This is an email about email. You know—the stuff that floods your inbox every day that you simply can’t delete fast enough. But rather than offer you just another opinion piece, I wanted to share a few takeaways from a comprehensive study of email that I received this week. The report is gated and ironically, requires your email address input to access, but if you’re willing I’d say it’s worth it (link here).
The report offered 5 key takeaways regarding the state of email this fall. Some is new, some is supporting things many of us have been saying for a while. Below, I break down what these takeaways are, and offer my thoughts.
It's Time to Get Personal
Roughly 75% of marketers note that personalization increases engagement. One wild fact was, birthday emails generate 3.42 times more revenue than standard emails. This means more, however, than having an algorithm that inserts someone’s name into the email. It means looking at consumer behaviors, determining what they would most want from your company, and tweaking the body of the email to reflect that.
Measurement is Immeasurably Important
Less than 25% of marketers believed their company measured email ROI well. 45% went as far as to say measurement is “poor, very poor, or non-existent.” Yikes. This section gets pretty in-depth, but essentially says resources need to be devoted exclusively to measurement. That means using a basic ROI formula, accurately assessing costs of the email marketing campaign, and biting the bullet by ditching old tracking methods (even though they work “alright” and are a pain to change).
COVID-19 is Changing Email
Won’t dive too deep into this one, because “duh.” This pandemic spurred a massive cultural shift where brands need to be empathic, and need to pay attention to the needs of their customers beyond ROI (try to connect with them personally, and be genuinely invested in their wellbeing as humans).
Approval Processes Need a Trim
As more businesses devote resources to email marketing, more people are getting involved and wanting to sign off on things. Currently, 60% of companies have 4 or more people involved in email review and approvals (in 2019 that was 52%). That’s likely a bit too much—this is a tough thing to get prescriptive with, as your review process is your own, but it’s worth noting that more often than not people overvalue having multiple sets of eyes reviewing things. In creative collaboration (which is a big part of messaging, which is a big part of email marketing), at a certain point you can really get diminishing marginal returns by having multiple people tweaking messaging. Put simply: try to avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen” dilemma. Hire folks you trust enough that you don’t need a whole team devoted to over-managing/reviewing their work.
Companies Are Choosing Quantity (But Not Always Quality)
That one makes a lot of sense. In-person sales efforts are down, emails are pretty cheap to send, and marketers are looking for ways to shave budgets, it’s a form of communication that plays well with WFH—I could go on. More email is fine, but it isn’t necessarily good. I’m a big quality over quantity person, as you may know. If I get 5 bad emails from a company, I’m more likely to say “Wow, this company sure is annoying” than “let me ask them for more info.” Focus on quality first. 1 great, personal email that provides real value and offers a natural route towards your product helping someone will always be better than some canned campaign getting blasted out to a bunch of folks.
Those were the main points; the report itself does get a bit more detailed in explaining them (and highlights a bunch of great stats that paint a more complete picture). If you have the time, I’d recommend giving it a peek. If you’ve got any other questions about email marketing, shoot me an email (or give me a call!). It’s a subject I really love discussing, in part because email marketing is often done pretty clumsily.