, laws were put into place to help prevent this from happening. In 1998, the Data Protection Act ensured that all marketing emails included an opt-out.

What Other Reasons Led to the Decrease In Email Popularity?

With new rules and laws in place, email marketers began to experience issues with deliverability. Email service providers introduced filtering rules and recipient feedback that allowed recipients to select whether an email was spam or not. In addition, marketers also encountered trouble with:

Design: As technology improved, so did the usage of mobile devices. Currently, 46% of email opens occur on mobile devices. With this trend, marketers had to become informed on how to properly design emails for each platform, device and email provider. Marketers often are not native designers, so this change in approach became a major hurdle to overcome with the need to balance design and functionality.

Size Limits: Lengthy emails with large images carry a very steep file size. Marketers had to become knowledgeable on how to create emails with an optimized file size for quick downloads, especially across slower internet services.

Resources/Skills: Emails aren’t just random pictures and words placed in a random order. They need to be well-crafted and strategic throughout. Marketers must know what copy and images will best resonate with their audience. They must be understanding of the technical aspects that result in properly performed campaigns, and this knowledge was not widespread in the early days of email.

What Role Does Social Media Play?

The introduction of social media also played a part in the decrease in email marketing. Social media allows marketers to reach their audiences in an instant, build huge followings, and attract eyes to their product in unique ways. In many respects, it acts as a secondary website. But even with these great benefits, it still lacks things that email marketing can provide, including:

Quality: With social media, marketers are fishing in a huge ocean, spreading a message to any and all recipients that are available. Email allows for a much more targeted approach. Not to say that promoting to a large audience is a negative, but it’s the idea of reaching qualified individuals that makes the difference here. Individuals that have signed up or opted-in to receive messages or notifications from you are more likely to interact or purchase from you.

Expectation: Customers and consumers already expect to be solicited or sold to in some capacity with emails. Regarding social media, the audience in large part is there to interact with friends and search for entertainment.

Privacy and Protection: A Direct Message over social media may seem like it’s private, but it truly isn’t as it lacks true encryption. However, firewalls, encryption, and other security measures help to make email a much safer place for transactional messages. This is important when sharing financially or personally sensitive information not intended for anyone other than the recipient. Of course, there’s always a chance that an email can be sent to a wrong individual, but the human error exists at just the same or often at an even larger scale with social media. Not only can an unintended recipient receive your message, but an entire network can also if, for example, your communication was shared as a Twitter reply instead of a Direct Message.

What Is the Best Way to Utilize Email Marketing?

The above are all great reasons why email is still a relevant and powerful tool for communicating with your audience or customer base. But how do you effectively use email to improve transactions and customer experiences and thereby negate the perception that email is dead?

Here’s how:

Audience Email Automation: Automation allows for marketers to stay connected with their audiences with focus on behaviors, preferences, and previous sales information. This information lets marketers get back to other tasks that matter for their business.

Segmentation: This is the breakdown of your audience. For example, your customer base may include women age 18-26 and men of the same age range. They both are customers, but both don’t buy the same product from you. Segmentation allows for you to split this audience into two so that you can better target each group effectively with the proper message.

Timely Triggers: Trigger emails allow for marketers to send timely messages based on the actions taken in response to previously received emails. They are relevant, informed and actionable messages that allow for engagement building and a greater chance for conversion.

Lead Nurturing/Retargeting: Lead nurturing is the perfect tactic for email marketing. It allows you to reach buyers at every stage of the sales cycle. Retargeting allows marketers to place cookies on users’ browsers after they open an email. This allows marketers to send qualified customers relevant display ads that keep their brand top of mind and invite the customer to click and return to their site to purchase their product or perform whatever other actionable item is desired.

Email marketing has had one interesting journey. Even as an older marketing tactic, it continues to provide great results for small and large-scale businesses alike. If you don’t have a sound email strategy in place, then we’d like to chat with you! Jennasis and Associates has a team of expert email marketers than can get your business on track with an email marketing strategy that fits seamlessly with other marketing strategies that you have in place.

Connect with Jennasis & Associates to learn more about the effectiveness of email marketing and how your company can benefit from timely, segmented emails. Email us today:

Darnell Wilson is a digital marketing specialist that loves to bring ideas to life. He loves to conceptualize, strategize and execute campaigns on behalf of those he works with. Fun Fact: He is an avid professional wrestling fan and is very passionate about the fundamental development of children both physically and mentally.​

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