Email Marketing: Still a Customer Engagement Workhorse

by Meagan White, contributor to MultiChannel Merchant

Consumers have never had so many ways to engage with brands, but despite that, a majority of them still prefer the old reliable channel of email marketing. With so much buzz around social media, SMS text messaging, and push notifications, it might seem like the right time to deprioritize email as an engagement channel. But new research shows that would be a huge mistake.

MoEngage conducted a consumer survey across four key global markets: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. The goal was to understand better what consumers expect in communications from brands and how they want their personal data used by brands to deliver a better experience. We learned from this exercise that 33% of all respondents still put email at the top of the list when it comes to preferred engagement channels.

In fact, 39% of global respondents said they would like to receive weekly emails from their favorite brands that contain highly personalized offers. This same survey did show an increase in the adoption of mobile apps, SMS, push notifications, and chatbots as engagement channels – and these are still important as part of your multichannel strategy. Yet, email still reigns supreme. Why?

Here are the top six reasons brands must place email marketing at the top of their priority list:

It Reaches an Audience That Wants to Be There

Email marketing is the best method of direct response marketing there is. That’s because users have raised their hands and actively opted into hearing from you, so they’re more willing to open them to learn about the latest products, sales and personalized offers based on their previous purchase history.

Email is Ubiquitous

While not every global consumer has a social media account, it’s a safe bet they have an email address. Whether you’re enticing new customers or trying to reengage with your existing base, email is still highly valued across internet users. Even in emerging countries where reliable internet infrastructure is not widespread, email is the de facto communication tool. In 2019, the number of global email users was 3.9 billion, and by 2024 is expected to reach 4.3 billion.

Personalization is Easy with Email

Email marketing began as a one-way broadcast to reach the largest possible number of potential customers. Fast forward to today, when advancements in AI, data collection, audience segmentation and analysis make it easier than ever for marketers to create highly personalized email messages.

Because email is text-driven, it presents an opportunity for a brand to demonstrate just how much they truly know about the customer. Marketers can also segment these messages into more specific, targeted groups, which cuts down on the number of emails sent with irrelevant information.

It’s a Versatile Communication Vehicle

Unlike some newer engagement channels like push notifications and SMS, email offers nearly limitless possibilities in terms of length, design and the type of content marketers can send. Based on their campaign goals, emails can take on various styles, functions and calls to action.

Some common goals include promoting an upcoming event or sale, relationship building through educational content, driving traffic to a specific piece of content, reengaging inactive customers and generating more sales. Email’s versatility makes all of these objectives possible, as long as you have the right data and know their customers well enough to make the emails personalized and impactful.

Email is Measurable

Because email is more mature and stable than many of the newer engagement channels, marketers can leverage an abundance of performance data once a campaign has been sent. Click-through, open and read rates are all basic indicators of how customers are receiving a campaign.

You can even measure conversion rates to determine whether their emails have resulted in sales. And monitoring for a campaign’s unsubscribe rate can help marketers understand if a message has missed the mark.

It’s Available on Any Device

People can check their email on virtually any device with an internet connection. That includes smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. More than half (54%) of all emails are first viewed on a mobile device. However, this feature makes mobile optimization even more critical for marketers. The emails sent to your customer base must take into account the type of device they tend to use, as well as the device’s operating system.

If every email sent by a brand felt like it spoke directly to our specific wants and needs, would we be so opposed to receiving them? The answer is not to find sneakier ways to place products in front of customers, but to craft relevant messages they want to receive. Most of the consumers surveyed in our research said that they not only want to hear from brands with personalized offers, but they expect it.

Creating impactful email messages can be challenging. But advances in email marketing technology allow brands to engage with customers with greater confidence, knowing that the content is backed by hard data. AI and automation help marketers build relationships like never before. Your customers are waiting to hear from you. Now, what can you say to them that is meaningful, authentic, and personalized?

Article originally appeared on MultiChannel Merchant.

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