I am readying for the latest round of “email is dead” articles that usually occur at the beginning of the year. Some are already appearing, with big pushes for marketers to start relying on retargeting/remarketing, mobile apps and app notifications. Along with social media, encouraging us to spend on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget the retargeting there too. And let’s not forget the other concerns over email and generations.
So, let’s take them one by one.
Retargeting and remarketing are awesome reminders ads that can help continue a conversation or draw someone back into a purchase they had started. They also can be used to reach out to segments in your database, but the messaging there needs to be thought through, and in many cases, you need to have enough volume to make an impact. It’s surely not a replacement for email, but rather a supplementary medium that used wisely, can help close a deal.
Mobile apps can be wonderful, and it would be hard to find anyone that loves them more than I do. But the reality is that very few consumers are downloading them; the MMA stated recently that the average downloads of an app is 0%. And it’s a huge investment to create a great app. If you are tempted to use a template or a cheap option, think again. Consumer expectations are very high and if you get it wrong, it will hurt your brand. It should be AMAZING, and you must market it heavily to gain enough usage to get the ratings you need. Plus, you must update it frequently. App notifications fall into the mobile app discussion. Consumers must install the app and enable the notifications for you to send them. Magical moments can occur then, and app notifications can and should be a part of your communication strategy.
Social is a great publishing tool. We can tweet and publish on Facebook, and we can communicate quickly to our fans. But your Facebook audience is not quite the same as an opted in list of people who want to hear from you, and a significant portion of your messages go unseen. Twitter is also a great publishing medium, but the volume can be so great, that most messages will be missed.
While it’s true that millennials and Gen Z users are less likely to use email, they do have email addresses if for nothing else than to sign up for accounts. But there are reports out there showing that these two generations will use email for offers; millennials already do.
Email is the one channel where consumers are asking you to message them and you have permission to contact them. They may even be anticipating your content, and if it is relevant, they will continue to engage. Will they open every message? Probably not. Will they click on every link? Probably not. But when they need something, they are likely to go back to their inbox, and find your email to get what they need. Leveraging best practices and great email strategies, you can drive a great deal of revenue from the email channel.
If you are optimizing your emails for mobile and leveraging your customer data to make sure your messages are relevant, you are staying ahead of the game. Long live email!