Email’s Renaissance in 2013

Patti RennerMark Twain is quoted as saying, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Now email can share that same sentiment.
Last week, Forrester analysts released confirmation that email is not only alive and well – it’s actually thriving. From my perspective, when you consider how people use technology today as compared to two years ago, the favorable email trend makes sense. People are increasingly connected, accessing multiple screens for information and entertainment at all hours of the day and night. Checking email frequently is part of the standard operating procedures for the perpetually connected consumer, so receiving valuable content via the email channel becomes more appreciated and accepted. (Note the word “valuable.”)

I’ve always seen email as an anchor for online brand engagement. Social media sites use it to confirm registrations, deliver weekly updates and invite people back to participate in their community. As content marketing increases effectiveness, often the price for admission to access is an email address. And with the overabundance of information online and competition for consumer attention, email remains the workhorse.

According to Consumer Technographics® data, consumer attitudes toward promotional email since 2010 have improved significantly and are now more positive than ever. In the chart below, you can see the darker blue line representing the 2012 responses over the light blue from 2010.

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Marketers must be doing something right because people seem to like receiving promotional emails as a way to discover new products and promotions. This only increases when marketers have the ability to use their data from across channels for personalization of content and advanced audience-building strategies based on behavior from a variety of brand interactions. Today’s consumers are demanding. They want to receive content that interests them, that’s relevant to their world. Consumers are also deleting less without reading, and forwarding more to friends. All are wins for email trends. However there are some areas where brands can improve with the audiences they serve:

  • Beef up your email preference centers and hand the keys over to the consumer when it comes to email frequency and types of information sent to them.
  • Add value to your email campaigns by offering exclusive content/promotions to email customers only. This can include special discount codes, vouchers, gift certificates or simply targeted landing pages to deliver content unique and exclusive to the specific audience.
  • Make it easy to socialize email content, including social share buttons and forward-to-a-friend suggestions.
  • Target your content by device used through predictive design. Once you understand the device affinity or preference of an individual user on your list, you can deliver content for the specific type of phone, tablet or desktop/laptop for a better email experience overall. This guide explains more about this: Good To Know Guide: Responsive Design for Email.
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