With over 300 billion e-mails sent and received daily in 2020 (if compared with nearly 294 billion circulated in 2019), the reports of email marketing death are greatly exaggerated. Although new communication channels are hard on their heels, statistics show that the number of email campaigns increases every year. And most subscribers find it more convenient to receive information about discounts and promotions by e-mail. That’s a good reason to explore the true merits and flaws of email marketing in the modern world.
Email Marketing Strong Points
Let’s start with the strengths that are not going to disappear in the nearest future. In contrast to paid marketing channels, emails cost nothing, with only push notifications being a cheaper option. Millions of messages appear in the mailboxes of subscribers almost instantly, and with the upsurge in mobile usage, they can be opened within seconds to provide near real-time communication. Along with that, no other channel can accommodate such an amount of content as emails. Moreover, the content can come in different formats — you can deliver plain-text messages, use a unique online icon to create visually appealing HTML newsletters with your branding, or embed videos, gifs, and interactive elements to better reach out to various audiences. And there are many opportunities for personalization and segmentation attached to email marketing. Besides, you can get the most detailed statistics on campaigns for analyzing the number of emails delivered, read, clicked, and converted to sales, while many of these indicators cannot be obtained through other channels.
Email Marketing Challenges
The segment does face a number of challenges today, but upon a closer view, they can be turned into new opportunities.
- Expanding Your Mailing List. Acquiring subscribers is a daunting task, which implies that a brand needs to offer some value before it can benefit itself. Bonuses, discounts, and gifts do the job, yet newsletters can serve as valuable assets on their own. Of course, provided they are crafted helpful and engaging.
- Reducing Vulnerability. It takes a long time to build a loyal subscriber base, but it can be lost in a matter of days due to hard selling and excessive intrusiveness. So, it is crucial to regulate the frequency of emailing and combine it with other channels.
- Managing Resources. For email marketing to be effective, it must evolve. You need to segment your database, test various approaches, analyze the results, and improve the strategy, which is pretty time-consuming and resource-intensive. Fortunately, many tasks can be nailed with smart automation taken on board.
- Complying with Regulations. More and more laws are issued to restrict illegal and intrusive sales through email. Data processing is also becoming trickier when you need to align it with the users’ rights protection. So, upon the GDPR coming into effect, you are almost sure to see a decrease in your subscribers. However, your loyal audience is unlikely to leave; instead, you stop mailing letters that no one reads and get fewer complaints about spam, which improves your reputation. And what to fuss about?
- Dealing with Competitors. Talks about email marketing being dead are partly caused by the emergence of many alternative channels for both personal and corporate communications (we mean messengers and social media platforms). Yet, while Twitter and WhatsApp have taken over some of the email functions, detailed information is still oftener sent to inboxes, if only because it is easier to find it there later. And companies that actively use various chats to discuss their current workflow tend to opt for universal channels when it comes to business communication with other companies. Also, don’t forget that email is the key to online accounts, with passwords, notifications, and order confirmations sent through this channel predominantly (apart from SMS, of course). And to top it all off, many messengers and social media have gone so spammy nowadays that this alone can blanket the ill fame of mailouts.
Against the odds, email is becoming more functional, and its audience is growing. Your strategy can combine different tools or work as a standalone marketing channel. However, it makes more sense to use newsletters along with new channels to arrive at higher efficiency.