The reports of the marketing email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. While the digital marketing world is infatuated with new darlings and reinventions of old favorites year after year, email remains the steadfast pillar of any digital strategy — and one of the most significant communications investments your brand can make.
According to Adobe’s 2018 Consumer Email Report, email usage, both work and personal, remains steady. In fact, email usage is up for respondents 35 and under, and is especially strong in the 18-24 cohort. When it comes to solidifying your 2019 email strategy, it pays to get it right.
Here are a few subtle and not-so-subtle ways you can push your email strategy and find communication that invigorates your brand and activates your audience.
Sometimes the best product promotion is no promotion at all.
Promotion versus engagement is the central tug-of-war for all promotional efforts, and email is no different. But when someone signs up for your mailing list, they’re signaling ongoing interest in what your brand offers — which isn’t just your product but what your product promises. In fact, 37% of the survey responders considered it a priority to get emails that were more informational and less promotional. By adding additional value to the lives of your customers in lightweight ways, you build ongoing trust. And trust leads to giving everything your brand offers a second look, even (and especially) for the fence-sitters.
Revise your touchpoints to reflect your customer’s real journey.
Too often, email deployment strategy boils down to “once or twice a month/week/day” without much thought put to days and times that aren’t popular public holidays. But a little bit of thought about your customer’s journey can be crucial in identifying the exact moments customers can get the most value from what you offer. For instance, Square previously sent a reminder email 10 minutes after a new user signed up to help them finish activating their account. They identified (correctly) that small business owners who use Square are very busy, and so shifted their email nudges to one, three, and seven days after signup. The result? A huge spike in activations.
One caution: don’t email too much. According to Adobe’s survey, consumers considered being emailed too much the number one thing brands get wrong. When in doubt, less is more.
Get personal, but not too personal.
The miracle of modern emails is you can tailor them closely to your customers’ stated preferences; indeed, 27% consider personalized emails a must. But there is such a thing as getting too up close and personal, with over 25% of the Adobe responders saying they found the subject line phrase “Not sure if you saw my last email…” to be the worst phrase used in emails. Be personal, but not familiar. And definitely don’t be passive-aggressive.
Most of all, keep testing what engages your readers. When Airbnb wanted to promote their community contest Host Awards in 2015, they changed up their typical email format to draw people in. They still led with their most popular destinations, but — against initial instincts — put the search bar below the header image instead of over it, to draw readers below the fold toward information about the contest. This small gambit paid off: a strong CTA over the image performed well, and participation in Airbnb’s contest skyrocketed.
Like traditional advertising and PR, emails are a key component for reinforcing your brand. And like digital marketing, email is a crucial way to discover your brand’s real value to your customers in real time. Email is here to stay, and so long as you map your strategy to the lives of your customers, it can remain a powerful driver for your business.
KEN LOWERY is the Senior Digital Copywriter for The LOOMIS Agency, the country’s leading challenger brand agency and a top Dallas agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising and marketing, leadership, culture and other things that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on any of our more than 300 posts.
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